Officials from Buenos Aires City visited France from July 4 to 8, as part of the technical cooperation program (FEXTE fund) in place since April 2021 between the French Development Agency, CODATU and Buenos Aires City Hall. This study tour prepared by the CODATU team aimed to present French experiences in transitional urbanism, public space planning, active mobility and intermodality.
The cities of Paris and Lyon were chosen to host the delegation. They are the two largest French metropolitan areas and present complex socio-urban challenges to which the public authorities are responding with original tools in the framework of an ambitious urban and mobility policy.
The Argentine delegation was composed of 6 members, 2 for each of the technical departments with which CODATU works specifically: the Institute of Housing of the City (IVC), the Ministry of Public Space and Urban Hygiene (MEPeHU), and the Secretariat of Transport and Public Works (SECTOP).
The week was organized around field visits and meetings with public, private and associative stakeholders in charge of urban and mobility projects.
Meeting with Ile-de-France Mobilités in Paris and SYTRAL in Lyon (Public Transport Authorities in these two cities) allowed the delegation to discuss the functioning of these authorities and the challenges they face. They presented their competences, their vision of the evolution of mobility and the levers at their disposal (financial, operational, etc.) to develop sustainable and accessible mobility in their territories.
Visits on foot and by bicycle in Paris, Montreuil and Lyon provided an opportunity to see the achievements and objectives of the bicycle plans in the field (visit to the active mode tunnel in Lyon, and to the “coronapistes”, which were initially temporary and then made permanent in rue de Rivoli in Paris and avenue Gabriel Péri in Montreuil). On this occasion, the delegation also visited several public space developments such as the renovation of the Place de la Bastille, which now gives more space to active modes, and tactical urban planning interventions in the streets of Montreuil.
Five transitional urban planning sites, such as the Gratte-Ciel project in Villeurbanne or the Village Reille in Paris, have also been explored. This is an innovative approach that aims to develop a public space on a temporary basis while waiting for the development of a permanent urban project. The objective of the majority of the places visited was to implement activities that strengthen the social link, that can allow the meeting between residents or different groups of population, as well as to promote the access to calm and green spaces in the city. The Argentinean delegation asked for more information on the institutional set-up of this type of project, and in particular on the role of the social landlord, with a view to the potential replicability of these initiatives in Buenos Aires.
According to the participants, the results of the study tour were very satisfactory. The meeting with this network of French urban and mobility stakeholders and with the reality of French projects could contribute to providing new tools in the daily work of the Argentine team, as well as in the follow-up of the studies which will be financed in Buenos Aires within the framework of the technical cooperation.