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#02April 2019

Urban and social mixing from local area players’ point of view

Ambitious projects require local area players to come together, driven by a common will to build a more inclusive city. Therefore, when it comes to its real estate projects, RATP Group works closely with elected officials, institutions, local residents and users, as well as architects and planners, whose testimonials have been gathered for this issue.

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Mixed-use environments have a direct effect on an area’s quality of life and attractiveness

Publié le 14 April 2019

Jean-Louis Missika

Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of Urban Planning, Architecture, the Grand Paris Project, Economic Development and Attractiveness

Jean-Louis Missika

Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of Urban Planning, Architecture, the Grand Paris Project, Economic Development and Attractiveness

RATP plays a major role in Paris, as a transport operator and also an important landowner. In 2014, RATP and the Paris city authorities signed a protocol to create 2,000 housing units as part of RATP’s industrial site restructuring. This upstream partnership fostered joint reflection on RATP’s real estate opportunities, leading to the development of urban projects for sites that were once exclusively industrial in nature. Such partnerships allow city authorities to support RATP in developing its real estate and fulfilling its aims to build housing and make certain neighbourhoods more dynamic through establishing new services and preserving Paris’ heritage, notably its industrial history. RATP’s real estate projects, especially Ateliers Vaugirard, are particularly interesting because they demonstrate that it is possible and even desirable for housing and industrial activities to coexist.

The site’s historic functions are maintained alongside new uses, as green spaces, commercial premises and public facilities are created. This coexistence is also successful from a heritage point of view, as the Vaugirard project’s industrial landscape – the two preserved pavilions – enters into a contemporary dialogue with high-quality architectural proposals. Through these projects, sites that were previously mono-functional are densified, maintaining their existing features and contributing to the development of a mixed, sustainable city. Their architectural quality means that they can be integrated into the urban landscape as part of a successful blend, with various uses coinciding smartly. This is all the more important in a context where it is no longer possible to build districts that are solely residential or, conversely, solely business-orientated. Ensuring that jobs and services remain close to housing  means reducing travel and thus easing congestion in cities, as well as promoting social ties and thus increasing the sense of security. We see the direct effect mixed-use environments have on an area’s quality of life and, therefore, its attractiveness.

An urban integration policy for smart cities

RATP Group has succeeded in honing its property engineering expertise, adding value to its sites, where various activities coincide. Economic ambition is also present: this industrial site transformation is almost fully financed by revenue from selling the rights to build on the land. Two subsidiaries are pooling their expertise to further this ambition. RATP Habitat builds, rehabilitates and manages social housing in the Île-de-France region for Group employees, the State and local governments. As a committed local partner, it envisions complex, innovative, and architecturally ambitious real estate programmes. RATP Real Estate has developed high-quality complex project engineering. It creates or restructures industrial and tertiary buildings, housing and public facilities to enhance its clients’ real estate. Its expert surveyors cover a building’s entire life cycle.

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Urban mixing is inherent in the city itself

Publié le 14 April 2019

Nasrine Seraji

Jourdan workshops building architect

Nasrine Seraji

Jourdan workshops building architect

As an architect, I am more interested in the city itself than its architecture, strictly speaking. All cities are, to a certain extent, mixed-use environments. They are social, economic, cultural, geographical and material complexes, on very variable scales, determined by their size, cultures and history. Urban mixing is thus inherent in the city itself. What attracted me to the Jourdan workshops project was that RATP understood the challenge of maintaining this mix in a large city like Paris and wanted to contribute to its enrichment. Our project is thus about trying to rethink the mix between programmes and uses, to such an extent as to offer another way of experiencing the city. Just imagine the scale of the Jourdan workshops: 1.7 hectares in Paris city centre, big enough to house the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier! This huge urban site comprises seven floors of public and private housing, a nursery, student housing and small shops, all above a depot for 180 buses… This project’s volume and its city centre density are considerable. Very different populations coexist within this dense area, creating real social diversity.

This is a small city within the big city. The question is not so much about whether or not to promote mixed use but, above all, how to intensify Paris’ existing mix. Especially with a player like RATP on board, managing its infrastructure with vision, strong financial capacity and a unique way of working in the city. Such a project cannot be carried out alone indeed. We often say that it takes two to tango, which is particularly true of the Jourdan workshops project. As architects, we have the vision, but not the power. We must have stakeholders on board who share this vision, to foster diversity through urban intervention. I feel lucky – this has been a demanding project, representing ten years of my life, but always interesting. As an architect, I knew there were always stakeholders supporting it on a day-to-day basis, making it possible.

Over 4900 housing units built in the Île-de-France region since 1996, including more than 2,800 social housing units
500000m² of tertiary and industrial sites
227 employees (RATP Habitat and RATP Real Estate)
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RATP, modernising and optimising real estate for optimal integration within the city

Publié le 14 April 2019

Vincent Souyri

Real Estate Manager, RATP Habitat

Vincent Souyri

Real Estate Manager, RATP Habitat

For the sake of efficiency, RATP’s industrial real estate (maintenance and bus depots, for example) must be as close as possible to the services it offers. This significantly reduces maintenance and operating costs. Therefore, RATP has a strong real estate portfolio in the Paris city centre, including bus depots such as the Jourdan workshops in the 14th arrondissement. RATP is reflecting upon how it can modernise and optimise this real estate for optimal integration within the city, not limiting it to transportation uses alone. The aim is to propose smart sites that make real estate available for mixed use within local areas. Much of RATP’s land is part of a dense urban environment. Its reflection must begin with the existing industrial infrastructure, on-boarding subsidiaries such as RATP Real Estate and RATP Habitat with a view to developing other functions such as private and social housing, as well as facilities and services for residents.

As a local area player, RATP must think about the city and its make-up. It has a contribution to make in terms of furthering the social, urban, and functional mix, essential in this day and age. Moreover, these operations do not depend solely on RATP but are the result of extensive consultation with elected officials as well as residents. Several public meetings are indeed organised to involve the various stakeholders in the project right from the start, to ensure it can benefit the local area. Elected officials are even more involved when the projects we develop include public facilities or programmes. In these cases, RATP will go so far as to carry out these projects on behalf of local governments, working in close cooperation with local players on a day-to-day basis.

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