Focusing on science and R&D excellence, Saclay is certainly one of the emblematic clusters of the Grand Paris project, with renowned universities as well as public and private R&D labs.
Paris-Saclay, a public agency, adopted in January 2012 a territorial development scheme (“Schéma de Développement Territorial”, or SDT) covering 49 towns in the South West of the Greater Paris Region. At this stage, the number and scope of most Saclay CDTs are not established, with the exception of the “Paris-Saclay territoire Sud” (Southern Paris-Saclay) CDT.
The vocation of this CDT is to strengthen Saclay’s status as an international campus and R&D cluster, leveraging the many scientific and academic institutions already there (25,000 researchers, 17,000 students and 160 public and private labs).
The CDT covers seven towns a dozen kilometres South-West of Paris: Palaiseau, Saclay, Saint-Aubin, Gif-sur-Yvette, Bures-sur-Yvette, Les Ulis and Orsay. Three other towns have been associated: Igny, Massy and Villebon-sur-Yvette. The area accounts for 100,000 inhabitants and 60,000 jobs.
The CDT project was validated in September 2013 and submitted to a public consultation. It is expected to be permanently signed in the first half of 2014, and the project is to be completed within the next 15 years.
The vocation of the CDT is to boost Saclay’s economic growth potential by providing an innovation-friendly environment.
Detailed objectives include:
- Delivering Grand Paris Express future line 18;
- Building a 650,000 m² business district expected to generate 20,000 to 25,000 jobs;
- Developing research and academic facilities over a 600,000 m² area;
- Creating a 65.000 m² retail, services and hospitality hub;
- Attracting academics, researchers and students to increase their population to 70,000, from 30,000 today.
The CDT objectives are fivefold:
- Science and business – The project will ensure the emergence of Paris-Saclay University as an international R&D hotspot. It will also facilitate innovation-led economic growth by supporting innovative SMEs and start-ups and by encouraging public and private R&D cooperation. With that in mind, Paris-Saclay University will be created as early as 2014 to federate existing academic structures. The campus project (“Plan Campus”) anticipates the arrival of six new higher education establishments in Saclay by 2020, namely Ecole Centrale Paris, ENSTA Paris Tech, ENS Cachan, ENSAE ParisTech, Institut Mines-Télécom and Agro ParisTech INRA. Support to start-ups will scale up with the creation of an incubator (“Incubateur Pépinière Hôtel d’Entreprises”) at the heart of the campus to promote entrepreneurship among students. Services to SMEs will include the development of an adapted, varied and flexible real estate offer, while existing business districts such as Courtaboeuf will be upgraded.
- Housing – Saclay’s economic and academic growth requires that a residential offer adapted to the specific needs of the cluster’s population is made available. The CDT includes the development of around 9,500 residential units to complement the current 8,000 student accommodations.
- Transportation infrastructure – Particular attention is paid to the development of transportation services mitigating the current inadequate offer. CDT infrastructure projects include upgrading the RER line B, commissioning a new dedicated-site bus line from Massy RER station to Ecole Polytechnique and commissioning Grand Paris Express future line 18 (2023 to 2030). In addition, alternative modes (cable-car, escalators) to connect the plateau’s RER stations to the valley are also being considered.
- Quality of living – The many natural spaces and farming areas covered by the CDT will be safeguarded or upgraded. Besides, CDT programmes are to be energy efficient and will use renewable energies, while innovative low-energy infrastructures will be developed.
- Sustainable development – The CDT will ensure a balanced distribution of housing, business, services and public facilities in the districts it upgrades. Newly created neighbourhoods will need to reach a critical size, therefore justifying the availability of relevant services and facilities, to be mutualised by inhabitants, students and employees.
Source: Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme d’Ile-de-France (IAU)