The Sustainable City Cluster around Cité Descartes

The Descartes cluster sprang from a Government decision to leverage the “département”’s natural heritage and new urban equipment in order to motivate an international dynamic around sustainable development.
Located in the Seine-et-Marne (77) “département”, the Descartes cluster stretches across the new town of Marne-la-Vallée, from Cité Descartes to the Val d’Europe district. This cluster already benefits from a number of tangible assets helping to establish its position within Grand Paris, in spite of a limited connection between Paris and Marne-la-Vallée (RER line A) and even though the extent of its natural spaces has stifled its economic development.

Cité Descartes, a major academic centre around the sustainable city

Today, Cité Descartes is home to over 50 R&D labs and about 20,000 students are enrolled in its 18 elite schools (grandes écoles) such as ENSIEE Engineering & Management, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and Institut Français d’Urbanisme.

Scientists specialised in sustainable engineering include over 1,200 university researchers at the Bienvenüe campus building and 850 students and researchers based in the energy-positive Descartes+ building, according to Agence Descartes Développement, the agency in charge of promoting Cité Descartes’ sustainability industry.
Other organisations are planning to move to Cité Descartes:
  • Institut technologique FCBA, a sustainable development centre in the timber and cellulose industry, is about to leave its Paris premises to settle in Marne-la-Vallée;
  • Iconic project Efficacity will be the first R&D centre dedicated to urban energy efficiency. Jointly supported by major energy players such as Veolia, EDF, Vinci, Bouygues and GDF Suez, the project will bring in its wake several grandes écoles and universities (Paris-Est, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech);
  • Disneyland Paris and Pierre & Vacances are jointly investing €800 million in the construction of Villages Nature, an eco-tourism resort located 6 km away from Disneyland. The first phase is to be completed in 2016, the second one in 2020. Spanning over 160,000 m² and totally self-sufficient thanks to geothermal energy, Villages Natures will create 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The Disneyland / Val d’Europe area,  paving the way in terms of entertainment and shopping

  • The international reputation of the cluster is closely linked to the success of Disneyland Paris and of the Val d’Europe shopping mall (respectively in Serris and Chessy), both attracting millions of visitors each year. Val d’Europe is planning to extend further over an additional 17,000 m² by 2016;
  • More broadly, Marne-la-Vallée stands out as the third tertiary cluster in the Greater Paris Region, with a business park of 230 registered companies, including the headquarters of large companies such as Conforama (in Lognes), Aereco (in Collégien), Kellogg’s(Noisy-le-Grand) and most notably the French headquarters of global food and beverage leader Nestlé (in Noisiel);
  • Lastly, the cluster has a good road infrastructure (A4 and A104 highways).
  • US company Costco considers turning Bussy-Saint-Georges into one of its first French locations.

The Disneyland / Val d’Europe area,  paving the way in terms of entertainment and shopping

The cluster’s transportation service will improve thanks to Grand Paris Express, which will link the current Noisy-Champs RER A station to metro lines 15, 16 and 11 respectively by 2020, 2023 and 2025.

CDT related to this cluster :

  • Grand Paris Est Noisy-Champs CDT