The cross-border agglomeration of Geneva and the Geneva Franco valdo project

Make the institutional territory coincide with the lived territory

Claire Lanly, 2009

This sheet presents a cross-border agglomeration project between France and Switzerland which aims to, beyond national borders, make institutional territories coincide with those lived by the inhabitants.

I- Some descriptive data

The agglomeration of Geneva goes far beyond the borders of the city of Geneva and even of the Canton of which it is the capital since it extends to the North-East towards the district of Nyon, in the canton of Vaud, and, in France, in the departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie on both sides of the Rhône. This conurbation now has some 800,000 inhabitants.

As the definitions of urbanism in force on both sides of the Franco-Swiss border are not identical and delimit unequal spaces in the two countries, the Cross-border Statistical Observatory is working to bring them together. It should be noted that the territory of the Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration project has contours quite similar to those of the urban area, in the French statistical sense.

Some quantitative descriptive data of the agglomeration and urban area of ​​Geneva (note) 1.

II-Characterization of demographic and economic dynamics

The Franco-Valdo Geneva basin has experienced significant demographic growth since the 1990s which even accelerated in the 2000s since it reached an average of + 1.3% per year between 1999 and 2005, the increase being particularly marked in the region. canton of Geneva and in the French part. On the Swiss side, migration, boosted by economic dynamics, contributes essentially to demographic growth, while on the French side the natural balance remains significant, particularly in Haute-Savoie.

In 2005, there were some 267,000 jobs in the private sector in the Geneva urban area, to which were added public sector jobs (around 72,000 in the canton of Geneva alone, one third of which was linked to extraterritorial activities.   ”), Ie around 400,000 jobs, mainly in the tertiary sector. Recent trends show a comparable increase in employment on both sides of the border with, however, a specialization in financial and high-tech activities on the Swiss side and in construction and retail trade on the French side, sectors that are very affected. by the crisis. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate in the Franco-Valdo-Geneva area in 2005 was relatively low (8.1%) and fell sharply until mid-2008 (5.6%).

French cross-border workers working in the canton of Geneva dropped from some 26,000 in 1998 to 46,500 at the end of 2006. They occupy 15% of the jobs there. There are also the Swiss living in France and international civil servants, bringing the number of “  commuters” on either side of the border to 65,000 at the end of 2005, a number which would have even reached 80,000 at the end. 2008.

III- Geneva and the Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration project

The canton of Geneva and the Confederation

The Swiss Confederation, a federal state since the 19th century whose particularity lies in the capacity for popular initiative, has three institutional levels: the federal level, the 26 cantons, endowed with a constitution and assuming the three powers, but also applying federal laws, and municipalities.

The canton of Geneva operates according to the principle of subsidiarity and in particular exercises powers in the fields of urban “  industrial services  ”, transport, environmental protection, energy, housing and protection. tenants, public education, worship and public assistance.

The institutional territory and the lived territory no longer coincide for many years, the canton of Geneva has moved closer to the neighboring territories of the district of Nyon (canton of Vaud) and the French intercommunalities - and other French territorial institutions - of a territory with contours close to that of the urban area (statistical definition). These institutions are united in the Franco-Geneva Regional Committee (CRFG) which has a steering committee (9 Swiss members and 9 French members), a project committee and a project team to implementing a Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration project. This one, selected by the European Union in the Interreg program, receives support from the Swiss federal government and the Rhône-Alpes region, mainly for public transport projects structuring urbanization.

Compared to Swiss institutions, the French part seems very fragmented on the institutional level  : the 127 French municipalities belong to various inter-municipal authorities (1 urban community, 7 communities of municipalities, a multi-purpose inter-municipal union)  ; the agglomeration community of Annemasse - the Voirons weighing much less than that of the canton of Geneva.

IV- Presentation objects

The agglomeration of Geneva was presented in 2006 during the Basel platform by a presentation of the Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration project which addresses the metropolitan strategic vision, territorial economic development and territorial planning. Then during the Montreal platform in 2009, a second presentation of the agglomeration project was broadcast on the themes of major urban projects, equipment and in particular transport infrastructure.

(note) 1 Source  : Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration project  : status of the issue and diagnosis - December 2007 (core agglomeration  : municipalities of Geneva, Carouge, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex  ; central area  : continuous urban fabric, i.e. communes of the Geneva and Annemassian urban agglomerations) - urban area - see  : (