At the beginning of the millennium, architecture in France has developed widely thanks to an urban policy at a national and local level that has promoted redevelopment programs ranging from the regeneration of city centers to the recovery of abandoned areas and buildings, to the construction of mixed residential districts, to the creation of parks and urban facilities. The Ministry of the City, the national body of urban policy, has passed various laws and programs including the Borloo law (2003) for the orientation and planning of city renewal; the laws for social cohesion (2005) and equal opportunities (2006); the urban social cohesion contract (2007); the banlieue plan (2008), the law of the metropolises (2014).
Also in recent years there have been numerous flagship projects of national politics such as to allow the realization of major architectural and urban planning interventions. Among these, particular resonance had: Lyon-Confluence (2003- in itinere), an eco-sustainable urban project certified in 2009 by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and located at the southern end of Lyon at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which has promoted the construction of environmentally innovative residential districts with large public spaces, parks and cultural and commercial facilities; the EuroMéditerranée project (2007-13), the redevelopment program of Marseille, the capital of culture in 2013, which involved the arrangement of the central area and the pedestrianization of the Vieux-Port area (Foster + Partners, Michel Desvigne, Tangram Architectes , 2013); the arrangement of the architectural backdrop overlooking the sea with buildings by Stefano Boeri, Eric Castaldi and Roland Carta, Zaha Hadid, Rudy Ricciotti; the renovation of the Saint Charles station into a multimodal hub; the construction of the Joliette business and residential center;
According to Constructmaterials, even Paris and the Île de France area were the subject of important urban and architectural interventions in anticipation of the Grand Paris project, the transformation of the capital into a metropolis of 20 million residents. Particularly significant was the multimodal restructuring of the public transport network which, in addition to the railway stations, involved the nodes of the underground stations, the restoration of the batobuses on the Seine and the creation of a vast network of bicycles (Velib ‘2007) and electric cars (Autolib ‘2011) for hire.
Also significant were the riverfront recovery projects that involved the large and medium-sized cities of the France with the objectives of environmental and social redevelopment of urban centers through the creation of equipped walks, sports and leisure areas, microarchitectures. Among these, those of the Garonne in Bordeaux (quais Rive Gauche, 2000-09, by Michel Corajoud), of the Rhone (Berges du Rhône, 2003-07, of In-Situ Architectes paysagistes with Jourda Architectes) and of the Saone in Lyon (Rives de Saône, 2010-15, by Agence Dumetier), of the Seine in Paris, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (Berges de Seine, 2010-12, by APUR, Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme) are distinguished by the input given to the organization of ‘slow’ public transport with the restoration of rail trams, batobuses and cycle paths connected to the network of rental bicycles.
During the decade, numerous projects for libraries, museums and cultural centers were inaugurated including the Musée du quai Branly (2006) by Jean Nouvel in Paris, the cultural center Alvéole 14 (2007) in the recovered spaces of the submarine base of Saint-Nazaire in work of the LIN studio, the Center Pompidou-Metz (2011) by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, the contemporary art center FRAC (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain) Bretagne (2012) by Odile Decq in Rennes, the Musée du Louvre- Lens (2012) by SANAA, the Musée de la romanité (2012) in Narbonne by Foster, the MuCEM (Musée des Civilizations d’Europe et de Méditerranée, 2013) by Rudy Ricciotti and the contemporary art center FRAC (2013) by Kengo Kuma in Marseille, the Musée des confluences (2014) in Lyon by Coop Himmelb (l) au, the Filarmonica (2014) by Nouvel in the Villette park in Paris.
Other important achievements in the decade have resulted in natural and urban parks connected to the current of contemporary French landscape architecture which boasts Gilles Clément and Michel Corajoud (who passed away in 2014) among its masters. Examples of a new vision of nature that enters the city are Les jardins d’Eole in Paris, created by Corajoud in 2007, and those on the Seguin island in Billancourt (Desvigne, 2010) created as part of ZAC programs (Zone d ‘ Aménagement Concertés), which follow the traces of the three ‘historical’ cases of the 1990s (the Villette, Bercy and André Citroën parks). Exemplary is also the garden of the Musée du quai Branly designed by Clément as a meeting place for the cultures of the world. Finally, in 2013 the Georges-Valbon park in La Courneuve, one of the largest in France, started a new extension under construction.