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The Governance of Land Use in France

Case studies of Clermont-Ferrand and Nantes Saint-Nazaire

image of The Governance of Land Use in France

This report examines how land is governed in France. It describes the laws, policies and practices that shape spatial and land-use planning in the country as a whole, and provides a detailed assessment of specific governance arrangements and practices in two metropolitan areas: Clermont-Ferrand, a mid-range urban agglomeration in south-central France; and Nantes Saint-Nazaire, the 6th largest urban agglomeration in the country, located in the north-west. These case studies highlight the trends and challenges faced in each region—such as the need to protect fragile environments from growing peri-urbanisation—and the unique approaches that have been adopted to manage land-use issues across a large number of communes. The report offers recommendations on how to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the spatial planning system in order to ensure that land is used in an effective and sustainable way.

English French

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Assessment and recommendations

France is a unitary state with a strong national government that continues to exercise direct oversight over the decisions of subnational governments, even as it devolves additional responsibilities to them. There are 35 855 basic units of government in France—the commune or municipality. The large number of, mostly small, communes provide a high degree of contact between citizens and their elected local government representatives. In addition, there are several layers of subnational government above communes, with either directly or indirectly elected leaders. However, France also maintains a system of préfets, who are the direct representatives of the state, at all levels of subnational government to monitor the decisions of elected officials.

English French

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