Gringy, a suburb of Paris, is to become part of the Métropole du Grand Paris, a megacity that will include the current city of Paris and its inner ring of suburbs, with a population of over seven million.

Orginally conceived in 2007, the plan for Paris’ expansion will be officially implemented next year. One of its main goals is to alleviate sharp divides within the urban area, described by Manuel Valls, French prime minister, as “territorial, social, ethnic apartheid”.

Plans uniting cities and their suburbs have been successful in the past: Budapest used to be two separate cities, and New York City was created by merging the original city and four neighbouring counties.

The problems in Paris are not unique – around the world, municipal boundaries generate inequality. Mumbai, for example, is facing a severe housing shortage thanks in large part to outdated and prohibitive construction restrictions, and more than 50% of its population live in informal housing, often with poor access to basic services. Across the bay in the city of Navi Mumbai, residential towers rise unchecked and are quickly snapped up by speculators. Merging central cities and suburbs may be an effective way to fight such problems.

Further details here.

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