In Bordeaux, “the Euratlantic shortcut equals too easy concreting”

Euratlantique takes over for ten years. The Operation of National Interest (OIN), the largest urban development operation in France outside Paris, was due to end in 2030, and has just been extended until 2040. “There are 740 hectares to be redeveloped on three municipalities, Bordeaux, Floirac, and Bègles, and we realized that we would not have finished in 2030 as planned” explains the director of the public establishment, Valérie Lasek.

The objective remains the same: to produce on this perimeter which mainly includes former railway wastelands, 25,000 housing units, i.e. 9,000 on the ZAC Saint-Jean-Belcier (around the station), 11,000 on Garonne-Eiffel (along the Garonne on Bordeaux and Floirac) and 5,000 on Bègles-Garonne, which will be the last to be carried out. “At the end of 2022, we have delivered 3,000 housing units in the first two ZACs, but this does not take into account what has been committed, and which will be delivered in the coming years, mainly in Bordeaux before Floirac takes over,” explains Valérie. Lasek. The director of Euratlantique answered questions from 20 Minutes.

Valérie Lasek, director of the Public Development Establishment (EPA) Euratlantique in Bordeaux. – Mickaël Bosredon

Will Euratlantique’s orientations change, compared to what has already been produced?

A lot has changed since the start of the Euratlantique project [l’établissement public a été créé en 2009], notably the acceleration of climate change. Decarbonization and zero net artificialization (ZAN) have become two major pillars of land use planning policies in France. On the ZAN, we are positive contributors, since our work consists of de-artificializing industrial wastelands near former railway sites. Everything we produce therefore gives air to the communities of Bordeaux Métropole who need to build on non-artificialized land. As for the way of designing urban projects, a more important place is given to greening. There was already a logic of rebalancing in favor of parks which were lacking in the south of Bordeaux, and which we have expanded, but we are going to accentuate this policy of de-waterproofing. It will be even more striking on the right bank, where we will reach 18 m2 of green spaces per new inhabitant, thanks in particular to the Eiffel park with an area of ​​14 ha.

Euratlantique often praises wooden construction, but there have been many concrete constructions, “concreteization” which was the subject of demonstrations against certain projects. How are you approaching this new phase of Euratlantique?

The shortcut Euratlantic equals concretization is too easy, and much less true in reality than what some want us to believe. We have been pioneers in wood through demonstrators like the Hyperion tower. The challenge then was to change construction methods so that wood becomes commonplace and we have a sector that emerges, to reduce the costs of wood production. We are working on it. Today, we have sixteen wooden buildings in the Armagnac district, and the Amédée Saint-Germain district (679 housing units) has a wooden frame. It is sometimes complicated to understand because it is not visible, because we have opted for mineral building facades, but the wooden frame is much more virtuous and durable.

Will there be more social housing in a metropolis that is still in deficit?

Even with sustained production of social housing in Euratlantique, there is still a deficit in this area in the metropolis, particularly in Bordeaux which remains below the objectives. This is why in Bordeaux, we will try to reach 40% social housing in our programs, compared to 35% until now. In Floirac, we are above the SRU rate [la loi SRU, Solidarité et renouvellement urbain, oblige les communes urbaines à disposer d’un taux minimal de logements sociaux de 20 ou 25 % selon les cas], so we will maintain a balanced program there, just like in Bègles. On housing, we particularly need to make an effort aimed at students, low-income people and families for whom “cohabitation” is complicated.

What is the level of prices for freely accessible housing on Euratlantique, and how will you manage to absorb elements such as the increase in the price of materials in future construction?

The objective of controlling the exit prices of freely accessible housing has worked well, since we are at 3,800 euros including tax per m2 (excluding exterior, excluding parking), or 1,000 euros below the average for Bordeaux Métropole. But at the moment, it is true that it is very difficult to maintain this effort. This is why we prefer to delay certain projects, rather than degrade the quality of what will be produced. There is no question of doing worse than what has been done.

After being built mainly around the Saint-Jean station, Euratlantique will now develop on the right bank?

90% of the ZAC Saint-Jean Belcier (around the station) is committed, and the projects will come to fruition until 2032. Where there is more room for maneuver is indeed on the right bank on the ZAC Garonne -Eiffel. We are currently seeing the Deschamps-Belvédère district emerging, from now on we will move to the other side of the LGV, to approach the entire Floiracais side of this ZAC, along the Eiffel Park that we are currently in the process of to arrange. And we will return to the left bank to complete the operation, with a third ZAC in Bègles, in which we wish to create 5,000 housing units and 140,000 m2 devoted to economic space, by 2040.

Isn’t the development project too dense?

We do not want to make Bordeaux Métropole a millionaire city, an objective that has been touted in the past, but its attractiveness cannot be denied. So either we welcome households in good conditions, with affordable housing, diversity, or we send them back to the peri-urban area, which means two cars per household to ensure everyone’s work. We must build in the heart of the metropolis to avoid urban sprawl and the road congestion that goes with it, which means building density near transport hubs, notably Saint-Jean station.

And what about cultural activities?

A performance hall, ” Good public “, will open its doors next summer at the latest, in the Belvédère district on the right bank. On the left bank, we have a cabaret which has set up, to complement the Méca and the Frac which are struggling to find attendance that matches the content. The Canopia Project [anciennement rue Bordelaise] begins work, with Les terrasses du Méridien, which will be a very beautiful room on a top floor with a view of the Garonne. And there are private initiatives, such as the rehabilitation of the Descas castle, which will be located in a green setting with the Descas garden, in a few years.

2023-12-10 14:37:51
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