16,250 peri-urban municipalities around major urban centres

Eric Charmes, October 2015

The French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Research (INSEE) places many of the country’s municipalities in the ‘peri-urban’ category. Referring back to the “INSEE’s definition of peri-urban”, this chapter looks at the demographic and economic characteristics of these municipalities, and how they have changed. Analysis of characteristics shows that ‘peri-urban’ covers a wide range of situations. Their rate of growth and transformation makes these territories drivers of urban growth and economic development in France. Peri-urban territories play various roles in major urban centres. Drivers of local development, they also provide support for such development, and as such their relationships of dependency on the urban centre–and ties with other peri-urban municipalities–should be re-examined. This chapter provides the elements needed to understand the limitations of policies aimed at controlling urban sprawl: such policies are up against very diverse dynamics, as well as sectorial policies that encourage peri-urbanisation.

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