By Miguel Padeiro
Since 1970, and in a virtually continuous manner, extensions to the Paris underground system have been weaving their way into the suburbs. Given that, for the past forty years, the idea of preferential densification around transport infrastructures has been a recurring theme in successive Regional Master Plans, and that this principle was adopted again in the 2007 version of the SDRIF, it seems reasonable to wonder whether these documents had any effect.
By using the Mode Occupation of Sol (MOS, IAURIF) database, this article questions the evolution of land-use around twenty-eight stations built since the 1970s. By observing the occupation gradient for different types of uses (residential, economic and vacant areas) and the changes over twenty years (1982-2003), it shows both the sustainability of built structures and the trend, albeit weak, towards differential land-use intensification around the underground stations. In view of the relative weakness of these developments, and the bona fide potential for renewal of land-use, we are led to ask whether the enforceability of urban transport infrastructure acts as a catalyst for urbanization.