Urban area (France)

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Map of France indicating its commune municipalities. The colours show the urban organisation status of each municipality in 2010 :
Urban areas of France in 2010, broken down by communes:
  Red: urban communes also urban poles of an urban area
  Orange: other urban communes in a single urban area
  Yellow: urban communes linked to at least two urban areas
  White: rural communes

An aire urbaine (literal and official translation: "urban area")[1] is an INSEE (France's national statistics bureau) statistical concept describing a core of urban development and the extent of its commuter activity.

Definition[edit]

The aire urbaine is built from France's nationwide interlocking administrative commune municipalities: when a commune has over 2000 inhabitants and contains a centre of dense construction (buildings spaced no more than 200 metres apart), it is combined with other adjoining communes fulfilling the same criteria to become a single unité urbaine ("urban unit"[2]); if an urban unit offers over 10,000 jobs and its economical development is enough to draw more than 40% of the population of a nearby municipalities (and other municipalities drawn to these in the same way) as commuters, it becomes a pôle urbain ("urban cluster"[3]) and the "commuter municipalities" become its couronne ("rim"[4]), but this only on the condition that the urban unit itself is not part of another urban cluster's rim. The aire urbaine is an urban cluster and its rim combined, or a statistical area describing a central urban core and its economic influence on surrounding municipalities.

Types of aires urbaines[edit]

As of 2010, depending on their population and function, aires urbaines adopt the following secondary appellations:

  • aires urbaines with more than 500,000 inhabitants and 20,000 official 'metropolitan-type jobs' are considered aires métropolitaines ('metropolitan areas')[5]
  • aires urbaines with more than 200,000 inhabitants are considered grandes aires ('large urban areas')[6]
  • aires urbaines centred around a 'pole' urban unit with 5,000 to 10,000 jobs (with at least 40% of the surrounding commune populations working there) are 'moyennes aires' ('medium urban areas').[7]
  • aires urbaines centred around a 'pole' urban unit with 1,500 to 5,000 jobs (with at least 40% of the surrounding commune populations working there) are 'petites aires' ('small urban areas').[8]

History[edit]

In France, multiple words exist to define various kinds of urban area.

One of the first words used was the word agglomération, which was first used to deal with a group of people. The word was used, for instance, in a law from 5th April 1884 (loi du 5 avril 1884), in which Article 98 gives the mayor police power (pouvoirs de police), meaning authority over the city, but only within the agglomération. That law was used as a legal precedent in 1907 to forbid a mayor from setting a speed limit on the road next to a farm, considering that at that time, a group of houses inside a farm might be an agglomération, but the road next to it was not inside the agglomération.[9][10].

Later, in the 1920s, the concept of agglomération was used in the code de la route (Highway code) to define specific law within or outside of such a zone.

In 1968, the French word agglomération was introduced in the French version of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic in the place where the English word built-up area was used in the English version of the same treaty. In this treaty, the word is only defined as a concept signalled by an entry sign and an exit sign, while still allowing members of the treaty to have different definitions.

Nowadays, words with an English origin or meaning tend to be introduced into the French language as loanwords, in order to describe new concepts, words or meanings, or to replace old words. Such words include: aire urbaine (urban area); métropole (metropolis); agglomération (agglomeration); communauté urbaine (urban community); Grand + the name of a city (Grand Paris, Grand Toulouse).

As a member of the European Union and the OECD, for statistical purposes, France may need to consider the regions inside or outside of the limits of an urban area.

List of France's aires urbaines (metropolitan areas)[edit]

The following is a list of the twenty largest aires urbaines (metropolitan areas) in France, based on their population at the 2016 census. Population at the 2011 and 2006 census is indicated for comparison.

In both time intervals presented in the table below (2006 to 2011 and 2011 to 2016), the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in France were Bordeaux, Montpellier, Toulouse, Nantes, Rennes and Lyon with an average annual growth rate equal or greater than 1%.

Rank
(2016)
Rank
(2011)
Rank
(2006)
Aire urbaine
(metropolitan area)
Population
(2016)[11]
Population
(2011)
Population
(2006)
Yearly change
(2011-2016)
Yearly change
(2006-2011)
Land area
(km²)
1 1 1  Paris[12] 12,568,755 12,292,895 11,956,493 +0.44% +0.56% 17,174
2 2 2  Lyon[13] 2,310,850 2,188,759 2,085,107 +1.09% +0.98% 6,019
3 3 3  Marseille - Aix-en-Provence[14] 1,756,296 1,720,941 1,692,459 +0.41% +0.33% 3,174
4 4 4  Toulouse[15] 1,345,343 1,250,251 1,169,865 +1.48% +1.34% 5,381
5 6 6  Bordeaux[16] 1,232,550 1,140,668 1,086,106 +1.56% +0.99% 5,613
6 5 5  Lille (French part)[17] 1,187,820 1,159,547 1,152,507 +0.48% +0.12% 926
7 7 7  Nice[18] 1,006,402 1,003,947 995,968 +0.05% +0.16% 2,585
8 8 8  Nantes[19] 961,521 884,275 841,404 +1.69% +1.00% 3,302
9 9 9  Strasbourg (French part)[20] 785,839 764,013 749,766 +0.56% +0.38% 2,198
10 10 12  Rennes[21] 727,357 679,866 637,673 +1.36% +1.29% 3,747
11 11 10  Grenoble[22] 687,985 675,122 659,459 +0.38% +0.47% 2,621
12 12 11  Rouen[23] 665,249 655,013 643,499 +0.31% +0.36% 2,367
13 13 13  Toulon[24] 626,504 606,987 598,514 +0.63% +0.28% 1,196
14 14 15  Montpellier[25] 607,896 561,326 529,401 +1.61% +1.18% 1,673
15 15 14  Douai - Lens[26] 539,064 542,946 545,636 -0.14% −0.10% 679
16 16 17  Avignon[27] 529,190 515,123 501,866 +0.54% +0.52% 2,083
17 17 16  Saint-Étienne[28] 519,834 508,548 508,284 +0.44% +0.01% 1,689
18 18 18  Tours[29] 494,453 480,378 469,244 +0.58% +0.47% 3,184
19 19 19  Clermont-Ferrand[30] 482,472 467,178 454,553 +0.65% +0.55% 2,420
20 20 20  Nancy[31] 435,356 434,565 432,481 +0.04% +0.10% 2,367

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Definitions and methods: Urban area
  2. ^ Definitions and methods: Urban unit
  3. ^ Definitions and methods: Urban Cluster
  4. ^ Definitions and methods: Rim
  5. ^ "Un maillage du territoire français - Insee Première - 1333". www.insee.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  6. ^ "Un maillage du territoire français - Insee Première - 1333". www.insee.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  7. ^ "Base des aires urbaines | Insee". www.insee.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. ^ "Base des aires urbaines | Insee". www.insee.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  9. ^ http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5809154m/f31.item
  10. ^ http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5752228f/f13.item
  11. ^ "Villes et communes de France − Tableaux de l'économie française | Insee". insee.fr. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  12. ^ Paris
  13. ^ Lyon
  14. ^ Marseille-Aix-en-Provence
  15. ^ Toulouse
  16. ^ Bordeaux
  17. ^ Lille
  18. ^ Nice
  19. ^ Nantes
  20. ^ Strasbourg
  21. ^ Rennes
  22. ^ Grenoble
  23. ^ Rouen
  24. ^ Toulon
  25. ^ Montpellier
  26. ^ Douai-Lens
  27. ^ Avignon
  28. ^ Saint-Étienne
  29. ^ Tours
  30. ^ Clermont-Ferrand
  31. ^ Nancy

External links[edit]

  • Geopolis: research group, university of Paris-Diderot, France - Population of urban areas of 10,000 or more