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International symposium "Inventing/reversing Greater Paris. Towards a new history of metropolises?"

The Inventer le Grand Paris group of Labex Futurs Urbains, bringing together numerous academic and professional partners including the Université Gustave Eiffel, organized the "Inventer/Inverser le Grand Paris. Towards a new history of metropolises". This international, multidisciplinary symposium, held at ENSA Paris-Belleville on March 14 and 15, 2024, was an opportunity to examine the history of Greater Paris as a metropolitan concept over the long term and from an international comparative perspective.

Shifting the focus to plural approaches to Greater Paris


This symposium was an opportunity to take as its starting point the inflections of a research program born in 2012 in the wake of the International Consultation on Greater Paris, as well as the renewal of historiography and the themes raised by current ecological, social and political events... The growing importance of environmental, heritage and democratic concerns in political and media discourse, as well as in academic disciplines, are all subjects for study that will enable us to renew our approach to and understanding of the Paris metropolis, by putting into perspective case studies from North America (Montreal, Philadelphia), Europe (Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, London, Milan, Turin) and France (Marseille, Lyon).

The three sessions on offer are devoted respectively to the environmental, conflictual and landscape aspects of the intersecting histories of metropolises. A round-table addresses the sharing of knowledge and the recognition of citizen skills. The word "invert" explores the potential for renewing research in the dual sense of "reversing perspective" and "changing order and value". Through the case studies presented and the testimonies of the players involved in the final round-table discussion, the colloquium demonstrated the usefulness of using history to shed light on current metropolitan planning policies, whether to understand the new heritage challenges facing global metropolises, the fierce opposition to major development projects, the dead-ends of recent reforms to the governance of Greater Paris, or the right scale for the environmental challenges of metropolitan futures.


A look back at the "Inventing Greater Paris. Histoire croisée des métropoles" project

The research program of the "Inventing Greater Paris" cross-disciplinary group, formed in 2012, has a fourfold objective:

  • To develop a panorama of research on the history of Greater Paris from an international, comparative and connected perspective;
  • Promote the renewal of scientific inquiry into urban and metropolitan history through various initiatives (seminars, study days, international colloquia);
  • Draw up an inventory and promote the corpus of documents on the history of Greater Paris (major development plans, bibliographic or archival databases) that have made their mark in the 20th century, based on the study of a wide range of collections on the history of Greater Paris.

Make available to the general public author-verified versions of papers presented at seminars and symposia (250 articles to date).

More informations:


Contacts :

  • Laurence Bassières (Ausser) :
  • Cédric Fériel (ACP) :
  • Nathalie Roseau (Latts):
  • Frédéric Pousin (Ipraus) :


Go further


Consult the program and the abstracts of the papers of the four sessions :