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Constructing an Eco-Cité at the Lorraine-Luxembourg border: the EPA Alzette-Belval 

Constructing an Ecocité in Northern Lorraine is the vision initiated in 2009 by public actors – from the local to the national level in France – to trigger development and regain strategic room for manoeuvre in the context of steady growth in Luxembourg. The 8 municipalities under scrutiny – “Pays Haut Val d’Alzette”, with 28,000 inhabitants – are marked by deindustrialisation and the vast majority of the workforce are driven to Luxembourg. This results in important spatial disparities (e.g. access to and funding of public amenities, social cohesion, preservation of heritage) that are addressed throughout the empirical work from the distributional aspect of spatial justice. In terms of the procedural aspect of spatial justice, the EPA is a state-led agency with the capacity to “take back” responsibility for planning from other administrative levels to plan specific areas.

This instrument is unique in the French planning system, as all levels remain associated in the governance structure, and  the EPA brings technical expertise and financial means to the locality. It raises questions not only of legitimacy, but also of its capacity to harmonise its actions with both local development initiatives and the expectations of the local population. These are at the core of the analysis. Ultimately, this case study also scrutinises how the EPA can represent leverage for greater spatial justice within and beyond the locality, especially across borders. What does spatial justice mean in a cross-border context? How equitable can a cross-border area be?

For more information on this Case Study, please contact: Dr. Estelle Evrard, University of Luxembourg,

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