New book by Antoine Picon traces architectural adventure of one postwar French town

Antoine Picon’s new book De la ville nouvelle à la vie durable: Marne-la Vallée has just been released by Parenthèses. Co-authored by Clément Orillard, the volume offers a comprehensive look at the origins, development and present state of Marne-la-Vallée, the largest French postwar new town begun in the 1960s and still growing today. Located on the outskirts of Paris, stretching over more than twenty kilometers, Marne-la-Vallée is representative of French postwar regional planning and urban design practices. It is also exceptional because of the presence of Disneyland Paris, which has considerably influenced its development for the past two decades.
The first section of the book discusses the mix of French and international features that gives Marne-la-Vallée its unique identity. The second part describes the major episodes of this urban planning and architectural adventure. The last section is devoted to some of the contemporary challenges faced by the new town, from its role in the Parisian region at large to the place played by the rising economy of knowledge in its further development. Of special interest is the role played from the start by environmental concerns. At Marne-la-Vallée, the quest for sustainability meets the history of recent urbanism.