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The cross-border agglomeration Alzette-Belval presents an urban continuum inherited from the steel and mining era. Covering an area of 170 km2 and welcoming 95,714 inhabitants in 2017, it is currently composed of 12 municipalities. The political cooperation really began in the 2000s with the implementation of a major project: Belval. Pursuing a polycentric spatial development to “unblock” Luxembourg-city, the State of Luxembourg created ex nihilo a new urban centrality at the border, where 25,000 jobs and 7,000 inhabitants are envisaged. A public investment of more than one billion euros is planned over two decades to clean up a brownfield land and build a multifunctional urban district including a university and research centres, decentralized public administrations, a concert hall, companies and shops. In reaction of this Luxembourgish urban regeneration project, French authorities have decided, in 2009, to invest 300 million euros over 20 years for the development plan of an eco-agglomeration. Such a public investment aims at complementing the Luxembourgish project in an attempt to avoid the status of simple suburbia.

These two urban projects are achieved autonomously by the national development agencies. However, despite some political divergences, there is a willingness to connect these planning initiatives thanks to a cross-border cooperation implying strategies, concrete achievements and institutional settings. At the strategic level, the French and Luxembourg states signed in 2004 a framework convention proposing a shared vision of the development of the cross-border living area anchored specifically on the Belval project. At the...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration
EditorsBirte Wassenberg, Bernard Reitel
PublisherPeter Lang
ISBN (Print)978-2-8076-0794-1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


  • Alzette-Belval
  • cross-border agglomeration
  • Luxembourg
  • France
  • urban projects

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