What is Evry

Evry is a French city, 26km south of Paris, planned and built in the 1960s in a region that was then an agricultural village. It is the department seat of Essonne in the Parisian Region.

In the era following WWII, French architects and urbanists faced the need to plan for rapidly increasing urban populations. By the 1960s this led to the creation new towns in several parts of France in the style advocated by La Corbusier at the 1933 International Modern Architecture Congress. The approach meant a special attention to living conditions (parks, lakes, riverfronts) for comfortable apartments (large, with terraces) to house upper middle-class people.

Anticipating strong population growth in the Parisian region, the government decided to create five new towns. The planned cities had to be located from 15 to 30km of Paris and were intended to be autonomous cities rather than Parisian suburbs, with strong economic environments, administrative Department Centres, optimized transportation systems and full education structures.

One of these was Evry, which became a laboratory for urban planning and development. In fact, the contemporary Evry can be seen as an architectural museum of late twentieth century styles. Many famous international architects worked on the project, including Lagnel, Andrault & Parat, Chemetov, Sarfati, Macary, Riboulet, Bott. In the 1980’s Evry even became a parish, with the only cathedral built in the twentieth century.

Several multinational companies chose Evry for their headquarters including Accor, Carrefour, Alsthom or European headquarters for American companies such as HP, Digital.
The University of Evry, opened in 1990 and enrolling 12,000 students, is part of the Paris-Saclay COMUE: a community of south Paris academic institutions.

Today, Evry has now 50 000 inhabitants. Many company headquarters have moved and the population has changed, with new immigrants contributing new energy. Some neighbourhoods have aged poorly but ongoing urban renewal projects are again contributing to Evry’s continuing evolution.


Sandra Dilon

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