France’s Normandy Region, alongside Métropole Rouen Normandie, Communauté de l’Agglomération Havraise and the City of Rouen, have presented a common 2025 World Expo proposal on the global metropolis of tomorrow.
During a visit to Rouen by Expofrance 2025 President Jean-Christophe Fromantin, Hervé Morin, President, Normandy Region, Frédéric Sanchez, President, Métropole Rouen Normandie, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, Vice-President, Communauté de l’Agglomération Havraise and Yvon Robert, Mayor of Rouen, outlined their shared proposal for France’s 2025 World Expo candidature on the theme of ‘Sharing our knowledge, caring for our Planet’.
“Together, we want to build an ambitious, multidisciplinary project showcasing every aspect – economic, urban, cultural and environmental – of the Seine Valley. We believe that Normandy’s creativity and know-how will bring additional assets to the French initiative. Ours is a collective, positive approach,” said the elected officials.
The project, entitled ‘The Seine Valley: A global metropolis around the river’, will focus on this region’s transformations, but also its rich history and abundant natural resources. The Seine Valley is inventing the global metropolis of tomorrow, which will boast proximity to the ocean, a first-rate industrial, port-based and services economy supplying Paris, a connected region with a multimodal transportation network ready for tomorrow’s mobility issues, and an exceptionally rich cultural heritage and environment.
The officials reiterated an idea recently reaffirmed by Antoine Grumbach1 : “In 2025, our planet will have 25 conurbations with a population of more than ten million. The greater Paris and London metropolitan areas will be last to join this list including heterogeneous communities of several tens of millions of inhabitants such as Tokyo, Mexico City, Lagos, Manila, Shanghai, Mumbai and New York (…). In the 21st century, we must find and share solutions enabling people to live together in these limitless regions in a seemingly perpetual unfinished state. What better location than the Seine Valley to define the identity and the model for a major European metropolis?”
The Normandy proposal will be developed progressively. By April 30, a preliminary proposal will be submitted to Expofrance 2025. Based on the feedback received, the proposal will be discussed, enhanced and enriched with the ideas and contributions of the region’s stakeholders. If the final proposal submitted on July 1, 2017 is selected, it will be added to the official candidature dossier submitted by France to the Bureau International des Expositions in September 2017.
Normandy Region President Hervé Morin said, “Because Normandy has so much to offer, it is a natural candidate to host the 2025 World Expo. The Seine River represents an incredible opportunity for our region and our country. Through our candidature, we will show the world that our region ranks as a model ‘21st century maritime and fluvial metropolis’ and a genuine advocate of sustainable development. We must build our candidature around the concept of a ‘blue river’ or ‘ocean-river’, which will allow us to include cultural initiatives such as the Normandy Impressionist Festival. We also broached the idea of a floating pavilion that would leave from Le Havre and travel all the way to Paris, arriving close to the main World Expo site. There is also great potential for research-based projects. Normandy is fortunate to be home to one of the world’s largest laboratories specialising in augmented and virtual reality, and our region is a leader in digital technologies. We could probably involve the Normandy French Tech association as well. Lastly, a number of experiments with driverless cars are being conducted in the Seine area. Clearly, we must work together to shape an innovative, structured proposal built to last, as a driver of tourism growth and attractiveness for our region. This project must channel and unite energies in Normandy.”
Frédéric Sanchez, President of Métropole Rouen Normandie, said, “The 2025 World Expo is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Seine Valley and its incredible wealth of cultural and natural attributes, accelerate its growth and increase the number of visitors. Our vision will go beyond 2025 to encompass the major metropolis on the Seine where our children will live.”
According to Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, Vice-President, Communauté de l’Agglomération Havraise, “The Seine Valley is an obvious choice. It already represents a community of projects and is organised into joint operational initiatives. With our know-how, we can promote and advance the 2025 project. Le Havre is an integral part of this collective dynamic and hopes to demonstrate the countless potential uses of the river and its estuary.”
Yvon Robert, Mayor of Rouen, said, “I believe the strength of Normandy’s candidature is in fact its universal dimension: if everyone joins forces – towns and cities, social and economic players, influential regional stakeholders, and citizens – and puts their trust in our collective knowledge and in the regions, this amazing initiative and source of pride for all will achieve the success we are aiming for.”
Jean-Christophe Fromantin, President, Expofrance 2025, said, “The Normandy Region’s desire to participate in France’s 2025 World Expo candidature is a very positive sign reflecting the mobilisation of all French regions. More than twenty major French cities and regions are now vying to host a thematic forum. The first World Expo of the digital era will truly be a national event!”