Dear Minister Cécile Duflot, Prefect of the Region, Mayor of Paris, President of the Ile-de-France region, President of Paris Métropole, President of the Association of Mayors of Ile-de-France,

The future of Greater Paris brings us here to inaugurate the week of exhibition retracing the perspectives proposed by 15 teams of urban architects, because it is our common responsibility.

On the day of his inauguration on May 15, 2012, the President of the Republic recalled at the Paris City Hall the need to consider the metropolis of tomorrow, to include the issue of housing for all and to guarantee the development of its cultural attractiveness.

These «imperious needs» have been reflected in the guidelines set since then by the Prime Minister, who has at the same time strengthened the Greater Paris of mobility by allowing the realistic implementation of the Paris transport scheme, and defined the urgency of new housing development.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication was at the origin of the international consultation on the future of the Paris agglomeration and helped, with its partners, to create the International Workshop of Greater Paris. It is very naturally directly concerned by the way in which a new cultural identity of Greater Paris is emerging for the future, a new way of sharing the metropolis.

What is at stake with the Atelier du Grand Paris, whose intellectual and strategic centre is based on the 15 teams of architects selected after an international consultation, is the ability to think and transform this large territory. This metropolis is not limited to the addition of its cities, its urban communities, its departments, its region, through its competing needs, its spatial and human opportunities, its shared ambitions.

It is a matter of translating a political vision of the changing territories that is part of a life project.

As all the teams have pointed out, it is a question of reassembling on the existing one a real ambition of an open metropolis, attractive, sustainable, capable of gathering, repairing fractures, dissolving spatial breaks, territorial isolations.

The Greater Paris of tomorrow must offer everyone a living space where mobility, housing, work, leisure and cultural practices are part of urban planning and architecture with a human face.

In complete freedom, the 15 urban architects and their teams have taken up the challenge of going beyond the current regulatory and administrative constraints to propose us how best to «inhabit the Greater Paris».

They analysed the available land spaces, able to accommodate these new housing units that the metropolis so badly needs; they were not afraid to upset the rules that prevent them from settling where opportunities exist, reconnecting with the territories that welcome them.

They also anticipated the ways of living and housing and posed the durable as a consequence of mutability and reversibility.

The vision they give us here, which we would be wrong to believe is only theoretical, allows on the contrary, in the complementary diversity it suggests, to guide the choices of public officials, State and local authorities, who work with conviction and voluntarism to offer everyone the opportunity to live in a Greater Paris that is more supportive, dynamic and attractive.

Architecture is a thought in action and I had no doubt that the architects of the Atelier International du Grand Paris are waging the audacity and realism that we expected of them.

The priority and urgent issue of housing cannot be met without involving new urban situations, new urbanities, new typologies, new uses, a new cultural link of belonging to the large territory.

This is what all the teams have developed in their proposals, which it is up to us to grasp today so that tomorrow, «the ordinary becomes extraordinary», according to the formula so fair of one of you.

This extraordinary, this rejuvenation of the city, is within our reach.

Our collective political responsibility now is to find the way for this thought production to be useful and exploitable on the operational ground. This is one of the new challenges that the Atelier International du Grand Paris will face from next fall.

Thank you.