From the start, Euro Disney worked closely with
state authority EPAFrance and the locally elected Val
d’Europe New Town Association (SAN).
New York, New York, USA-based Cooper,
Robertson & Partners was brought in to handle
architecture and design. And the company’s senior
urban designer and partner Michel Dionne was
tasked with weaving together a coherent plan.
“We had regular meetings with the project stakeholders,” says Mr. Dionne. “We clearly identified the
goal of the town ... to make sure that the principles
and vision of the place were implemented.”
Designers and developers began sketching
diagrams of Val d’Europe as early as 1994,
although the final phase of the build-out won’t
launch until next year, with a completion date
of 2018. So far, roughly ¤ 6. 6 billion in private
investment has been put into the project.
74PM NETWORK MAY 2009 WWW.PMI.ORG
THE CENTER OF THE ACTION
Today Val d’Europe spans 1,943 hectares ( 4,801
acres) and five districts, anchored by a thriving town
center. But planning the new downtown district met
with logistical roadblocks from the beginning. Mr.
Dionne had only a small parcel of land to work with,
hemmed in by Disneyland Resort Paris and a
boulevard circling the park.
“The pie-shaped plan was not the most ideal land
configuration to work with,” he says. “We had to be
The team also had to figure out a way to design
around a 1. 2 million square-foot (111,484 square-meter) shopping center already under construction.
Using a bit of architectural subterfuge, the mall’s
main entrances were modified to complement the
adjoining squares and plazas. “It feels more like a
normal town,” Mr. Dionne says.
Two rail corridors bisect Val d’Europe: the RER,
leading commuters to Paris, and the TGV, heading to
points throughout Europe. A densely populated
community placed near convenient transportation
translates to built-in sustainability.
“Because you're located on the transit [lines],
you reduce your carbon footprint,” Mr. Dionne says.
The mixed-use development also puts most
necessities within walking or biking distance. “You
have a good retail center, the hospital and university
[are] getting built, so there will be less need for your
car,” he says. “It’s a more compact town.”
The design also fosters a diverse population.
Rentals mix with co-ops and low-income housing
(which represents 20 percent of all units) among
bistros, shops and public spaces. “You don’t have a
notion that one is richer than the other,” says Mr.
Dionne. “Architecturally, they all blend in.”