Urban communities in France
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Administrative divisions of France
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In France, urban communities (French: communauté urbaine) are the most integrated form of intercommunality in France. An urban community is composed of a city (commune) and its independent suburbs (independent communes).
The first urban communities were created by the French Parliament on 31 December 1966. Originally there were only four, found in the metropolitan areas of Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg. Later, others were created in other metropolitan areas. The purpose of the urban communities was to achieve cooperation and joint administration between large cities and their independent suburbs. This step often followed failed attempts to merge the communes within a metropolitan area. The status of the urban communities was modified by the Chevènement Law of 1999.
As of 1 January 2009, there are 16 urban communities in France (all in metropolitan France), with a combined population of 7.47 million inhabitants (as of Jan. 2006 census, in 2009 limits). All of the urban areas in France with more than half a million inhabitants are urban communities, except for Paris. Île-de-France, which is one of the regions of France, effectively provides a combined administrative unit covering the Paris urban area. Some urban communities are relatively small; smaller than many agglomeration communities.
The urban communities are each administrated by a council called a "conseil communautaire" (community council), composed of a proportional representation of members of municipal councils of member towns. The council is headed by an executive composed of a president and vice-presidents elected by the council. The president is in many cases the mayor of the main or most populous city. The mayors of the others cities are often also vice-presidents of the executive, the deputies-mayors are often members of the council, as are some members of the towns' councils.
List of the 16 urban communities
(ranked by population as January 2006 census, in 2009 limits)
- Urban Community of Lyon (Grand Lyon) – 1,253,179 inhabitants
- Urban Community of Lille Métropole – 1,107,861
- Urban Community of Marseille Provence Métropole – 1,023,972
- Urban Community of Bordeaux (CUB) – 702,522
- Urban community of Greater Toulouse – 651,584
- Urban Community of Nantes (Nantes Métropole) – 579,131
- Urban community of Nice Côte d'Azur – 512,160
- Urban Community of Strasbourg (CUS) – 467,376
- Urban Community of Greater Nancy (Grand Nancy) – 258,526
- Urban Community of Brest (Brest Métropole Océane) – 210,117
- Urban Community of Dunkerque (Dunkerque Grand Littoral) – 200,417
- Urban Community of Le Mans Métropole – 184,958
- Urban Community of Arras – 91,438
- Urban Community of Creusot Montceau – 90,406
- Urban Community of Cherbourg – 85,588
- Urban Community of Alençon – 49,634
- (French) Direction générale des collectivités locales (DGCL), Ministry of the Interior. "Base des EPCI à fiscalité propre" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-24.
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