The city hall
|Canton||Villeurbanne-Centre, Villeurbanne-Nord, and Villeurbanne-Sud|
|• Mayor (2001–2014)||Jean-Paul Bret (PS)|
|• Land1||14.52 km2 (5.61 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||9,600/km2 (25,000/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||69266 / 69100|
|Elevation||165–189 m (541–620 ft)
(avg. 181 m or 594 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The current location of downtown Villeurbanne is known to have been inhabited as far back as 6000 BC. Its current name comes from a Gallo-Roman farming area, established at about the same time as Lyon (then Lugdunum) and known as the Villa Urbana ("town house"). It would then become Urbanum, then Villa Urbane and, ultimately, Villeurbanne.
Villeurbanne has belonged to the kingdom of France since 1349. It was then separated from Lyon by the river La Rize, a former branch of the Rhône River.
Until the 19th century, the city was merely a patchwork of distinct villages separated by fields and undeveloped land. These villages have mostly survived, and nowadays form the neighborhoods of Charpennes, Cusset, Croix-Luizet, Maisons-Neuves, etc.
With the industrial era, Villeurbanne's economy soared: the textile industry was the first to bloom, followed by mechanical and chemical ones. The factories lured in numerous immigrants, most notably from Italy. Transforming from a rural community to an industrial town, Villeurbanne underwent a tremendous demographic boom in the late 1920s. From 3,000 inhabitants in 1928, its population rocketed to 82,000 in 1931. Mayor Lazare Goujon (elected 1924) engaged the city in a vast public works initiative. Arguably the most visible heritage of this program is the Gratte-Ciel, a housing complex made up of two Art Deco towers and annex smaller buildings, lining up along the Avenue Henri Barbusse. These structures are the work of architect Môrice Leroux, and one of the most notable Art Deco structures in France. Having undergone thorough renovation, the 19-story twin towers have become an emblem of the city.
Many colleges and universities of the Lyon metropolitan area are located in Villeurbanne. Many of these are located on the La Doua campus, home to the Claude Bernard University (Lyon I), CPE Lyon and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon.
Villeurbanne is well served by the Lyon area public transit system, the TCL (Transports en Commun Lyonnais). The east branch of subway line A runs through the city heart, and the new tramway line T1 connects the La Doua campus to the Lyon business and commercial district of La Part-Dieu and the Presqu'île downtown.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Villeurbanne is twinned with:
|From 1962, the number here is the population without double counting
Sources : Cassini-LDH of the EHESS and Insee 
In terms of number of inhabitants, the city of Villeurbanne is the second city of the Rhône department, the fourth city of the region Rhône-Alpes, the 27th city of France. It is also the biggest city of France to be only a chef-lieu of a canton and not to be a prefecture.
The list of notable native Villeurbannais includes:
- Mourad Benhamida, French footballer, 18 January 1986.
- Henri Cochet, French tennis player, 4 December 1901 († 1987).
- Florent Manaudou, French swimmer, 12 November 1990
- Laure Manaudou, French swimmer, world record holder, 9 October 1986.
- Gnonsiane Niombla, handball player
- Alexandra Tchangoue, basketball player
- Jean-Karl Vernay, French race car driver, 31 October 1987.
- Jose Vespasien, basketball player
- Embassy of France in Moscow
- "Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui" (in French). École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Recensement de la population au 1er janvier 2007" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
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