Marseille,France The Story of Urban Renewal and Community Transformation


Robert Eduard Antal » Eurocities Nominees 2024 » Marseille Focuses on Urban Planning and Development

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Spotlight on Marseille, France

Innovation and Sustainability

Marseille, as a member of the Eurocities network, is deeply committed to sustainability and innovation. The city’s goals include a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and the promotion of green technologies. Strategies are implemented to achieve energy efficiency and to support renewable energy sources, making Marseille a leading example of environmentally responsible urban management.

Smart City Initiatives

Marseille leverages advanced technology to enhance the quality of urban life. These smart city initiatives focus on improving public services, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing the overall livability of the city. Key areas include the cleaning of waterways and the enhancement of healthcare services using cutting-edge technologies.

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Implementation of smart grids for efficient energy distribution.
  • Smart public transportation systems that offer real-time updates and reduce congestion.
  • Advanced waste management systems using IoT to optimize collection routes.
  • Integration of telemedicine services to improve healthcare access.

Cultural and Social Projects

Marseille actively engages in cultural and social projects aimed at fostering community spirit and supporting vulnerable groups. The city promotes cultural diversity, social inclusion, and works towards creating a more equitable society for all its residents.

Official City Website:

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Hosting cultural festivals and events celebrating the city’s diverse heritage.
  • Programs offering support and resources to refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Initiatives targeting the reduction of social inequalities, including housing support and food distribution.
  • Creating inclusive spaces for sports and recreation accessible to all community members.

Urban Planning and Development

Significant urban development projects in Marseille focus on enhancing livability and addressing climate change. The city’s urban planning strategies aim at creating sustainable, resilient infrastructure while promoting economic growth and improving the quality of life for its citizens.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Redevelopment of the waterfront area to include green spaces and public amenities.
  • Construction of eco-friendly residential zones with emphasis on energy-efficient buildings.
  • Expansion of public transportation networks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles.
  • Development of green corridors to enhance biodiversity within the urban environment.

Youth and Education

Marseille is dedicated to creating a thriving environment for students and young professionals. The city implements various programs and initiatives designed to support youth education, professional development, and to ensure young residents have access to opportunities for growth and achievement.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Partnerships with local universities to foster research and innovation.
  • Vocational training programs aimed at equipping young people with practical skills.
  • Mentorship and internship opportunities with local businesses and startups.
  • Community projects designed to engage young citizens in civic activities and volunteer work.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Participating in the Eurocities network offers Marseille numerous benefits. The city gains access to a broad platform for sharing knowledge and best practices with other European cities. It enables Marseille to collaborate on large-scale projects, attract funding for innovative initiatives, and influence policy at a European level. Moreover, the network fosters a sense of solidarity and collective effort towards building resilient, sustainable urban environments across Europe.

City Name: Marseille


Marseille is located in the southeastern region of France, along the Mediterranean coast. It is the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The city boasts a strategic position with a natural harbor, as well as proximity to notable geographic features such as the Calanques, a series of rocky inlets that stretch along the coast.


Marseille has a population of approximately 870,000 residents, making it the second-largest city in France after Paris. The city is known for its diverse demographic composition, with a mix of cultural and ethnic communities, including significant North African, Italian, and Armenian populations.

Economic Overview

Marseille’s economy is driven by several key industries, including maritime trade, manufacturing, and tourism. The Port of Marseille is one of the largest and busiest in Europe, playing a crucial role in international trade and logistics. The city’s GDP is bolstered by its strong industrial base, particularly in sectors such as petrochemicals, aerospace, and technology.

Historical Significance

Founded around 600 BC by Greek settlers from Phocaea, Marseille is one of the oldest cities in France. It has a rich history marked by periods of Roman conquest, medieval development, and significant growth during the Renaissance and industrial eras. Key historical events include its role as a major port during the Roman Empire and its resistance and liberation during World War II.

Cultural Attractions

  • MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations): A prominent cultural institution that explores the history and cultures of the Mediterranean region.
  • Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde: A stunning Catholic basilica that offers panoramic views of the city.
  • Le Panier: The oldest district in Marseille, known for its narrow streets, historic buildings, and vibrant arts scene.
  • Vieux-Port (Old Port): The historic heart of the city, lined with cafes, restaurants, and markets, and a hub for maritime activities.

Education System

Marseille offers a comprehensive education system that includes a range of primary, secondary, and higher education institutions. The city is home to Aix-Marseille University, one of the largest universities in France, which offers a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Additionally, several international schools cater to the expatriate community.

Transportation Infrastructure

Marseille boasts an extensive transportation network that includes buses, trams, and a metro system, making it easy to navigate the city. The Marseille Provence Airport provides domestic and international flights. The city is well-connected to other major cities through high-speed TGV trains, as well as an extensive highway system.

Urban Development Projects

Marseille has undertaken several significant urban development projects aimed at enhancing sustainability and quality of life. Notable initiatives include the Euroméditerranée project, which focuses on urban renewal and the development of eco-friendly neighborhoods. The redevelopment of the Vieux-Port area has also improved the aesthetic and functional aspects of the city’s waterfront.

Environmental Initiatives

Marseille is committed to environmental sustainability through various initiatives, such as expanding green spaces, promoting public transportation, and supporting renewable energy projects. The city has implemented measures to reduce air pollution and waste, and it actively participates in regional and international environmental programs.

Quality of Living

Marseille offers a high quality of living with access to excellent healthcare facilities, including major hospitals and specialized clinics. The city is generally safe, with ongoing efforts to enhance public safety. Residents enjoy a vibrant cultural scene, diverse culinary options, and numerous recreational activities, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Mediterranean coastline.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Marseille often ranks favorably in livability indexes due to its mild climate, cultural attractions, and robust public services.
  • Health Index: The city has a high health index, reflecting the quality and accessibility of its healthcare system.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Marseille is actively working to improve its environmental quality score through various green initiatives and sustainable practices.

Profile of Mayor Benoît Payan


Benoît Payan

Current Position

Mayor of Marseille, France

Political Affiliation

Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste)


  • Master’s Degree in Public Law, University of Aix-Marseille
  • Graduate of the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Aix-en-Provence

Professional Background

  • Deputy Mayor of Marseille, in charge of urban planning and city projects
  • Director of Cabinet for the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council
  • Founder and partner at a private law firm specializing in public law and urban development

Achievements as Mayor

  • Sustainability: Initiated the “Marseille Green City” project, focusing on increasing green spaces, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting renewable energy.

  • Urban Development: Launched the “Reinventing Marseille” initiative, revitalizing historical neighborhoods and modernizing public infrastructure.

  • Technological Advancements: Implemented smart city technologies, including enhanced public Wi-Fi, smart traffic management systems, and digital public services.

Vision for the Future

Benoît Payan aims to transform Marseille into a leading example of a smart, sustainable, and inclusive city. His key goals include:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Expand digital infrastructure and integrate IoT solutions to improve public services and urban management.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Advance the city’s commitment to climate action by increasing energy efficiency in buildings, promoting electric vehicles, and expanding urban greenery.
  • Community Engagement: Foster a stronger sense of community through participatory governance, encouraging residents to take an active role in decision-making processes.

Personal Life

Benoît Payan is known for his passion for environmental issues and often participates in local clean-up drives and conservation projects. He enjoys hiking in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and is an avid reader of historical and political literature. He is also actively involved in mentoring young leaders and supporting local civic organizations.

Awards and Honors

  • Green Leadership Award, for his initiatives in urban sustainability (2022)
  • Innovative Governance Award, for implementing smart city technologies (2021)
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Medal of Honor, for outstanding public service (2019)

Marseille: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Quality of Life

Marseille, the oldest city in France, boasts a mosaic of vibrant cultures that significantly enhances its quality of life. As a testament to its multifaceted appeal, the city offers a blend of historical richness, modern amenities, and a lively cultural scene.


Marseille has a Safety Index of 39.93, which implies that while there are occasional safety concerns, they are generally manageable with typical precautions. The local authorities are continually working to improve safety measures and ensure the well-being of residents and visitors alike.


The city’s healthcare services are highly regarded, with a Quality Index of 78.53. These services include a range of facilities from primary care to specialized treatments, making healthcare accessible and efficient for all citizens.


Marseille’s Pollution Index stands at 58.95. While some improvement is needed concerning air and water quality, the city authorities are actively promoting initiatives to foster a cleaner and more sustainable environment.


With a Transportation Index of 57.71, Marseille features a well-integrated public transit system that includes a metro, tramways, and an extensive network of buses. This efficient system ensures easy and affordable mobility across the city.


Marseille is home to several esteemed educational institutions, notably Aix-Marseille University. The quality of education here is considered excellent, offering a wide range of programs and fostering a robust academic environment that attracts students from around the globe.

Cost of Living

Marseille is known for its relatively affordable cost of living, especially when compared to other major European cities. Below, we break down the primary expenses for residents.


The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately €650 per month. This cost is quite reasonable considering the amenities and lifestyle offered in the heart of the city.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person: approximately €300
  • Average cost of dining out at an inexpensive restaurant: around €13 per meal


The monthly cost for basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for an 85m² apartment typically amounts to around €141.87. This includes costs for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage services.


A monthly pass for public transportation costs about €50.10, offering residents unlimited access to the metro, tramways, and bus networks. This makes it an economical choice for daily commuting.


  • Monthly fee for a fitness club: approximately €32.45
  • Cinema ticket: roughly €10

Marseille in the Eurocities Network

As a member of the Eurocities network, Marseille plays a crucial role in fostering cross-border collaborations. This membership allows the city to engage in cultural exchanges and economic development initiatives with other major European cities, ultimately enhancing its sustainability and quality of life for residents.

In summary, Marseille combines a rich historical heritage with modern conveniences, making it a compelling place to live. The city’s reasonable cost of living and strong community spirit also contribute significantly to its appeal. Data sourced from Numbeo highlights Marseille as a city with a decent quality of life, efficient healthcare, and vibrant educational opportunities, all within a manageable budget.

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