St Etienne,France The Story of Urban Renewal and Community Transformation


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Innovative & Sustainable Solutions: St Etienne Leads by Example

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: St Etienne, France

Innovation and Sustainability

Commitment to Sustainability

St Etienne is committed to sustainability by setting ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions and to promote green technology. The city has developed comprehensive plans focused on reducing its carbon footprint and improving air quality. These initiatives are aligned with the broader objectives of the Eurocities network, aiming to foster environmentally sustainable urban development.

Promotion of Green Technology

Innovation is at the core of St Etienne’s strategy, with a strong focus on green technology. The city invests in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and encourages the use of energy-efficient systems in buildings and transportation. St Etienne is also working to increase green spaces and promote biodiversity within urban areas.

Smart City Initiatives

Leveraging Technology for Urban Life Improvement

St Etienne leverages technology in various innovative ways to enhance urban living. From smart traffic management systems to digital platforms for citizen engagement, technology is a key enabler for improving the quality of life in the city. Key focus areas include cleaner waterways and enhanced healthcare services.

Official City Website:

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Smart water management system to monitor and improve water quality in rivers and lakes.
  • Implementation of digital health platforms to provide remote medical consultations and health monitoring.
  • Deployment of smart sensors for real-time traffic and air quality monitoring.
  • Development of an integrated public transport system with real-time updates and digital ticketing.

Cultural and Social Projects

Engagement in Cultural and Social Activities

St Etienne is deeply engaged in cultural and social projects that support its diverse population, including vulnerable groups. The city hosts numerous cultural events and festivals that celebrate local heritage and foster community spirit. Additionally, social initiatives are designed to improve the quality of life for all citizens, with special provisions for the elderly, refugees, and other vulnerable groups.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Annual International Design Biennial, promoting art and culture through exhibitions and workshops.
  • Social inclusion programs providing housing and employment support for refugees.
  • Community centers offering recreational activities and social support services for the elderly.
  • Educational programs focused on integrating marginalized communities and reducing social disparities.

Urban Planning and Development

Enhancing Livability through Urban Development

Urban planning in St Etienne is centered around enhancing livability while addressing climate change. The city has undertaken several significant development projects aimed at creating more livable, resilient urban areas. These projects often incorporate sustainable design principles, focusing on energy efficiency, green spaces, and climate adaptation.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Renovation of the city center with pedestrian-friendly zones and green spaces.
  • Development of sustainable housing projects utilizing eco-friendly building materials.
  • Revitalization of former industrial areas into mixed-use developments with public parks.
  • Implementation of climate-resilient infrastructure, such as rain gardens and permeable pavements, to manage stormwater.

Youth and Education

Creating Vibrant Environments for Young People

St Etienne is committed to creating vibrant and supportive environments for students and young professionals. The city offers a range of educational opportunities, from primary schools to higher education institutions, and encourages youth involvement in community and cultural activities. Initiatives are in place to support young entrepreneurs and foster innovation in various sectors.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Partnerships with local universities for research and innovation programs.
  • Youth entrepreneurship programs providing mentorship and funding opportunities.
  • Cultural exchange programs and internships to enhance global understanding and cooperation.
  • After-school programs focused on STEM education and creative arts.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Participation in the Eurocities network provides St Etienne with numerous benefits. It enables the city to exchange best practices with other European cities, access funding for innovation and sustainability projects, and leverage collective lobbying power to influence EU policies. Additionally, being part of this network helps St Etienne to continually enhance its urban strategies, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all its residents.

City Description: St. Etienne, France


St. Etienne is situated in the east-central part of France, within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is nestled in a valley with the nearby Loire River and surrounded by the lush Massif Central mountains. The city’s geographic position places it about 60 kilometers southwest of Lyon, another major urban center in the region.


St. Etienne has a population of approximately 173,000 residents. The demographic profile is diverse with a mix of age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and includes a significant student population due to the presence of several higher education institutions.

Economic Overview

St. Etienne’s economy is historically rooted in metallurgy, textiles, and manufacturing. Over the years, it has diversified into new sectors such as technology, education, and design. The city boasts a GDP of approximately €6 billion. Key industries include:

  • Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Textiles and Apparel
  • Information Technology and Digital Services
  • Healthcare and Biomedical Sector
  • Education and Research Institutions

Historical Significance

St. Etienne has a rich history dating back to the Roman era. In the 19th century, it became one of France’s leading industrial centers, particularly renowned for its coal mining and manufacture of arms and bicycles. The city played a significant role during both World Wars, contributing to the industrial and military efforts. Today, its historical legacy can be seen in its well-preserved architecture and cultural heritage sites.

Cultural Attractions

St. Etienne offers a variety of cultural institutions and attractions, including:

  • Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art: One of the foremost art museums in Europe, featuring works by Picasso, Warhol, and more.
  • La Cité du Design: A hub for design innovation and education, hosting numerous exhibitions and events.
  • Saint-Charles Borromeo Cathedral: A beautiful example of neoclassical architecture.
  • The Mine Museum: An interactive museum detailing the city’s mining history.
  • Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium: Home to the AS Saint-Étienne football club and a venue for major sporting events.

Education System

St. Etienne has a comprehensive education system:

  • Primary and Secondary Education: The city is served by numerous public and private schools, providing education from kindergarten through high school.
  • Higher Education: Key institutions include the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines (Engineering School), Université Jean Monnet, and several specialized technical institutes.

Transportation Infrastructure

St. Etienne boasts a well-developed transportation network:

  • Public Transit: The city is served by an extensive bus and tram system operated by STAS, ensuring efficient intra-city travel.
  • Airports: The nearest major airport is Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, located about an hour’s drive away, offering numerous international and domestic flights.
  • Rail and Road Connections: St. Etienne is well-connected to other cities via the high-speed TGV network and major highways such as the A72 and N88.

Urban Development Projects

Several significant urban development projects are underway to improve sustainability and quality of life:

  • Green Spaces Expansion: Projects to increase green areas, including parks and community gardens, are in progress.
  • Smart City Initiatives: Implementation of digital technologies to enhance urban living standards and services.
  • Renewable Energy Projects: Investments in solar and wind energy to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Environmental Initiatives

St. Etienne is committed to environmental sustainability through various efforts:

  • Recycling Programs: Extensive recycling and waste reduction programs in place for residents and businesses.
  • Green Transport: Promotion of cycling and electric vehicles, with numerous charging stations and bike lanes.
  • Energy Efficiency: Retrofitting older buildings and implementing energy-efficient technologies in new constructions.

Quality of Living

St. Etienne offers a high quality of living, characterized by:

  • Healthcare: Comprehensive healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical centers.
  • Safety: The city is generally safe with a low crime rate and effective law enforcement services.
  • Amenities: Ample cultural, recreational, and commercial amenities to ensure a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Quality of Life Indexes

St. Etienne ranks well in various quality of life assessments:

  • Livability Ranking: Regularly placed high in national and regional livability indexes due to its cultural offerings and environmental initiatives.
  • Health Index: Excellent healthcare services contribute to high health index scores.
  • Environmental Quality: The city scores well in terms of air quality, green spaces, and sustainability measures.

Mayor Profile: Gaël Perdriau


Gaël Perdriau

Current Position:

Mayor of Saint-Étienne, France

Political Affiliation:

Republican Party (Les Républicains)


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Law, University of Lyon
  • Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Governance, Sciences Po Lyon

Professional Background:

  • Deputy Mayor – Saint-Étienne: Oversaw urban development and public transportation (2008-2014)
  • Member of the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: Engaged in policy-making for regional development (2010-2014)
  • Private Sector Experience: Worked with local SMEs in strategic planning and business development (2000-2008)

Achievements as Mayor:

  • Sustainability Initiatives: Implemented a city-wide bike-sharing program and increased green spaces.
  • Urban Development: Spearheaded the revitalization of the downtown area, including the restoration of historical sites.
  • Technological Advancements: Launched a smart city project incorporating IoT solutions for traffic management and public safety.

Vision for the Future:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Plans to expand digital services and infrastructure, including intelligent street lighting and public Wi-Fi.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 through renewable energy projects and reduced emissions.
  • Community Engagement: Focuses on fostering community participation in local governance and increasing transparency through town hall meetings and digital platforms.

Personal Life:

  • Hobbies and Interests: Avid cyclist and nature enthusiast, enjoys hiking in the Loire region.
  • Personal Commitments: Actively participates in local environmental cleanup drives and supports community gardening projects.

Awards and Honors:

  • Legion of Honor for Public Service (2020)
  • Urban Innovator Award, Smart Cities Expo (2019)
  • Green City Leadership Award (2018)

St Etienne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

St Etienne, part of the Eurocities network, offers an appealing balance of affordability, sustainability, and high quality of life. This article provides an in-depth look at various aspects of life in St Etienne, including its safety, healthcare, cleanliness, transportation, education, and cost of living—using data from Numbeo.

Quality of Life


St Etienne enjoys a favorable safety index of 61.62. This ensures that residents feel secure and confident as they go about their daily lives. The city’s safety measures and community-focused policing have helped maintain this positive environment.


The city’s healthcare quality index stands at 64.71. St Etienne provides accessible and efficient medical services for its residents. Public hospitals, private clinics, and specialized medical centers ensure comprehensive healthcare is available to all.


With a moderate pollution index of 38.83, St Etienne is focused on maintaining a clean and healthy environment. Efforts to reduce pollution and enhance urban cleanliness contribute to the overall well-being of its residents.


St Etienne’s transportation index of 37.76 reflects an efficient and well-organized public transportation system. The city offers a variety of transportation options including buses, trams, and well-maintained biking and walking infrastructure, promoting sustainable mobility.


St Etienne is home to notable educational institutions such as Jean Monnet University and Mines Saint-Étienne. These institutions are renowned for their high-quality educational programs, research facilities, and contributions to innovation and development within the region.

Cost of Living


The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately €397.32 per month, making St Etienne an affordable place to live. This reasonable housing cost attracts individuals and families looking for a budget-friendly living environment.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person average around €200.90. This includes essential items suitable for a balanced and healthy diet.
  • The average cost of dining out at a mid-range restaurant is about €15 per meal, offering residents a variety of affordable dining options.


Monthly utility costs for an 85m² apartment typically run around €151.61. This includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage disposal, providing residents with essential services at a manageable cost.


  • The cost of a monthly public transport pass is a reasonable €45.40, allowing unlimited access to the city’s extensive public transportation network.


  • A monthly membership fee for a fitness club averages €26.67, ensuring residents can stay active and healthy without breaking the bank.
  • A cinema ticket is approximately €9.50, providing affordable entertainment options for residents and visitors alike.

In summary, St Etienne, France, offers a high standard of living without the high price tag. With its combination of affordability, quality services, and an array of amenities, the city is an attractive destination for anyone looking to enjoy a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle. This analysis, based on data from Numbeo, underscores the city’s commitment to ensuring a balanced and rewarding living experience for all its residents.

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