A step-by-step approach

A vast 150-hectare site located at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers in the heart of Lyon, for many years life in La Confluence revolved around industry and its river port. Then structural and geographical transformation in the area freed up strategic space that could be reclaimed.


the confluence, lyon, sky, view, confluence

La Confluence's urban redevelopment has one single objective: to build a smart and sustainable city. The challenge is balancing environmental requirements with the anticipated needs of future users. SPL Lyon Confluence ruled out a purely technical and regulatory approach, by deciding to make quality of life a priority for the project. Ever since the urban development project was launched, it has therefore sought to create a simple, innovative and creative city, by encouraging human-powered transport and limiting environmental impact. Making the city accessible to all means strong links must be forged between existing and new structures, and sharing has to be encouraged.

The project is divided into four sections: The Phase 1 mixed development zone (or ZAC in French), the Saone Embankments by the river, Phase 2 mixed development zone (or ZAC) and the Perrache - Sainte Blandine area by the Rhone river.

The project has made strong commitments

  • To implement a mixed and varied set of construction programmes (social and functional diversity) 
  • To enhance the Saone and Rhone rivers and the quality of their landscapes
  • To create an extensive green infrastructure and a network of parks 
  • To develop public transport and a walkable city
  • To ensure high quality urban blending with the existing Perrache - Sainte-Blandine neighbourhood
  • To increase the number of connections with the surrounding urban neighbourhoods (Lyon's Gerland, Presqu’île, and 5th district)
  • To encourage environmental and architectural technical innovation
  • To transform the motorway into a peaceful urban boulevard


















34 %
social housing when complete

54 %
of surface area dedicated to the service industry in Phase 2



Why two phases or two ZACs?

confluence, lyon, cartography, phases, concessions

A mixed development zone or ZAC (zone d'aménagement concertée) is defined by French planning regulations as a "zone within which a public body, or public institution established for that purpose, decides to intervene in order to redevelop or commission the redevelopment of an area and the provision of facilities in that area, notably in areas acquired by the body or institution with a view to later selling them on or granting them to public or private users."

To launch the Lyon Confluence project and to construct and renovate the buildings and facilities, Greater Lyon chose to divide the project into two phases or two mixed development zones (or ZACs). Phase 1 was established on the Saone river side of the area in 2003 and Phase 2 was created on the Rhone side in 2012. By dividing the project in space and time, it was possible to focus energy and actions on a defined section of land, and thereby avoid overly-dispersing projects and investments.
The goal was to ensure redevelopment was coherent in order to:

  • welcome new residents and employees to an environment complete with shops, services and local facilities 
  • to ensure the redevelopment of each sector went ahead rapidly, so that users would not spend excessive amounts of time in building site environments 
  • to ensure future operations would benefit from the feedback and experience from those already deployed.