Country Introduction

France is a decentralised unitary state.
The State owns the legislative monopoly. There are three sub-state levels called ‘local’ territorial authorities:

  • regions (22 in France plus 4 in overseas),
  • départements (96 plus 4),
  • municipalities (36,553 plus 212).

The State is represented by prefectures (préfectures) on the local level which are directly under the authority of the state ministries.


Relevant Policies 

Spatial planning and sustainable development policy in France (18/02/2009) 
The brochure below is intended to be both descriptive and instructive. It starts by presenting the main spatial lanning players and describes their action within the context of the new objectives that were set at the end of 2002. France must strive to make itself economically attractive and competitive in order to develop its economy and create more jobs. But it must also ensure genuine national solidarity for the benefit of its disadvantaged regions.

This brochure then goes on to describe the policies aimed at achieving these objectives. Some of them focus on a particular sector, such as transportation, information and communication technology development, Competitiveness Clusters, etc., while other policies focus on particular types of environments, such as rural areas, cities, mountainous areas or coastal regions. The final section deals with the crosscutting priority of sustainable development and two emblematic tools of spatial planning in France: the contractual approach and the planning process.

Click to download:  spatial planning and sustainable development policy in france  (Ministére des Affaires Etrangéres , 1,1 mb )