Regional Development: Revised Thinking
The narrow, steep-sided valley of the Gier links the old manufacturing centre of St Etienne to the Rhône valley. Strung out along this corridor are a series of industrial towns whose rapid growth and prosperity originated with the Industrial Revolution. Local coal provided the basis for an important metallurgical industry. Today many of the factories are still there, dominating the valley floor, but the majority are closed, their continued presence acting merely as a forlorn reminder of a more glorious industrial past. Similarly, the once thriving communities, dependent on the metal and engineering works, have lost their vitality. The densely packed rows of houses have an increasingly outworn appearance, despite attempts to refurbish properties and provide new amenities. Here is an area where nearly 14 per cent of the workforce is unemployed and where those who can, leave to seek jobs elsewhere. Although the valley is served by a motorway and regular train services to Lyon, and qualifies for maximum grants under the government’s regional aid policy, there have been few takers for the empty factories or vacant sites. The Gier valley portrays a grey and depressing picture of industrial decline.
KeywordsRegional Development Regional Policy Paris Region Shipbuilding Industry Conversion Pole
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