UTOPIES assists Paris La Défense in defining its raison d’être, a strategic direction capable of supporting the long-term ecological transformation of the region, and of changing the role of the public institution by reexamining its competencies and organization.

An emblematic district and spearhead of the French economy, La Défense remains a destination of choice for large companies. This attractiveness, however, no longer guarantees that the district’s orientations are in line with the aspirations of a larger part of society and the economic world: the effects of climate change, the emergence of new economic sectors, and the evolution of work patterns are societal changes that have a profound impact on the institution’s activities.

As both developer and manager, Paris La Défense is now obliged to fight a battle that places the district, once again, at the forefront of society and to propose a vision that is “worthy” of its towers.

In this way, the raison d’être lays the foundations for a new narrative and a new imaginary of the future of the district, not only of its planning, but also of its lifestyles and its collective dynamics.


The approach was to:

  • Build an integrated diagnosis of the dynamics underway in the La Défense area through a documentary study, 30 interviews, an internal consultation with 150 respondents and a review of inspiring practices presenting 12 innovative initiatives from 4 continents.
  • Activate a group of 15 internal ambassadors who participated in defining the purpose.
  • Imagining the neighborhood of tomorrow, through a series of fictional writing workshops on the borderline between science fiction and urban foresight, involving 29 employees of the institution, a futurist and 3 science fiction authors.
  • To land the diagnostic reflections through a phase of co-construction allowing to formalize the raison d’être and to define, in connection with the teams of the establishment, the axes of commitments during 3 collaborative workshops.
  • To support the choice of LDP commitment and its concrete translation into action lines for the years to come.
  • Support the external communication of the institution’s purpose (manifesto, signature)


In October 2021, Paris La Défense publicly communicated its raison d’être, committing itself to experimenting and making possible new ways of living, working and building the city – and thus becoming the first post-carbon business district of global dimension.

This rationale is reflected first of all in the cross-cutting commitment to halve territorial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, thus anticipating the national objective of reducing GHG emissions by 40% by 2030.

In 2022 PLD will publish an associated action plan, built around four pillars:

  1. Building in a post-carbon world
  2. Living together in a post-carbon world
  3. Starting the post-carbon movement
  4. Involving stakeholders

The first publicly announced commitments include:

  • Launch of a call for innovative urban projects
  • Systematic evaluation of the social and environmental impact of projects
  • The launch of the first low-carbon buildings
  • Opening the territory to ecological mobility
  • The organization of the first “Etats Généraux de la transformation des tours
  • The launch of the “Paris La Défense Can B” program, aimed at encouraging local companies to join the B Corp impact business movement.


And to learn more, download the new PLD purpose and action plan booklet here