However, Europe was very attached to its history and heritage and scorned radical solutions in favor of "new towns".
These were compromises in the shape of satellite towns designed to restore balance to the land. Unfortunately, they were also victims of their own success, and eventually lost their autonomy, swallowed by urban sprawl creeping over the buffer zones that had separated them from the metropolis. Paris, for instance, was surrounded by Sénart, Evry, Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Cergy-Pontoise and Marne la Vallée, creating a megalopolis home to 12 million people.
40 years later, the authorities revised the plans to explore the possibility of a "Grand Paris" or "Greater Paris".
The decision to build new towns around Paris (as well as around Lyons, Lille, Marseilles and Rouen) was seen as a solution to the problem of demographic growth in the Paris area in the sixties. Expansion involved two main thrusts: construction of major developments, with their gaggle of related social problems, and the expansion of uniform suburbs featuring low-level housing, taking up more space and increasing journey times. Hence the government's decision to opt for a "polycentrist" approach, which involved developing independent bodies with their own set of housing and activities, along with a separate center for administration and business, and a range of public services.
Between 1968 and 2000, the population of the 58 communes making up the five new towns in the Paris region rose from 170,000 to 750,000 people, characterized by a significantly younger and more active population than in the rest of the region.