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Old July 16th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #21
brisavoine
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Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, is known the world over for its pepper and its former penal settlement, but the once sleepy French tropical backwater has now become a booming city due to high birth and immigration from neighboring countries (the GDP per capita of French Guiana was US$16,030 in 2004 according to Eurostat, higher than any other Latin American country, more than 3 times higher than Brazil for example). The city and its suburbs together have approximately 110,000 inhabitants at the moment, but if INSEE projections are any guide, Cayenne should have between 200,000 and 300,000 inhabitants by 2030. This would then make it the largest French overseas city. As always, only time will tell.

First, a few views of Cayenne. Bear in mind that the extreme tropical weather is saturated with humidity (close to 100% humidity in the air), so the facades of any freshly refurbished building corrode extremely quickly, which explains why some buildings look shabby on the pictures, even though they are not really shabby. Just paint and metal corrosion.

The city center is located between the ocean and some small coastal mountains, the only coastal mountains to be found between the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers (the coasts of Guyana, Suriname and Amapa are completely flat):


Tropical clouds about to burst over central Cayenne:
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View of the city and some suburbs from afar:
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Central square:




Cayenne city hall:


Mural on Avenue Charles de Gaulle:
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Old creole houses in the city center:


The extreme tropical weather is taking its toll. That's what happens when landlords do not renovate the facades for several years:


The municipality has launched a project to refurbish all the old creole houses of the city center:




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Committee of Jacques Chirac's friends!
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A 1970s suburb of Cayenne. It feels almost like a suburb of Paris.


Cayenne is lucky to have some of the only beaches between the Amazon and the Orinoco (almost the entire coast between these two mighty rivers is swampland and mangrove):


The freestyle French swimmer Malia Metella, Olympic silver medalist, at a beach in the suburbs of Cayenne:


At the beach in Cayenne.


Beaches in a southern suburb of Cayenne. Who would have thought the penal settlement of Cayenne was such a paradise?
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Last edited by brisavoine; July 16th, 2007 at 07:58 PM.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #22
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The need to accommodate a booming population means there are lots of urban projects and constructions going on in Cayenne at the moment. From hospitals (Cayenne hospital has the most births of any French hospitals), to schools, to police stations, it's a tropical SimCity in the making if you will.

An interesting project is the creation of a university campus. So far French Guiana doesn't have its own university, it is attached to the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane based in the French Caribbean, but the booming population has made it necessary to open a university campus in French Guiana. The campus is an ambitious project, part of France's goal to increase its presence in South America. A bridge on the Oyapock River between French Guiana and Brazil due to be completed in 2008 will open the first land route between Brazil and France. France has an active policy of cooperation with Brazil, and the Cayenne university campus is intended as a francophone "center of excellence" in South America, attracting international students from Brazil and other Latin American countries who will be offered French higher education at a cheaper cost than if they had to go all the way to Metropolitan France. The campus will also train South American teachers of French, part of the Francophonie Organization efforts to expand the French language in South America.

The Cayenne university campus is already twinned with the University of Brasilia and is promoting itself in the university fairs of Sao Paulo, Rio, and Recife. You can find more about the campus here: http://www.poluniv-guyane.fr/index.php

Here are some maps and renderings of the future campus. Work has already started. It will be located very near the beaches I showed above.

The banner says "A site of excellence between Europe and South America":








Buildings with student services (cafeteria, health center, student associations, etc.):




The building where French teachers will be trained:




University student classrooms:








Work under way. Construction of the campus was officially started Tuesday last week (July 10, 2007) at a ceremony with officials and academics.



Last edited by brisavoine; August 29th, 2007 at 05:56 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 09:33 AM   #23
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thanks for those new posts, brisavoine

did not know anything about this city
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Old March 26th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #24
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It was revealed last week that Nouméa (160,000 inhabitants), the capital of New Caledonia, will have its first high rise building. The tower, due to be built in the new Ducos business district to the north of downtown Nouméa, will be 50 meters (165 ft) high and will have 19 floors. It's still a rather modest tower, but you got to start somewhere. Will Nouméa someday ressemble Auckland? The city is currently booming, and the population is expected to rise to about 400,000 inhabitants by 2050, which is about the size of Wellington, NZ.

Satellite view of Nouméa showing the Ducos area:



Screenshots of the tower:









Larger view of the Ducos projects:



The beach districts:





Nouméa is built on hills like San Francisco. It's probably the most scenic French city. A skyscraper district in the middle of this scenic city would look fantastic, but it will probably take a century before that happens.




Last edited by brisavoine; March 26th, 2008 at 06:22 PM.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 03:23 AM   #25
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An article about urban development in Nouméa, New Caledonia, published yesterday in the French reference newspaper Le Monde. I'm only translating the three first paragraphs (translation notes between square brackets).

Quote:
North of Nouméa, a city is being born to absorb the island's growth

Le Monde
March 29, 2008

On the northern outskirts of Nouméa, on a hilly land covering 600 hectares [1,500 acres] and whose indented coastline forms two headlands jutting out into the Coral Sea, a 25,000 to 30,000 people city is going to appear. The ZAC [under French law, ZACs are development zones in partnership between private developers and public authorities] of Dumbéa-sur-Mer [i.e. Dumbéa-upon-Sea] is one of the largest development zones in France at the moment.

Far from the gloomy economic climate of Metropolitan France, New Caledonia is experiencing an incredible economic boom, with growth superior to 4.5% a year. Boosted by high nickel prices, the archipellago of New Caledonia, which possesses a quarter of the world's known reserves of nickel ore, is being completely transformed by gigantic projects reaching the limits of the territory's capacity.

One of the consequences of this sparkling growth is the increasing population pressure on Nouméa and its suburbs, the only urban area on the Rock [the Rock, le Caillou in French, is the affectionate nickname of New Caledonia]. Real estate prices are skyrocketing and about 30,000 people are waiting for social housing, two-third of whom live in sheds on the outskirts of the capital.

The rest of the article for those who can read French: http://www.lemonde.fr/aujourd-hui/ar...8796_3238.html
(in a nutshell: Dumbéa-sur-Mer will cost 252 million euros to develop, excluding the actual building of houses and apartment blocks by private developers, but the project is expected to bring 1.6 billion euros to the economy of New Caledonia; 6,000 dwellings will be built, half of which social housing, along with two high schools, six primary schools, one gymnasium, several stores, and a large public hospital and Pasteur Institute research center housed along the sea in the largest building ever built in New Caledonia; environmental associations have successfully lobbied to preserve 20 hectares of the mangrove and patches of the original forest of New Caledonia; local feuds between the New Caledonian branch of the UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy's party, and a local New Caledonian center-right party which seceded from the UMP could slow the development project)
Using the previous satellite map I have indicated what I believe are the two headlands of the future district of Dumbéa-sur-Mer mentioned in the article:


Last edited by brisavoine; March 31st, 2008 at 03:41 AM.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 05:31 AM   #26
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Nice, I've a question, are those islands actually counted as part of the French territory? or just mainland France's territory the only one that counts?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 06:35 AM   #27
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It surprises me that so few Frenchmen live in Guyane.

According to Wiki the population is around 200,000.

The population of Puerto Rico is 4,000,000, and Guyane is at least four times larger (the percapita income is about the same).

Why aren't thousands of Frenchmen moving to such a tropical paradise? It could be the 'Quebec' of South America (without the political problems).
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Old March 31st, 2008, 10:24 AM   #28
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They are a demographic boom, if you look on "wiki France", you will see that there were only 115 000 inhabitants in 1990, 220 000 today and there would be 400 000 in 2030.
But the Guyana is first of all a zone of dense forest where alone some cities exist.



The economic boom is due to the aerospace with the installation of the European Space Agency and the site of launching of Ariane in the middle of 1970's. And now Services and public equipments are progressively accomplished.

Cayenne, the first city of Guyana counts 70 000 inhabitants, but only 40000 in 1990 and 50000 in 2000.

Kourou, the implantion's city of the ESA had 1000 inhabitants in 1970 and 20 000 today.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 11:52 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbart089 View Post
Nice, I've a question, are those islands actually counted as part of the French territory? or just mainland France's territory the only one that counts?
All these islands are part of France, and their inhabitants are French citizens, with French passports; they vote in French and European elections, and send representatives to the French parliament. Legally speaking, there's a difference between the overseas departments (such as French Guiana and Réunion), which have the same legal status as Metropolitan France (the European part of France), and the overseas collectivities (such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia) which have more autonomy and are not part of the EU (although they vote in European elections, go figure!). So broadly speaking the overseas departments have a status somewhat similar to the Canary Islands with respect to Spain, whereas the overseas collectivities have a status somewhat similar to the Faroe Islands with respect to Denmark.
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Originally Posted by josean figueroa View Post
It surprises me that so few Frenchmen live in Guyane.

Why aren't thousands of Frenchmen moving to such a tropical paradise?
The climate of French Guiana is not really paradise. Humidity in the air is close to 100%, and temperatures close to 30 degress celsius (90F), so just imagine how hot and sultry that is. Bit like Louisiana on a hot and humid summerday, except all year long. The French government tried several times to send settlers to French Guiana in the past (in the 17th century, in the 19th century), but it always failed due to the harsh climate and yellow fever. If you want paradise try New Caledonia or Réunion where temperatures are alway balmy but never too hot (like 25-28 degrees), and humidity in the air is not too high.

The second reason why not more Frenchman live in French Guiana, beside the climate, is because French Guiana was for a long time a penal settlement, so it had and still has kept somehow a bad reputation in France. People think of it as Hell on Earth, a place with jungles, horrible insects, etc.

Finally, there is the economy. The economy of French Guiana is not very developped, so it's hard to attract lots of newcomers from Metropolitan France. And the French are not really entrepreneurs (despite having coined the word), so don't expect tens of thousands of French people moving to the new frontier of French Guiana with a mind to create new businesses or exploit the untapped potential of French Guiana. The good side of this is it has spared French Guiana the ravages of industrialisation and urbanization, thus preserving the rain forest, which is one of the best preserved parts of the Amazonian jungle, despite the illegal Brazilian gold diggers. Now that biodiversity is being hailed worldwide as a great asset, French Guiana has discovered that it has a huge asset with its preserved biodiversity.
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Originally Posted by dougfr69 View Post
Cayenne, the first city of Guyana counts 70 000 inhabitants, but only 40000 in 1990 and 50000 in 2000.
Actually Cayenne has more like 100,000 people in its urban area (which includes Remire-Montjolly and Matoury). It had 84,181 inhabitants in 1999, and 62,920 in 1990.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 11:58 AM   #30
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I have a friend who decided to go to French Guiana for his first job. He had previously studied and made some internships in different places around the world (Texas, England, Africa). He was looking for some kind of adventure and new experience in Guiana. After one year in Cayenne, he came back to Paris because he could not stand the place anymore: harsh climate, social and racial tensions, isolation, etc. French Guiana is not really a paradise despite its tropical location!
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Old March 31st, 2008, 12:58 PM   #31
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Here is more information from Le Monde about the public hospital and Pasteur Institute research center which is going to be built in the new district of Dumbéa-sur-Mer, north of Nouméa, New Caledonia. The whole complex will be known as the Médipôle de Koutio, i.e. the "medic pole", or "medical complex" of Koutio. I'm translating the whole article.
Quote:
A Médipôle with Pacific touch

Le Monde
March 29, 2008

In the heart of the ZAC of Dumbéa-sur-Mer, in the end of 2012, will stand the Médipôle of Koutio. Meant as a replacement for the ageing Gaston-Bourret hospital of Nouméa, this 30 billion pacific francs (252 million euros) complex will be the largest building ever built on the territory with 100,000 m² [1.1 million sq. ft] of floor space. On a magnificent site along the sea it will comprise a 608-bed hospital, the Pasteur Institute, and the New Caledonian Cancer Centre.

The Metropolitan French firm Michel Beauvais & Partners, winner of the architectural competition, designed a building strongly inspired by the New Caledonian context whose climate, culture and local plants have guided the architects.

"We wanted to design a hospital reflecting the serenity of the Oceanian lifestyle. It's a multi-unit structure built on a horizontal level, with lots of greenery", explains Ollivier Dalla Vechia, from the Archipel firm, the local partner of Mr. Beauvais.

Shafts of light

Symbolizing a beach, a large esplanade planted with palm trees will lead to the "Grand Fare" (fare means house in Polynesian). This 700 m² [7,500 sq. ft] reception area, ventilated and with high ceiling, will be the "interface between the city and the Médipôle". Beyond the Grand Fare, a so-called Crossing Garden [Jardin des traversées] will be the backbone of the Médipôle, with the hospital buildings on each side of it: operating blocks, emergency rooms, and three units for consultation and hospitalization (mother-child, surgery and medicine).

Within each building, a patio will provide a shaft of light and an island of greenery reflecting the rich flora of New Caledonia. The Crossing Garden, organized in various "theme parks", will contain the symbolic plants or those used in traditional Kanak medicine [the Kanaks are the native Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia, now making up 45% of the population].

In Oceania, where families extend to the clan or tribe, the hospital draws many visitors. Two-third of patient rooms at the Médipôle will have terraces, while in the many shaded areas people will be able to spread mats on the floor.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 02:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good View Post
I have a friend who decided to go to French Guiana for his first job..... After one year in Cayenne, he came back to Paris because he could not stand the place anymore: harsh climate, social and racial tensions, isolation, etc.
Many people have the same experience when moving to the U.S. or Europe. Harsh climate, social and racial tensions sounds a lot like contemporary Paris.

I think France has been missing an opportunity to have a significant presence in South America.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 04:18 PM   #33
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@josean figueroa: I am not criticizing South American countries as a whole. Actually, I lived in Mexico and Brazil for one year and loved my stay there. What I can tell you, is that the situation in Cayenne is very different from the one in other South American cities.
The climate is really difficult, even for someone used to tropical conditions. Temperature and humidity are extreme (it has nothing to do with the climate in Mexico City or Rio for instance). Social and racial tensions exist everywhere, but in Cayenne they are reinforced by the difference between the French from the "métropole" (in Europe) and the rest of the population (French Guiana natives or foreigners). Moreover Cayenne is a small town, with few amenities compared to other cities in Latin America. Finally, it's very isolated. You need to take the plane if you want to escape the town for few days at least.
I repeat myself, I have lived and stayed in numerous Latin American cities (Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, etc.) and they are not comparable to Cayenne. So I am not saying all these cities are bad, on the contrary.

PS. I can assure you that Paris and Cayenne are actually very, very different places to live
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Old March 31st, 2008, 05:05 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good View Post
What I can tell you, is that the situation in Cayenne is very different from the one in other South American cities.
Yes, the situation is very different from other South American cities: Cayenne has a lower crime rate than most South American cities. Let's try to keep things in perspective, Good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Good View Post
Temperature and humidity are extreme (it has nothing to do with the climate in Mexico City or Rio for instance).
It has nothing to do with Mexico City, but it is quite similar to a particularly humid summerday in Rio. Compared to San Juan, the climate in Cayenne is definitely more humid than in San Juan. Just take the most humid day in the year in San Juan, when your clothes stick and you're literally dripping, and that's Cayenne everyday. Cayenne weather is quite similar to Singapore, for those who know, with same humidity in the air, and temperatures about 2 degrees celsius cooler than in Singapore.
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Moreover Cayenne is a small town, with few amenities compared to other cities in Latin America.
It doesn't have the cultural life of larger Latin American cities, but it has all the modern amenities that many Latin American cities lack, thanks to the French State. In Cayenne you get the French health systen, French police, the French legal system, etc., which is far better than the crumbling health system and corrupted police and justice found in many Latin American countries.
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Originally Posted by Good View Post
Finally, it's very isolated. You need to take the plane if you want to escape the town for few days at least.
You exagerate a bit. It's possible to drive by car from Cayenne to Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. When the bridge on the Franco-Brazilian border is opened in 2010 it will also be possible to drive from Cayenne to Macapá, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amapá. If the Brazilians build a bridge over the Amazon River someday, then it will be possible to drive all the way from Cayenne to Rio.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 05:22 PM   #35
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Yes, I know that, by the virtue of belonging to France, Cayenne enjoys social benefits that other cities in the same region don't. But for an expatriate or, more generally, for an executive, Cayenne is probably one of the least attractive cities in Latin America.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 07:59 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good View Post
Yes, I know that, by the virtue of belonging to France, Cayenne enjoys social benefits that other cities in the same region don't. But for an expatriate or, more generally, for an executive, Cayenne is probably one of the least attractive cities in Latin America.
Rest assured, I could fill this entire page with Latin American cities that are far less attractive than Cayenne. For example Buenaventura (the main port of Colombia on the Pacific, the most dangerous city in Latin America, with awful constant rainy weather), Ushuaia (nice name, but dreary place, and far more remote than Cayenne), Georgetown (one of the highest crime rates in the world probably, and climate as hot and humid as Cayenne), Managua (small, boring, run-down), Villahermosa in Mexico (worse climate than Cayenne if you can believe it, and full of mosquitos), Porto Velho the capital of the Brazilian state of Rondônia (plain boring, and high crime rate), etc., etc.

At least in Cayenne you get good public services, and you have a quarter of people who are from Europe which adds diversity to the city contrary to the other places I named which are inhabited solely by locals, which are far from everything, and which don't happen to have the 2nd largest spaceport in the world 50 miles away.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 08:58 PM   #37
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I think that the French government should colonize those lands and turn then into first world departments after all they are part of the French territory just like Hawaii is to the U.S.

BWT, do all these islands lower down France's indicators like poverty, corruption, etc.? or they are counted separately like independent countries?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 09:38 PM   #38
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So what are they now?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 10:04 PM   #39
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So what are they now?
They're not first world, they are nothing like mainland France that's why the French government should develop those areas.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 10:10 PM   #40
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Climate: There is such thing as air conditioning.

Isolation: Airplanes (I live in an island and I don't recognize that as a problem).

I think the French government should show some initiative/imagination and send 3,000,000 million to live in Guyane. Build a 'New France' in the tropics. It would be positive for S.America and France/Europe.
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