Corporations and joint ventures

This tool describes the organisational integration of infrastructure and property development through the co-financing of property developers as part of wider property development scheme. Property companies can be involved in co-financing large-scale development projects including renewal of transport interchanges. The government or local authority grants a corporation development rights for land located above or adjacent to public transport interchanges to help finance the construction of new infrastructure projects, instead of injecting cash or providing direct subsidies. National laws and regulations can facilitate such corporations. In France, examples of these regulations are the Urban Partnership Projects, Partnership Contracts and Local Development Contracts.



NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality +
Enhance liveability +
Increase safety and security conditions 0
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy ++
Increase environmental efficiency +
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

In the UK, Town Improvement Schemes are potential mechanisms for allowing local authorities and other stakeholders to deal with area improvement and maintenance of environmental quality. The concept may prove to be of particular importance along with joint ventures and/or partnership agreements.

Common in French cities where dense development around new infrastructure (e.g. tramway lines and stops) is encouraged by the local authority. Examples are Toulouse (TCSP), Grenoble (tramway line E), Aéroport Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (Paris).

Tisséo-SMTC – Public Transport Authority of Greater Toulouse. Available online:

SMTC-Grenoble – Public Transport Authority of Greater Grenoble. Available online:


In France, there is different legislation that facilitate these corporations: 

Urban Partnership Project (projet urbain partenarial)

This is a financing tool for urban development operations codified in French law and included in the Town Planning Code. This involves an agreement, associated with a development permit, which draws up the list of public developments to be implemented on the real estate unit concerned. It sets the cost of public equipment, the amount for participation of the developer, and the lead-times for settlement and performance of works.

Example: a city of 10,000 inhabitants accepts the urbanisation of a new real estate entity to cater for the needs of a further 1,000 habitants. This corresponds to enlarging the bus station for a total cost of 200,000 euros. On signing the Urban Partnership Project, the developer undertakes to finance the bus station for a fixed amount of 20,000 euros. The municipality ensures prime contracting for the extension, proceeds with calls for financing and exempts the developer from development tax. However, if the bus station costs 50,000 euros more, the municipality alone takes on settlement of that extra amount.


Partnership contract (contrat d’axe)

In France, partnership contract type tools or equivalent are contract agreement tools shared between a number of local authorities and partners aimed at fostering effective coordination between urban planning and transport. Two types of tools thus emerge from such approaches:

–      Charters, general instruments that set the major objectives and seek to establish consensus.

–      Contracts, operational instruments defining the partners’ commitments.

Charters are integrated in SUMP and partnership contract are mentioned in planning documents (Île de France Region Master Plan, territorial coherence programme (SCoT), Urban Development Plan, etc.) as the operational instruments for implementation of the objectives.

The partnership contract concept emerged in France back in 2002 in works to revise the Urban Development Plan of Greater Toulouse. Then there were approaches aimed at coordinating urban planning and urban public transport emerged at the same time in a number of French cities as in Lille (DIVAT: Transport Route Promotion Discs), in the French-Vaud-Geneva district project (PACA: Greater Urban District Development Perimeters), in Île de France (Charter for a sustainable region around the extension of line 11 of the metro) and Grenoble (line E route contract).

Setting up a partnership contract approach locally may take between one and three years, depending on the prior political agreements needed and the organising of cooperation between the various stakeholders (operators, local authorities, urban planners, etc.).


Local development contracts (contrat de développement territorial)

In France, local development contracts are legally defined by the Act relating to the mobilisation of publicly-held real estate for housing purposes. These contracts, intended to organise the implementation of the objectives set by the Act, define between the State and the territorial authorities concerned, “the objectives and priorities in terms of urban planning, housing, transport, travel and the efforts to reduce urban spread, commercial equipment, economic, sports and cultural development, protection of natural, agricultural and forest spaces, landscapes and natural resources”. Once approved after a public enquiry, they may amend town planning documents (Ile-de-France Region Master Plan, territorial coherence programme, local urban planning plans, etc.).

They must implement the economic, urban and social development of the regions defined as being strategic, and especially those served by the Greater Paris public transport network. These contractual approaches, with an operational objective, commit the State, represented by the Regional Prefect, the towns and their signatory groups. The Île-de-France Region, the departments and a certain number of institutional players of Greater Paris including Paris Métropole, the Greater Paris international workshop and the Association of Île-de-France Mayors are invited to sign up to these approaches. The Île-de-France Region and the departments concerned may henceforth, on request, become signatories of local development contracts.

Local development contracts must specify the number of housing units and social housing units that are to be built, as well as mention the Designated Development Areas and the beneficiaries of pre-emption rights, draw up the schedule for the implementation of development operations and major transport infrastructures, evaluate their cost and state the operations for which a declaration of public interest is warranted. Local development contracts are subject to environmental evaluation. They must be compatible with the Regional Master Plan.

Potential interchange performance improvement

The Urban Partnership Project tool that binds a public enterprise and a developer shows greater flexibility as it does not require competitive tendering. Participation is proportional to the use that will be made of it by the operation brought to contribute. In exchange, the developer is exempted from paying development tax.

Wood Green Generation, London, UK

Haringey Council is working with Transport for London to improve Wood Green’s public spaces and create a safer, brighter and greener town centre. £4.2 million has been invested to de-clutter pavements and open spaces from Wood Green to Turnpike Lane Tube Stations and make the High Road a more welcoming place for residents.

Highlights of the scheme include:

  • Wider pavements; new, more sensible pedestrian crossings, and raised road surfaces to cut driving speeds and prioritise shoppers and visitors at junctions
  • New bus shelters along the High Road, with stopping points moved to more accessible places and ‘Legible London’ signage installed to help visitors find their way around
  • More trees and plants to spruce up public spaces, alongside new ‘green walls’
  • Better cycling facilities, with more bike stands and a review of all current cycle routes
  • Improved street lighting, picturesque lights in trees and lighting of alleyways and dark spots to improve safety

Hundreds of local people and traders had their say on the plans during consultation by filling in questionnaires and attending drop-in sessions.

In Toulouse for example, the Partnership contract involves making public transport a lever for urban development on the scale of the greater urban districts. The objective is to restrain urban spread, also to limit vehicle congestion and atmospheric pollution, and guarantee long-term use and hence the economic viability of transport routes.

In Île-de-France, the goal is to move towards a more sustainable city by intensifying urbanisation (housing, but also economic activities, etc., to keep a social mix in the different neighbourhoods) around public transport services, and promote alternative ways of travelling other than the private car.

In Grenoble, the approach implemented allowed the share-out of financing between the urban public transport authority (SMTC) and the municipalities to be reviewed and guarantee the frequentation of new public transport lines through efforts made to attract new inhabitants to the neighbourhoods crossed. This also involved developing new practices and new instruments to accompany the development of new tram lines in the greater urban district.


The co-financing of property developers means that the government or local authority grants to the corporation development rights for land located above or adjacent to the interchange to help finance the construction of new railway projects, instead of injecting cash or providing direct subsidies.  Public financing resources can thus be minimised.


CERTU (2010). Articuler urbanisme et transport, chartes, contrat d’axe, … (FR);

Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme Ile-de-France: Les contrats de développement territorial. (FR):

French Ministry of Housing and Territorial Equality (2013). Le Projet Urbain Partenarial (PUP): une méthode de financement contractualisée. Available online (FR):

Wood Green Town Centre Improvements, London, UK