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Villeurbanne

Villeurbanne is a commune in the Metropolis of Lyon in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France.It is situated northeast of Lyon, with which it forms the heart of the second-largest metropolitan area in France after that of Paris. Villeurbanne is the second-largest city in the metropolitan area. In 2013, Villeurbanne was elected the city with the best administration of France, which attracts more and more people.HistoryThe current location of downtown Villeurbanne is known to have been inhabited as far back as 6000 BC. Its current name comes from a Gallo-Roman farming area, established at about the same time as Lyon (then Lugdunum) and known as the Villa Urbana ("town house"). It would then become Urbanum, then Villa Urbane and, ultimately, Villeurbanne.Villeurbanne has belonged to the kingdom of France since 1349. It was then separated from Lyon by the river La Rize, a former branch of the Rhône River.Until the 19th century, the city was merely a patchwork of distinct villages separated by fields and undeveloped land. These villages have mostly survived, and nowadays form the neighborhoods of Charpennes, Cusset, Croix-Luizet, Maisons-Neuves, etc.With the industrial era, Villeurbanne's economy soared: the textile industry was the first to bloom, followed by mechanical and chemical ones. The factories lured in numerous immigrants, most notably from Italy. Transforming from a rural community to an industrial town, Villeurbanne underwent a tremendous demographic boom in the late 1920s. From 3,000 inhabitants in 1928, its population rocketed to 82,000 in 1931. Mayor Lazare Goujon (elected 1924) engaged the city in a vast public works initiative. Arguably the most visible heritage of this program is the Gratte-Ciel, a housing complex made up of two Art Deco towers and annex smaller buildings, lining up along the Avenue Henri Barbusse. These structures are the work of architect Môrice Leroux, and one of the most notable Art Deco structures in France. Having undergone thorough renovation, the 19-story twin towers have become an emblem of the city.
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