Non-ferrous metals (Pb, Cu, Zn) needs and city development: the Paris example (1815–2009) - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Regional Environmental Change Year : 2012

Non-ferrous metals (Pb, Cu, Zn) needs and city development: the Paris example (1815–2009)


The aim of this study is to explore the urban and/or industrial needs for non-ferrous metals (lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn)) of Paris (France), a highly developed city conurbation, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. Pb was necessary for the development of urban networks (Pb pipes), Zn for Parisian roofs and Cu for the development of boiler making and electricity. This study is based on economic statistics and shows that the situation evolved from a city transforming ores, having its smelters and transforming metal into goods, to a city where metal smelting has been more or less quickly banned, and where only a small activity of metal transformation into metal-containing goods remains. The patterns of the three metals showed slight differences. The deindustrialization of Paris is also accompanied by a change of the supplying areas over time. Ores were always imported from abroad, because of the lack of French non-ferrous metal mines. But foundries, which were first abroad, had developed in France between the late nineteenth and late twentieth century and were again found abroad at the end of the twentieth century. The transformation of metal into goods left Paris to the benefit of other parts of France first, then of abroad, over time. In a second part, the evaluation of Pb consumption per capita in Paris conurbation shows that Pb needs of Paris conurbation were higher than those of France in the nineteenth century. Then, the Paris demand was satisfied and it became lower than that of France. Both the deindustrialisation of Paris conurbation and its lower needs led to a decrease in the relative weight of Paris for non-ferrous metals, compared to other parts of France.

Dates and versions

hal-01196099 , version 1 (09-09-2015)



Laurence Lestel. Non-ferrous metals (Pb, Cu, Zn) needs and city development: the Paris example (1815–2009). Regional Environmental Change, 2012, 12 (2), pp.311-323. ⟨10.1007/s10113-011-0255-4⟩. ⟨hal-01196099⟩
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