Meyrin, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland

Meyrin is a Swiss town and commune located in the canton of Geneva. It is the fourth most populous city in the canton after Geneva, Vernier and Lancy. According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the area of Meyrin is 9.94 km2. 59.1% of this area corresponds to housing or infrastructure areas, 35.6% to agricultural areas, 4.3% to wooded areas and 0.9% to unproductive areas. The town includes the towns of Cointrin, Meyrin and Mategnin. It borders on Grand-Saconnex, Satigny and Vernier, as well as France with the department of Ain (01).

The main site of the CERN, a European particle physics research organisation is in Meyrin. Meyrin was originally a small agricultural village until the 1950s, when construction of CERN began just to the north. It is now a commuter town dominated with apartment high-rises, and many of its residents work at CERN or in central Geneva. Geneva International Airport is partially located within Meyrin.

In the Middle Ages, the territory of Meyrin was divided between two lordships, that of De Livron and that of the lords of Meyrin. The latter reign over the current village where they have their home, while the De Livron have their fiefdoms in Cointrin and Mategnin. These lands are part of the Pays de Gex, a barony of the House of Savoy since the middle of the xiv th century.

In 1536, the Bernese seized the region and imposed the cult of the Reformation. The Bernese occupation lasts 30 years and improves living conditions. The return of the Duke of Savoy to his possessions of yesteryear in 1564 resulted in bloody repression and the return of poverty.

In 1601, after the Franco-Savoyard war, the territory of Gex was handed over to Henri IV of France following the Treaty of Lyon. After a xvii th century marked by the return of Catholicism, the xviii th century ends with the end of the Old Regime and the Pays de Gex knows the terror that reigns after the French Revolution. After France’s annexation of the Republic of Geneva in 1798, the inhabitants of Meyrin could then enjoy the same political rights as the Genevans. During the French Revolution, Meyrin, which was attached to the department of Ain takes the revolutionary name of Meyrin-Unie.

In 1798, Meyrin was part of the new department of Léman (capital of Geneva). In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor. Its thirst for expansion also plunges the commune of Meyrin into the heart of European history. In December 1813, the Austrian troops drove the French forces from the Pays de Gex and imposed a painful occupation for the population of Meyrin. It lasts from December 31, 1813 at March 24, 1814 and subjected the 600 Meyrinois of that time to the financial burdens and terrors of war.

After this period of tension and by virtue of the Treaty of Paris of 1815, the commune of Meyrin was ceded by France to Switzerland in order to be united again with Geneva, which was done on October 10, 1816.

20th century
The development of Meyrin dates back to 1922, when the first airstrip at Cointrin was built. What will become an airport and give a boost to the municipality. In 1954, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) moved to the territory of the municipality and later extended straddling the Franco-Swiss border. The presence of the international airport, now connected to the A1 motorway, is thus an asset in favoring the reception of international organizations.

In the 1960s, Meyrin underwent a complete metamorphosis, going from a village of 3,000 inhabitants to a town of nearly 19,000 inhabitants in 1980 (22,000 inhabitants innovember 2011). Meyrin was indeed chosen by the Geneva authorities to host Switzerland’s first satellite city, built according to urban planning ideas inspired by Le Corbusier.

The World Wide Web was invented on March 12, 1989 at CERN by the British Tim Berners-Lee and the Belgian Robert Cailliau several years after Internet.

21th century
The March 16, 2020, the municipality is setting up a solidarity platform due to the 2020 coronavirus disease pandemic in Switzerland for isolated or vulnerable people.

Écoquartier Vergers
Since 2013, Meyrin has gradually seen the development of the Vergers eco-district, which provides for the construction of around 1,250 housing units, spread over 30 buildings. When completed, this district will accommodate around 3,000 people. This eco-district is based on the three pillars of sustainable development: social solidarity, environmental responsibility and economic efficiency. It is made up of housing but also of various businesses (grocery stores, florists, hairdressers, food, etc.). In addition, several public facilities will be integrated such as a primary school, a nursery, playgrounds and meeting rooms. Nowadays (january 2019), this district is still under construction and will have a total area of approximately 16 hectares. Building a neighborhood like this takes a lot of time and investment. The town wants to make it an exemplary eco-district.

As of 2010, Meyrin had an unemployment rate of 7%. As of 2008, there were 50 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 13 businesses involved in this sector. 4,198 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 197 businesses in this sector. 13,422 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 860 businesses in this sector. There were 10,137 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 43.9% of the workforce.

In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 16,303. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 40, all of which were in agriculture. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 4,078 of which 2,991 or (73.3%) were in manufacturing and 1,066 (26.1%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 12,185. In the tertiary sector; 3,671 or 30.1% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 1,984 or 16.3% were in the movement and storage of goods, 1,145 or 9.4% were in a hotel or restaurant, 396 or 3.2% were in the information industry, 366 or 3.0% were the insurance or financial industry, 835 or 6.9% were technical professionals or scientists, 261 or 2.1% were in education and 1,466 or 12.0% were in health care.

In 2000, there were 15,939 workers who commuted into the municipality and 7,242 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 2.2 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. About 13.9% of the workforce coming into Meyrin are coming from outside Switzerland, while 0.2% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work. Of the working population, 28.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 55.5% used a private car.

PrivatAir has its head office in Meyrin, on the grounds of the airport. Skyguide, the Swiss air traffic control company, has its main office in Meyrin, on the grounds of the airport. EasyJet Switzerland has its head office in Meyrin. Club Airways International has its head office on the grounds of Geneva Airport and in Meyrin. Hewlett Packard operates its Europe, Middle East, and Africa office in Meyrin.

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The Swiss watch and jewellery designer and manufacture Chopard has its global headquarters in Meyrin. It is also where most watches, including lines such as the Mille Miglia and Happy Sporty, are made, as well as jewellery the Palme d’Or for the Cannes Film Festival. The other site, based in Fleurier, produces a lot of the L.U.Chopard watches.

In Meyrin about 5,924 or (30.3%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 2,712 or (13.9%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 2,712 who completed tertiary schooling, 34.8% were Swiss men, 24.3% were Swiss women, 24.3% were non-Swiss men and 16.6% were non-Swiss women.

During the 2009–2010 school year there were a total of 4,126 students in the Meyrin school system. The education system in the Canton of Geneva allows young children to attend two years of non-obligatory Kindergarten. During that school year, there were 285 children who were in a pre-kindergarten class. The canton’s school system provides two years of non-mandatory kindergarten and requires students to attend six years of primary school, with some of the children attending smaller, specialized classes. In Meyrin there were 712 students in kindergarten or primary school and 93 students were in the special, smaller classes. The secondary school program consists of three lower, obligatory years of schooling, followed by three to five years of optional, advanced schools. There were 712 lower secondary students who attended school in Meyrin. There were 1,010 upper secondary students from the municipality along with 164 students who were in a professional, non-university track program. An additional 153 students attended a private school.

Living environment
The parks and walks section decorates two to three times a year 35 flower beds and 295 tubs and planters for summer, fall, winter and spring flowering. A theme is given each year to vary the pleasures through colors, types of materials, edible or drought-resistant plants. An ephemeral development also takes place each year on the Place de Meyrin-Village. Actions are being taken to promote the discovery of edible flowers. In addition, self-service gourmet bins, made according to permaculture principles, have been installed in six parks and picnic places. Fountains of strawberries, towers of tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, basil, lemon balm, oregano, chives… are all small pleasures that decorate these places.

Alpine botanical garden
The origin of this “piece of mountain” in the heart of Meyrin is first of all due to Amable Gras. At the dawn of the 20th century, this fabric merchant had this idealized representation of an Alpine landscape fitted out, following a then fashionable garden art practice, which fused ornamentation and scientific curiosity. Imbued with romanticism, an evocation of pure and unspoiled nature, this garden manifests a very strong emotional bond with the Alps. Today, the city of Meyrin continues to bring to life and enrich this surprising place. Its charm is that of a space out of time, an oasis of greenery in an increasingly dense urban fabric. Its interest is to shed light on our relationship with living things, to allow us to question ourselves on the way in which we want to coexist with nature.

The Alpine Botanical Garden, a living museum, a labeled collection of 2450 temperate plants from around the world, cultivation methods free of pesticides and promoting biodiversity, a breeding of endangered animal species. The activities make nature accessible and understandable to an essentially urban audience. They make him aware of the issues of global warming, health, the loss of biodiversity and art. This summer, the culture, environment and library services of the city of Meyrin offered a wide choice of activities and discoveries at the Alpine Botanical Garden open to all.

From the end of the 18th century, the tales of English travelers of their journeys in the Alps created a positive and romantic representation of Alpine landscapes. This is the origin of the fashion for “rock gardens”, often enriched with a small chalet. Association of boulders and small plants generally from the Alps, above the forest line, between 2000 and 2500 meters in the Alps, and up to more than 4000 meters in the Himalayas. In circumboreal regions, the alpine stage can extend to sea level.

The collection of woody plants includes many species of trees native to or from temperate zones, mainly the northern hemisphere. Thus, can in particular be admired for their morphological or landscape characteristics, native maples, the four species of cedar, European oaks, American or Asian, redwoods and pines of plain or mountain. In addition, shrubs complete the collection of the Alpine Botanical Garden with a great diversity of bark, flowers, foliage and fruits which follow one another throughout the year.

This house was that of Annibal Miazza, the gardener who implemented the Alpine Garden on behalf of Amable Gras. Today it is the site of scientific and conservation activities for the Garden, such as classification, sorting of seeds and plant inventory. Information center on botanical and ecosystem activities in the Garden, the house also hosts workshops, exhibitions, guided tours and conferences.

The Cairn is the name given to the villa in the Alpine Botanical Garden. It designates the stone mounds that serve as a benchmark mountain to mark out a route or indicate a particular place, such as a natural shelter. Dedicated to contemporary creation and cultural mediation, the Cairn offers the public educational workshops and artists residencies and individual or group exhibitions.

The Goat farm, two animal species, the Appenzell crested hen and the booted goat, inhabit this place. A presence that is in line with the policy of preservation of livestock breeds and crop plants of the ProSpecieRara foundation. During the calving and brooding period, guided tours are organized by appointment.

The Nant, the Alpine Botanical Garden takes advantage of a well that benefits from the runoff of low permeability slopes and underground water circulation. An interesting catchment potential that the Botanical Garden exploits in accordance with the rules of sustainable development. A reservoir built under the Chèvrerie also collects water from the roofs to supply the small alpine lake. It contributes to the watering, to the sub-irrigation of the production area and the greenhouse, which in the past were entirely dependent on the drinking water network. An extension of the old pond constitutes a wetland for phyto-purification, that is to say using filtering plants, to oxygenate and purify the water. A pump then redistributes them in the garden’s water course circuit.

The Scent Trail, this course is an olfactory composition that invites observation and discovery. Changing with the seasons, the different plants stimulate a powerful memory marker: the sense of smell. Visitors are made attentive to the scents of flowers and foliage. Their experience can continue in the rest of the Alpine Botanical Garden, where the fragrance of foliage and fruits, the scents released by the bark of conifers constitute an olfactory journey.

Parks and walks
The municipal parks are planted with many ornamental trees which decorate the various districts with their foliage, their flowers, their fruits, their silhouette or their bark, and are thus of interest throughout the year. In addition to their aesthetic role, they also play an important ecological role in urban areas, in particular to retain dust and regulate microclimates through the shade they provide. In addition, they sometimes provide food and habitat for native wildlife.

50 hectares of public spaces to maintain, 4,000 trees (excluding forests), 6 natural grass pitches, 1 synthetic, 10 parks, 6 hectares of communal forests, 1000m2 of nurseries, 1750 m2 of outdoor flower production, 900m2 of flower production in the greenhouse. A differentiated maintenance, adapted to each location, makes it possible to lighten the interventions in spaces close to the countryside, thus letting nature take back its rights. These extensive measures favor the reappearance of various plant species, such as native orchids. On the other hand, in the heart of the city, in Meyrin-Village or Cointrin, horticultural facilities are the subject of intensive maintenance for the benefit of the inhabitants of the various districts.

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