Reunion Island with 800,000 inhabitants shows growth in terms of population, economic, social and cultural development. Limited territory leaves little room for the compensation of urban dysfunctions by the urban spread. Rapid development calls for an additional 200,000 houses by 2030. Furthermore, increasing petrol and transportation costs mean overseas trade supply is threatening the island economy. To deal with these expectations, a conference held on October 2009 defined the Reunion Island Sustainable Districts concept and the means to its realisation: promoting diversity and combining the needs, the uses and the resources of the island; improving public spaces and networks and creating an integrated development. Furthermore, local debate highlighted that the complexity of technical analyses could alienate politicians from the decision-making process. Through financing the project conception, coordinating politicians and professionals, the partnership programme promotes an integrated realisation of each project. It is currently being employed in the building of thousands of houses.
Keywords: planning, urban design, sustainability, tropical island, Reunion Island, decision-making process