Paris (pronounced French) is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,211,297 (January 2008) but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,899,544 (January 2008) and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.In 2009 and 2010 Paris was ranked among the three most important and influential cities in the world, among the first three "European cities of the future" – according to research published by the Financial Times and among the top ten most liveable cities in the world according to the British review Monocle. Paris also ranked among the ten greenest European cities in 2010. The office of Secretary of State for the Development of the Capital Region was created in March 2008 within the French government. Its office holder, Christian Blanc, is in charge of overseeing President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans for the creation of an integrated Grand Paris ("Greater Paris") metropolitan authority (see Administration section below), as well as the extension of the subway network to cope with the renewed growth of population in Paris and its suburbs, and various economic development projects to boost the metropolitan economy such as the creation of a world-class technology and scientific cluster and university campus on the Saclay plateau in the southern suburbs.
In parallel, President Sarkozy also launched in 2008 an international urban and architectural competition for the future development of metropolitan Paris. Ten teams, which bring together architects, urban planners, geographers, and landscape architects, will offer their vision for building a Paris metropolis of the 21st century in the Kyoto Protocol era and will make a prospective diagnosis for Paris and its suburbs that will define future developments in Greater Paris for the next 40 years.