Villeneuve-d'Ascq is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. With more than 60,000 inhabitants and 50,000 students, it is one of the main cities of the Urban Community of Lille Métropole and the largest in area (27,46 km²) after Lille; it is also one of the main cities of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.
Built up owing to the merger between Ascq, Annappes and Flers-lez-Lille communes, the new town is the cradle of the first automatic metro system of the world (VAL). It was also the scene of a tragic event, the Ascq massacre.
Villeneuve-d'Ascq is nicknamed the 'green technopole' thanks to the implantation of many researchers - the campus of Lille University of Science and Technology, Charles de Gaulle University – Lille III and many graduate engineering school - and companies in a pleasant living environment. Owing to its activity centres, its Haute Borne European scientific park and two shopping malls, Villeneuve-d'Ascq is one of the main economic spot of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region ; multinational corporations such as Bonduelle, Cofidis and Decathlon have their head office there.
Outside its academic, scientific and business facilities, Villeneuve-d'Ascq is mostly known because of its sporting events - two stadiums are located there and some of its sport teams are playing in the top division - its museums - the most famous is the one about modern, contemporary and outsider art (the LaM) - its green ways and its medical facilities for disabled people.
Its site was selected in the 1960s to accommodate the new town of Lille-Est, which was to channel the development of the agglomeration. The commune of Villeneuve-d'Ascq was created in 1970 by the amalgamation of the communes of Ascq, Annappes and Flers. Its name evokes at the same time the new city and the memory of Ascq, martyr city of 1 April 1944, date on which the Nazis massacred 86 men.
The city's merger with Lille was contentious and failed twice (1972 and 1976).