Category Archives: Urbanism

Posts about urbanism

The Cities We Leave to Future Generations

After a period of spurning our cities, we are again becoming an urban nation.

For years, investments in highways, malls, and residential developments were focused on the suburbs. The infrastructure of America’s great historical cities, so often mired in fiscal difficulty, was left to decay.

Today we are seeing a resurgence of the urban spirit. We have woken again to the social benefits of city life. We appreciate the exchange and innovation, the cultural vibrancy, and the economic and environmental benefits of compact living. Large-scale development projects are underway in the city centers and city governments are again spending on urban infrastructure.

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The Unveiling of the New Place de la République

I described in a previous post how the place de la République has been a 150-year urban design headache. So when I visited the space on the day of its opening, after nearly two years of construction, what I wanted to know was if the urban design conundrum had finally been solved.

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Paris’s Future Governance – An Interview with Pierre Mansat

As Paris’s Deputy Mayor in charge of “Paris Métropole” and relations with the region’s other local governments, Pierre Mansat is at the center of the debate regarding Paris’s governance.

I had a chance to sit down with him and discuss the historic changes underway following the Prime Minister’s announcement last month of the creation of a new metropolitan entity for Paris.

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La gouvernance de Paris – Entretien avec Pierre Mansat

En tant qu’adjoint au Maire de Paris chargé de “Paris métropole” et des relations avec les collectivités territoriales d’Ile-de-France, Pierre Mansat est un acteur privilégié du débat sur la gouvernance de la métropole parisienne.

Pierre Mansat répond ici à mes questions sur les changements historiques en perspective suite à l’annonce le mois dernier par le premier ministre de la création d’une entité métropolitaine pour Paris.

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Grand Paris Takes Off

The future of Paris was born last week.

After several years of gestation, the French government has announced concrete measures that will transform the institutional structure of Greater Paris and massively expand the public transportation network to tie together the whole urban region.

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The Tramway in Île-de-France

Eighty years after having been phased out, the tramway has made a triumphant return to Paris. This fall, three major extensions are being opened to the public. Construction is underway on several new lines. This once-forgotten form of transportation is again becoming part of the daily life of Parisians.

None of the tramway lines cross Paris proper, but they participate in the creation of a dense multi-modal network across the first ring of municipalities surrounding Paris. Even more importantly, these tramway lines are not being approached only as isolated pieces of transportation infrastructure. Instead, they are driving and accompanying major urban projects in the territories they cross. The urban role of the tramway in contemporary Paris is a story worth knowing.

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Construction at Seine Rive Gauche

My piece on Seine Rive Gauche, billed as the largest urban project in Paris since Haussmann, generated a great deal of interest. This week I return to the area to check up on progress, and find development continuing along the whole length of the site.

This project is mobilizing considerable resources and is calling on France’s best architecture and urban design talents. Whatever one things of the design choices, it certainly represents a return to the spirit of urban ambition that made Paris what it is.

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News from Place de la République

Last Thursday, June 21st, was a big day for the Place de la République as construction for the new lay-out of the square entered phase 2 (see background in my post Place de la République).

With this, an important symbol of the current city administration’s move away from the car-centric urban planning is beginning to be visible.

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Exploring Grand Paris: Choisy-le-Roi

I continue my exploration of the petite couronne, the ring of municipalities around Paris proper that are at the center of the transformation of greater Paris. Today I travel south-east to Choisy-le-Roi, surely one of the most disconcerting mixes of periods and urban typologies from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century to be found anywhere.

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