'Best Square' in Paris Returned to the People

Over the weekend, the $30 million revamp of Paris's iconic Place de la République opened to the public. By transforming the square from a place for cars into a place for people, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has earned a distinguished "anti-car" label.
June 18, 2013, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"On Sunday, Paris Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë, accompanied by the woman he hopes will succeed him in City Hall, Anne Hidalgo, unveiled the place's £20.4m facelift – £5m over-budget, and hailed a project that he said had reclaimed the place, previously a glorified roundabout, for the people," reports Kim Willsher. "Around 70% of the 3.4 hectares making up the square and its surroundings roads have become a pedestrian zone."

"'My predecessors handed the square over to the car. We wanted to put beauty, the values of the République, and a joie de vivre at the heart of this transformation,' Delanoë said as he strolled around the square on Sunday morning shaking hands with people."

"The opposition centre-right UMP opposed the project and accused Delanoë of creating traffic chaos and being 'anti-car'," says Willsher.

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Published on Sunday, June 16, 2013 in The Guardian
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