Paris Is What People Want; How Can We Make More of It?

Hazel Borys concludes her whirlwind European travelog. This week: a look at the DNA of Paris, and how to replicate it elsewhere.
July 2, 2013, 8am PDT | Scott Doyon
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"You say the word 'Paris' and anyone who’s ever been there immediately has some good memory to share. The grandeur of its urbanism and romance of its streets is without peer. However, the city seems to be bulging at the seams."

"Last month’s Financial Times points out that only the wealthiest 1% of the population can afford to live, work, or even play there. With all transportation services nearing their limits and price points in the stratosphere, it seems clear that sprawl repair and suburban retrofits of its unloved outskirts would provide significant returns."

"If Paris is what people want, why not make more of it? I don’t mean the current skyscraper proposals, or another Louvre, or all the other irreplaceable institutions, but rather more of the character of the old urbanism and streets. As many have done before me, the first step in enabling great places is to look carefully at the most satisfying local DNA, and enable it elsewhere, by right."

Borys goes on to discuss facets of Place des Vosges, The Louvre, Centre Georges Pompidou, Place de la République, and Promenade Plantée, with an eye toward what to replicate. And what to leave as important - but ungainly - architectural and urban advances of past decades.

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Published on Monday, July 1, 2013 in PlaceShakers
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