Paris Tests a New Approach to Urban Space

Any visitor from America would think that Paris had found the solution to creating great public spaces and taming the automobile. But the city's new approach to urban space suggests city leaders and residents feel otherwise.
September 21, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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jean-louis Zimmermann

"In a 180-degree change from previous decades, during which public space was thought of mainly in terms of facilitating automobile circulation, the City of Paris has been implementing an ambitious strategy to rethink the role of the car in the city," explains Stephane Kirkland, author of Paris Reborn. "The new approach, which puts the quality of the urban experience at the heart of urban policy, has led to a complete redefinition of Paris’s urban spaces."

"The first results of this orientation are now coming to fruition, and have fundamentally changed Parisians’ experience of their city," she adds. "Automobile traffic has dropped 25% since 2002 and the level of car ownership among Parisian households has decreased to only 37%. With a conscious, large-scale shift underway in how public space is shared between cars, bicycles and pedestrians, Paris is emerging as a leader among forward-thinking cities."

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Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 in PPS: Placemaking Blog
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