Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo approved a new plan to revitalize the Champs Élysées ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics.
A century and a half after Baron Haussmann, at the behest of Napoleon III, overhauled the city of Paris with wide boulevards and expansive gardens in a vast reorganization that aimed to modernize the city and prevent civil unrest, city leaders are once again transforming its most famous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, hoping to revitalize what has become, for many Parisians, a lackluster corridor of luxury shops and car dealerships.
A plan proposed by the Champs-Élysées Committee, a group of local community and business leaders, calls for a redevelopment that is "ecological, desirable and inclusive" ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, writes Kim Willsher for The Guardian. Committee president Jean-Noël Reinhardt argues that despite its globally famous reputation as "the world's most beautiful avenue," today's Champs-Élysées is "looking worn out." Philippe Chiambaretta, an architect with the firm that designed the new plan, cites the Champs-Élysées as symbolic of urban problems around the world including "pollution, the place of the car, tourism and consumerism." The Committee's plan calls for reducing the space allocated for vehicles by half, building additional pedestrian zones, and installing more parks and greenery to reduce air pollution and enhance the streetscape. The proposal has been approved by the city's mayor as part of a concerted effort to "transform the city" before the 2024 Olympics and lay the groundwork for long-term projects.
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