President Sarkozy opens Grand Paris exhibition
On Wednesday 29 April, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France opened the exhibition of ‘Grand Paris’, a special commission involving 10 international architecture and masterplanning teams. The President’s remit for the teams was to reflect on, and make propositions for, how to position Paris to face a post-Kyoto-Protocol-future, whilst exploring its further growth as a world metropolis.
The president emphasised a positive and constructive approach to a twenty first century Paris, free from traditional planning constraints and with a view to creating a humane, ecologically sensitive city.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, with the London School of Economics and Arup, analysed a number of world cities, establishing ten general principles which were then applied to the specific context of Paris.
The team explored: issues of governance; the creation of a compact, polycentric city; the economic and social rebalancing of the suburbs with the heart of Paris, and proposals for a major expansion of the public transport network to create an effective full access network for the nine million inhabitants of the metropolitan area of the French capital.
Sustainability was at the heart of the proposals, equipping Paris for the challenges of the future. The team proposed the creation of major new armatures throughout the metropolis, constructed over the divisive and publicly inaccessible urban canyons of the existing rail networks. These armatures are conceived to house new renewable energy infrastructure, recycling plant, logistical distribution and public amenities, all integrated below new linear parks which traverse the city. The new armatures also remove the existing physical barriers and create lateral routes between previously separated neighbourhoods.
The exhibition, showing all ten consultant teams’ proposals, runs until November 2009 at the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine à Paris.
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