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Old Posted Apr 14, 2017, 4:07 PM
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Fixing a Fractured Paris

Fixing a Fractured Paris


Apr 12, 2017

By FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN

Read More: https://www.citylab.com/transportati...-paris/521967/

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The suburbs of Paris, home to over 10 million people, are not as universally loved as the central city they surround. The city’s Boulevard Périphérique beltway is a big reason why. Walk towards the orbital road from the Porte de La Chapelle at rush hour and you feel like you’re a witness to a city engaging in an architectural and infrastructural race to the bottom.

- Elegant Haussmann-era buildings along the roadside give way abruptly to modernist boxes. Then the beltway’s tangle of lanes appears, an Amazon of asphalt, exhaust fug, and slow-moving metal. For pedestrians, the route north seems impenetrable, and the patchy provision of sidewalks and noise might rob anyone of the desire to forge on. Such a scene is common in the suburban transition zones of cities in the U.S. and Europe. But in Paris, it comes as a particularly cruel shock to witness the harmonious city end so abruptly.

- The Périphérique, the frontier of Paris Intramuros (or “behind the walls”), has had a vexed role in story of this city since it was completed in 1973. The traffic-choked 35-kilometer ring is one of the busiest in Europe, carrying more than a million vehicles a day. It serves as an essential artery for urban Parisians—and a formidable physical and cultural barrier cleaving those 2.2 million residents from the sprawl beyond. The division is somewhat misleading: There are many architectural and demographic similarities between neighborhoods on either side of the central city’s limit.

- It’s the planning of the metro area around the beltway’s axle that effaces these connections and leads to a fragmentation both of transit and of residents’ identity. This is the new battleground on which Greater Paris needs to combat its domination by cars—both by transforming the beltway and expanding the public transit network beyond. --- The French capital is engaged in an ambitious effort to tame car traffic and bar heavily polluting vehicles in the inner city. Led by charismatic Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has pledged to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, Paris’s battle to go car-free has captured much international attention.

- The real war on cars will be waged in the banlieues, the sprawling and surprisingly diverse suburbs of Greater Paris. Plans to transform the Boulevard Périphérique and expand mass transit deep into these politically fragmented areas require sign-off from more political bodies and demand a coordinated approach to the entire region’s mobility needs. --- If they work, they could help correct a planning mistake that has led to social segregation and a sense of disconnect between different communities in the city that is unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. If they fail? Expect worse traffic, more angry suburban drivers, and continued political fragmentation.

- Many cities have troubled relationships between urban core and suburb, but Paris’ extreme polarization is in a class of its own. The city’s official boundaries have not enlarged since 1860, meaning that anything beyond Paris’s 19th-century fortifications—the ring upon which the modern beltway was built—does not count as Paris proper. --- One result of this is an ongoing dismissal of the wider city by certain sections of the Parisian elite. Discuss the banlieue with the snobbier sort of Inner Parisian and it comes across as a cultureless wasteland, one whose provinciality is made only more glaring by its proximity to that unmatched pinnacle of human sophistication, Paris itself.

- Like most cities of its size, Greater Paris has its fair share of anonymous-looking districts of single-family homes (though it’s generally far denser than outer London or the suburbs of U.S. cities). It also has great tracts of public housing projects, mainly built from the 1950s through the ‘70s. The huge building program broke up communities and exported urban poverty to a periphery, where it could be more easily disregarded by power. But it’s wildly inaccurate to characterize Paris’s outer rings with one single image. It contains seven very diverse regions.

- The Boulevard Périphérique may divide the city and its suburbs, but it’s also a unifier of sorts: The traffic congestion on the ring—and the haze of accompanying air pollution over both urban and the suburban neighborhoods flanking the road—has managed to create consensus across the political spectrum that something has to change. The sticking point is what. --- This January, France’s right-leaning Republican Party—the largest party currently opposing Paris City Hall’s Socialist-led coalition government and Mayor Anne Hidalgo—proposed a fix that is pharaonic in scale. To reduce noise and pollution and reconnect both sides of the beltway, the Republicans would cover the Périphérique, burying its highway trench under a concrete cap.

- Called the Métropole du Grand Paris (Greater Paris Metropole), this appointed body is supposed to coordinate projects in Greater Paris’s four innermost Départements, plus a few denser districts beyond this boundary. Initially billed as a game changer, the Metropole appears to already be in trouble, suffering from so low a budget that its finance officer warns it may die “while still in the egg.” --- Still, it will be worth following whether the vast and fractious capital can pull this off. Taken together, Paris is pursuing some of the most enlightened and progressive transit policies of any megacity. When it comes to resolving the political fragmentation that simultaneously makes radical action relatively easy in the city’s heart and relatively difficult in the grand patchwork beyond, it may nonetheless still have a long way to go.

.....



A pollution warning and speed limit over the ring road in 2014. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)







A beltway gone green: A rendering of the Périphérique transformed into woodsy “urban boulevard.” (Groupe Ecolo Paris)







A rendering of a proposed Metro station to be built as the Grand Paris Express, an expanded network of suburban lines due to be completed in 2030. (Société du Grand Paris)







Even suburbs of Paris that are filled with single-family homes with yards tend to be more densely built than the U.S. equivalents







The Boulevard Périphérique in Southeastern Paris, in a section that would be coverable. (Chabe01/Wikimedia)


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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2017, 4:16 PM
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Meh. Still way better than most American cities
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Old Posted Apr 15, 2017, 9:15 AM
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Decking over the Périphérique to make a park will not fix the problems of the Parisian suburbs.
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Old Posted Apr 15, 2017, 8:39 PM
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Most Parisian suburbs (ie areas outside the perepherique) are fine though, no fixing really needed, in fact many are wealthy and prosperous areas. The few you hear about in the news as having big social problems are not anywhere near representative of the whole 9m people who live within the Ile de France but outside the City of Paris proper.

Making the Perepherique less of a massive physical barrier would help connectivity though I think.
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Old Posted Apr 15, 2017, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
Most Parisian suburbs (ie areas outside the perepherique) are fine though, no fixing really needed, in fact many are wealthy and prosperous areas. The few you hear about in the news as having big social problems are not anywhere near representative of the whole 9m people who live within the Ile de France but outside the City of Paris proper.

Making the Perepherique less of a massive physical barrier would help connectivity though I think.

Indeed, the suburbs aren't all bad, in fact most of them have tons of charm and wealth.

Another thing to consider is the evolution toward self driving vehicles. The need for dedicated freeways is in question if speed is modulated in synchrony. These urban boulevards may replace a lot of highway infrastructure in some cases.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 1:36 PM
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I cross the Peripherique everyday and I believe some use Peripherique too much as a scapegoat when it's far from being the only culprit.

I think one of the main issue about the Peripherique is not the beltway itself but its nearest surroundings especially those inside Paris limits.
There is a several hundred meters large stretch around the Peripherique very badly urbanized where the City of Paris has the habit to put all low-value equipments or anything that take too much space. Cemetaries, parks, sports field, warehouses...

This is Porte d'Orleans
The left side of the Peripherique is the municipality of Montrouge and the right side is the City of Paris.
On Montrouge side, dense urbanity begins right after the Peripherique while on the City of Paris side, there is a gap of several hundred meters.
This gap creates a bigger barrier than the freeway in my opinion.

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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 3:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato Ku View Post
On Montrouge side, dense urbanity begins right after the Peripherique while on the City of Paris side, there is a gap of several hundred meters.
This gap creates a bigger barrier than the freeway in my opinion.
That might have something to do with the boulevards des Maréchaux that make up some sort of buffer zone between the Périph' and the better fabric of the inner city.

Let's be realistic, if you're going to pay for an apartment within the central municipality, you don't want it along the very noisy, stinky polluted expressway. And speed limits recently enforced on that beltway won't be enough to change one's mind.

I think eventually, the Périphérique will have to be standardized and urbanized, a bit like the Maréchaux undergoing upgrades at the moment, but such an operation would be of a whole different scale.

It's too much of an ugly wart in the otherwise pleasant fabric anyway.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 5:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
Let's be realistic, if you're going to pay for an apartment within the central municipality, you don't want it along the very noisy, stinky polluted expressway.
Come on, it's Paris, people are going to live everywhere.

If people can live next to the Peripherique on the other side, I can't see why they would be less willing to live there on the inner side, especially when you know that the inner side is more attractive.
There are already several examples showing that I'm right and many others are under way.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato Ku View Post
Come on, it's Paris, people are going to live everywhere.
So what? I don't get this and hope some good sunny day in this country, people don't care so much about the names written on their addresses.

We simply need to strictly watch the quality of an urban environment. Nothing so complicated.

Really, give me a good job and a fair apartment of a nice neighborhood of Clermont-Ferrand or of Limoges lost in the middle of the country, I swear I'll easily take it over any gloomy Parisian ghetto. No way you'd act as a brainwashed wannabe Parisian just to be somewhere in Paris.

Same simply goes to the regional scale. You'd better pick a comfortable suburb than a poorly maintained slum of boulevard de la Chapelle haunted by drug addicts at night.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 6:52 PM
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So what?
So that.



Rue Stéphane Grappelli
Rue Albert Roussel

Built between busy train tracks (more than 100 trains per hour) and the Peripherique in an area quite far from subway stations.
The closest metro station is Porte de Clichy and it requires a 10 minutes walk along some of the least pleasant sides of the Maréchaux blvds (including walking under the train tracks).
It will improve the T3b extension and the redevelopment of Batignolles.

Speaking of La Chapelle area.
Did you know that they built residential buildings next the Peripherique and Gare du Nord train tracks along Avenue de la Porte des Poissonniers ?



Avenue de la Porte des Poissonniers

Last edited by Minato Ku; Apr 16, 2017 at 7:10 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 7:29 PM
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They build some stuff over all rougher areas anyway, so the overall urban fabric overcomes poverty in the end. Thankfully.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 7:40 PM
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Even the less desirable areas of Paris look pretty great to me. I'd kill for that in the US.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 8:17 PM
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Endless urban area might not be good either. Walkability is achieved within the neighborhoods, while transit is provided between the neighborhoods.



Read More: https://www.planetizen.com/node/50957

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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 9:26 PM
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The real problem is that no one, anywhere, can build a proper city anymore. I can't think of a single neighborhood anywhere in the world that I would want to live in that wasn't an established urban center at the turn of the 20th century. A newer building is fine, sometimes (very little from the 1950s-80s), but the urban fabric needs to be very old.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 10:07 PM
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^ You only want your street with buildings properly lined up along, with your very local retail on 1st floors.
That's what everybody wants. But the arrogant 20th-century urban planners said - we'll create our own completely revolutionary universal things. And they were slightly presumptuous because most are de facto bound to their traditional environment to some extent.

Contemporary urban planners are much more aware of this. For example, you should take a walk in the currently developed neighborhood of "Paris Rive Gauche" next time you stay around here if you haven't yet, that's in the 13th arrondissement.
You'll notice some striking differences with the last century. They're going back to some older-style planning, so to speak (but don't tell them, they don't like to hear it), while carefully managing some better green room to the inner side of an urban lot, so people don't have any unpleasant feeling of promiscuity, like being piled up. That's really skilled.

I'm calling for much more of it to ruin suburban malls messing up the fringes of the burbs. I hate huge malls with large parking lots all around. That is truly awful, butt-ugly.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 10:26 PM
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In fact, I think the most obvious evidence of this contemporary trend I mention is in Bordeaux. They don't like extreme density so much over there, that may feel somewhat oppressive to them. But they're still a legit city, so they love urban streets as we all do.

Over there, in newly developed urban lots, you'll enjoy more room and greenery on the inside a given lot, while buildings are aligned to the outer side of a same lot. I find it simply very skilled. It's great.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2017, 9:26 PM
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2017, 8:15 AM
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Self-driving cars will eliminate the need for most parking soon. When your car can park itself and you can summon it to come back with a smartphone, it doesn't need to be right outside of your apartment, office, restaurant etc.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2017, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
The real problem is that no one, anywhere, can build a proper city anymore. I can't think of a single neighborhood anywhere in the world that I would want to live in that wasn't an established urban center at the turn of the 20th century. A newer building is fine, sometimes (very little from the 1950s-80s), but the urban fabric needs to be very old.

My wife and I were in agreement about the same just yesterday. I said to her how unpleasant newer streets and architecture were compared with older bits. I think happiness sets in for me when I walk or drive in an older district rich or poor, and conversely dissolves when entering postwar ones.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2017, 8:02 PM
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Self-driving and sharing are separate concepts, but let's say the two concepts combine.

They still need to live somewhere. And if the peak time user rate is 500 in a half hour outside the same building, they'll have to be piled up nearby.

Obviously office buildings should have good transit service and cars of any kind should serve a fraction of the occupant count. But they're not going to be a panacea for workplace parking (even while more efficient) or anything else.
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