Comment 29628

By D'Angleterre (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2009 at 12:31:00

Even Paris isn't content with status quo.

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Sarkozy's daring design dreams for a new 'Grand Paris'

In the first major redesign effort since Napoleon III, teams of architects offer ideas to reignite the City of Light.

By Susan Sachs | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the March 19, 2009 edition

Paris - Kings, emperors, generals, and presidents have all tinkered with the city.

It's been walled, razed, and excavated. In the zeal of modernization that seized planners in the 1970s, its skyline was pierced by a single 59-story skyscraper and its boundaries fixed in concrete by an eight-lane beltway.

Paris is once again on the drawing board. Commanded by President Nicolas Sarkozy to reimagine the capital as a "world class city," teams of internationally known architects have come up with 10 strategies for creating a metropolitan area known as Grand Paris – it's the first major redesign since the Napoleonic era.

Their ideas range from the prosaic to the fanciful. But they all say that Paris – its public transit system saturated, its periphery spoiled by ugly housing projects, and its suburbs an undefined sprawl of disconnected towns – does not work.

"It's slowly losing its vitality," says award-winning Paris architect Jean Nouvel. "What we laughingly call regional development is finished. If we want to maintain the prestige of Paris, we have to look after it."

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