Photo: ,a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/samfelder/">Sam Felder under a Creative Commons license.
If you've spent time in Paris, you've certainly seen the work of French designer Patrick Jouin, and maybe you've even ridden one. Last year, the designer of the Vélib' turned his attention away from transportation and to another, more basic need: going to the bathroom. Now installed throughout the city, Paris' new public toilets are cleaner, greener, and wheelchair accessible. Called sanisettes, the 400 restrooms use rainwater, saving 30% of water used. Lighting is taken care of by a skylight, with a low-energy lighting system there for nighttime, and a movement sensor to make sure the lights aren't left on when no one's home. 100% of the energy used comes from renewable sources, including wind and solar. The sanisettes are made of steel, concrete, and aluminum, durable and recyclable materials.
Free, self-washed after every use, heated in winter and equipped with ambiance music, these public toilets look pretty comfy. We'll have to wait and see how they hold up to the vandalism problems that plague the Vélib' system, and if they can be kept free from prostitutes and Paris' homeless. But so far, they look like a good solution to a basic urban problem.
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More on public restrooms:
Terrific Toilets by Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmson
Composting Toilets on the Rise: Are They Coming to a City Near You?
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