All Images Courtesy of the City of Paris The proposed design for the river bank between the Tuileries Gardens and the Musee d'Orsay.
There's a lot going on in Paris these days: the City is in the process of redesigning at least ten different neighborhoods, and a full 10% of its surface space is covered by construction work. Now, Parisians are getting set to give the River Seine a total makeover, by converting its banks, currently mostly covered by highways, to green spaces that will make the banks the new hot spot for cultural activities, sports, and general strolling.
A nighttime view of the same spot.
The Berges de la Seine (Banks of the Seine) project proposes four goals:
- Increase access to the river and make its banks safe
- Make crossing the river easier
- Propose new cultural, economic and sporting activities, available to a wide population, year-round, in a natural setting
- create a new "face" for the banks, more appropriate to the river, while developing biodiversity
That's a lot to accomplish, and over a wide area: the project has targeted at least nine areas along the river for redevelopment (four on the Right Bank, five on the Left). Each area will be redesigned individually, but here are some general points: On the Right Bank, the main goal will be to reduce traffic volume and speed (via traffic lights and reduced speed limits), and to make other forms of transport safer and more viable. On the Left, it's a question of opening up space, for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians, and banning automobile traffic from 2.3 kilometers of river real estate.
The City has invited its residents to propose ideas for ways to remake the banks of the Seine: what sort of cultural activities should be held? Where should sports be played, and what areas should be reserved for pedestrians? To get the creative juices flowing, the project's website has outlined a few proposals. Perhaps the most striking is the planned renewal of the Port des Invalides-Concorde, where the wide bank will be remade into a pedestrian paradise. Check out the before and after:
What this project is, in summary, is an ambitious attempt to reclaim the Seine River's banks for Parisians (and tourists, of course). Areas that have been dedicated to automobile traffic will be converted back to green spaces, which can be credited for maintaining sanity and defeating inequality. At the very least, tourists will have more places to visit, and Parisians will have more places to hide from them.
More ways the City of Lights is going green:
Paris Plans Hydropower Turbines Under Four Seine Bridges
Steamy Metro Riders Heat Parisian Homes (Video News)
Newly Freed from Height Limits, Paris Skyline Ready to Rise