Some Simple Ideas for Improving Urban Regeneration

A simple guide of the unique approach in Paris

Illustrative map from Jenni Sparks

Over the last month, I’ve been to Paris for a couple of days for a short vacation trip (which also marks my last trip at the moment for the year due to the pandemic crisis). And through my exploration in Paris, I can conclude that Paris has become one of my favourite European cities.

First of all, the regeneration of the inner-city areas incorporates a mix of uses and access to green spaces, creating a positive outcome. Paris has the highest density in France, approximately 10,000 inhabitants per square kilometre. Due to its high density, Paris has a high rate of accessibility to public transport for urban regeneration. To note that, the density is not the only explanation for its success in Paris.

Before we get into the example of Paris Rive-Gauche and my focus about regeneration, I will go through a brief background about the French planning history. With the post-industrial society, new approaches are emerging to solve planning challenges in France, including its drainage and water management. During the 1982 decentralisation in France, the local authorities have gained more power to implement planning strategies. However, at that time the multiplicity of urban stakeholders have difficulties making planning decisions. In the 1990s, the national government legalise obligations to consult residents. In this case, the regeneration projects across France have more flexibility to enable the local community to contribute to the design output.

Back to the topic, one of my favourite area, the Paris Rive-Gauche is located in the East of Paris. The name of the Paris Rive-Gauche is also referring to the “Paris of an earlier era”.

Illustrative map from Jenni Sparks

The regeneration project in Paris Rive-Gauche aims to redevelop its industrial wasteland around the train station. During the late 1990s, the project had been put on the court as there were not enough public space and the density was too high. Alternatively, the project ended to be successful based on strong public involvement to ensure the intentions community stakeholders incorporated in the project.

A mixed-use development in the new Paris Rive Gauche district by SeARCH Architects

The role of the development agency and different stakeholders had achieved the best design outcomes. At present, Paris Rive-Gauche is another business district in Paris integrating urban neighbourhood with existing urban landmarks. The area combines a mix of uses including housing, offices, local rails, green spaces and a good accessibility to public transportation.

What can we learn from its success?

The regeneration project have ensured through a public involvement process that their initiatives are aligned to the local community’s aspirations. The French planning instruments and its urban management mechanisms associated with public involvement in decision-making contribute to the overall success for its urban regeneration.



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