One of the biggest challenges facing cities in the 21st century is how to make them more people friendly. Parts of many cities have been left to rot, or have been neglected, thanks to decades of car-dominated thinking. This car-focussed, and individualistic, urban design has made discourse around making cities people friendly hard; it’s time for that to change.
Cities around the world have been trying different tactics to get people to embrace people-friendly design. From Paris to Calgary here are some ways that urban planners have been using to get people to think less about cars and more about places.
Since 2006, the mayor’s office has hosted Paris-Plages (“Paris Beaches”), a temporary artificial beach installed along the River Seine during the summer months. Residents and tourists alike can be spotted walking, cycling, playing sports, sunbathing, drinking and dining along the river, in a corridor that sees 43,000 cars per day during the remaining 10 months of the year. However, 10 years of seasonal summer closures have been enough to convince Parisians that this stretch of motorway is expendable, and in September, council voted to permanently pedestrianize it. Mayor Anne Hidalgo heralded the decision, calling it the “end of the urban motorway in Paris, and the reconquest of the Seine.”
Paris-Plages, along with the weekly Paris Respire open street events and the fledgling P’tit Vélib’ bike share for kids, are some of the creative ways Hidalgo is helping Parisians rethink their city streets.
Thanks to Delaney!