Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More towers in Paris?


Should there be more towers in Paris? If you look at this photo - that I took in the 13th arrondissement - I bet you'll probably answer "no way"! And though providing Paris is one of the smallest cities in the world (105 km² - 40 sq. miles*) and that the price of housing is way too high for a lot of people, our mayor is considering building new towers for housing. A very difficult decision to make, providing that according to polls, Parisians clearly don't want new ones... If you want to have a look at the projects, check the video here. (*) As a comparison, the area of London is 1 579 Km2 (610 sq. miles) and Berlin 891,75 km2 (344 sq. miles).

42 comments:

  1. You posted really early tonight Eric!
    The accommodation is a real problem here, but it's true that I prefer Paris without sky scrappers... So what is the solution?...

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  2. Congratulations Guille! :) Oh, hearing the potential news of more high rises in Paris is plain distressing. Paris is perfect the way she is, pretty Paris, lovely buildings and cafes of Paris. The tall building are suffocating (imo). Gag, gag, gag...3 days in NYC and I am dreaming of cow pastures. Thanks for the info and another great photo Eric.

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  3. This question always makes me smile. It is the same question people face in rural areas on the edges of cities. "Don't build anything new, don't change anything." But then, they can't find a place to live when they retire or sell their large home and property, their children can't find a place to live, and nothing is affordable to average citizens. If a city doesn't spread out, it must grow UP. The only other option is to sterilize the citizens so there is no population growth. Anyone support that option?

    I believe one of the problems with new growth--homes in suburban developments or towers in central cities--is that they are designed in a rather unemotional, soul-less, yes, I'm going to say it: Modern way. A Modern painting or sculpture is visually and intellectually interesting, but does that design bring humanity and warmth to a home? Peut etre, mai....pas? 20th Century apartment blocks typically are damn ugly and unhuman. Can design resolve the condundrum?

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  4. Well. They don't look great and i'm sure it cannot be perfect to live in them, but what is the alternative if an ever-growing population needs housing?

    Guille: Yay! did you feel a quite ridiculous sense of excitement in being first too? Weird, huh. lol.

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  5. Yes Lynn! And a little bit ashamed now. LOL.

    There is no alternative. Or maybe it could be a good idea to build better modes of transports to permit to suburbians who work in Paris (even from far suburbs) to come quickly. In this manner, there will be no need to build towers to provide accomodations. The problem is that it could create a sort of ghetto too: all the wealthy people in the city and all the very poor outside.I don't know.

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  6. Or... perhaps the richer outside, near les espaces verts, and the poorer cramped in the city? Who knows.

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  7. I'm usually the one who'd be first to say that all French erections are grand, but I have to admit that in this case I'd be very wrong.

    Very cool photo, Eric!

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  8. Well said, Suzy.

    Paris: don't do it! Nobody goes to downtown L.A. anymore if they can help it. Guess why?

    "We'll always have Paris." Maybe not.

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  9. LOL Suzy!

    I say non, non et non! The one and only time I went to Montparnasse - I was totally turned off by la Tour - too modern! I love Paris as is - please no changes!

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  10. They are building condo towers all over downtown Nashville, too. I am not wild about it. For one thing, I wonder who is going to buy all of these things. And, when so many of them are empty, what will the developers do? They'll be an eyesore. Oops. . .Sorry to go off on this.

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  11. Suzy, not all French erections are so grand. I'm just saying...

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  12. Well one thing is sure, when Buzzgirl talks, everybody listens! :-)

    So Suzy, if they decided to build another Eiffel Tower, would you be happy? Would we be seeing you comment:

    "EIFFEL TOWER!
    EIFFEL TOWER!
    EIFFEL TOWER!
    ( 2 X )
    EIFFEL TOWER!
    EIFFEL TOWER!
    EIFFEL TOWER!" ?

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  13. Mais enfin! Montparnasse tower is a masterpiece!!
    Ah ah ah.

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  14. New towers could be nice, provided architects and promoters make an effort!
    However, before building new towers, it would probably be more efficient to renew the thousands of empty buildings already existing downtown Paris...

    And, as i am living in the countryside, lost in the middle of nowhere, - though working in Paris ;-( - I am going to be selfish for a minute: I DON'T WANT CITIES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE ;-)

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  15. What we need in Paris is... talented architects!

    I live in the 13eme were Eric took his picture, lucky enough not to see these dull housings nor to live in one

    I think we can't go on pushing out of town people with a moderate or normal income who just can't afford anymore to live in Paris.
    Renting or buying one's flat is really really expensive!

    I know visitors like Paris as it is (so do I), but we can't just perform for tourists inside a museum-town, we need to leed a real life ;o)))
    with local shops, housing, work and entertainment.

    These towers, if any, would be built in places which are presently very ugly and scarcely seen by visitors. No one would want to pull down nice buildings to grow a tower instead

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  16. I don't particularly like towers and would probably not like living in one of them BUT I remember once visiting an 11th floor appartment, which is already high for Paris, and telling to myself that the sight over Paris was not so bad at all.

    So I think that when you are inside towers, it can be pretty nice but from the outside, it is usually never attracting ... (except Eiffel Tower of course, in which nobody lives BTW ...).

    Guille, someone recently told me, the sight at the top of the Montparnasse tower is worthseeing... ;)

    Have a nice day everyone, Co.

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  17. Ensuite que j'ai observé le vidéo certains de ces bâtiments ressembler aux meules de foin. Peut-être il serait meilleur marché de vivre dans la campagne et de prendre le train au bureau.
    Paris devrait préserver son élément historique et romantique. C'est Paris que nous tous aimons.

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  18. Anonyme
    One of the greatest view, yes. But from such a horrible tower lol.

    m.benaut
    You are right, it's the better option.
    But I commuted during 2 years between my parent's (in suburb) and my school in Paris, you can't imagine the time lost in the transports, trains always late, strikes etc. My commuting was around 3hours a day, sometimes more. And my parent's live not that far. My solution now? To live in Paris.

    So let's developping the transport please, to permit to people to live in suburb even if they work/study in Paris.

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  19. Simple but effective photograph. Nice.

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  20. The Chinese will buy them and many will move in. They are also financing many governments of the world including our government. I think building up is much better than taking land away from Nature. Besides that, people are so much closer to the Heaven so many want to end up in. I am surprised.

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  21. OldManLincoln, the Chinese already moved in!!
    These towers, shot by Eric in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, are in the Chinese district of Paris!!

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  22. OldManLincoln, the Chinese already moved in!!
    These towers, shot by Eric in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, are in the Chinese district of Paris!!

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  23. I agree with M.Benaut, specially because I think those living in the towers would not have a very good quality of life.
    But I totally see what Guille is saying, on a daily basis, living far from the city can present some obstacles.

    Don't know what the solution is. But there's no changing Paris skyline. No way. It's been like this for centuries and it shall remain so.

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  24. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think huge towers are allowed to be built within historic Paris. You can find them in La Defense, and where the new library was built across the river (Bercy?) etc.
    This picture, with its generic concrete structures, looks like ANY big city in the world.

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  25. Why not build the "new" ones based on oldre architecture?

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  26. I thought that history had shown (particularly in UK) that social housing in tower blocks tends to produce awful living conditions for the residents. If Paris is to expand they ought to avoid the mistakes of other cities and build lo-rise units or houses and try and create some semblance of community.

    I read somewhere that the authorities were so appalled after the Montparnasse Tower was built that they vowed 'never again'. Great view from up there though!

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  27. Very clever of you Eric, you posted this photo in Black & White, which clearly gives it a bit of a... sad, depressing look. There's not much left to sympathize with it then.

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  28. I think I would even prefer a nice apt in a tower than a comfortable house located 35 km outside Paris... well... I mean probably in the towers our mayor is going to order to respectable and trendy architects, not those on the photo - sorry Eric it is absolutely not against your photo :)

    And I trust them to never build towers in the historic part of Paris. For sure.

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  29. This is a fabulous discussion. I'll throw on some more fuel. If high-rise living is so bad, why do so many people love living in New York? Because they prefer that, with its good and bad things, over other choices. (The poor who were born there have not choice, of course, like all in poverty.) Personally, I would be very unhappy living in a rural location: I would go crazywith boredom. (Ok, ok, more crazy.) But others love living in rural areas and hate the city.

    It is a signature of the suburb that the neighborhoods are routine and boring, but the homes themselves (inside) are very nice. That is, personal space has become the priority over public space (the street dominated by large garage doors and no sidewalks). It is the same with urban towers: stark and cold on the outside but, as somebody said above, very nice inside with impressive views.

    And, Petrea, I'm sorry, but downtown L.A. has some great places and many people living there. I had a gas there two weeks ago. It was bad, I'm told, but it's getting better.

    Many people are right about the historic district. You can save what's valued without prohibiting anything new. You can build new without destroying the old that you care about. It's not either/or. Do both!

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  30. I panicked. I was picturing high rises on Ile de La Cite. Of course no one's going to put skyscrapers in the center of the city. No one wants to kill the tourist trade.

    Jeff, you're right. There's a new project to bring people and business back to downtown L.A. For years there hasn't even been a grocery store there. Our mayor has advocated a "revitalization" of downtown, and a grocery store was the first step. People are excited and beginning to move back to the area.

    I lived in Chicago for ten years and loved it. I didn't live downtown, but many people do. High rise living in the downtown area of Chicago is expensive. It's not for poor people. It's chic. If those buildings are done right, it can be a good solution.

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  31. Great conversation in here!

    More than a few years back San Jose built a new 20+ story building just outside of the regular stack of high rises, so it sticks out like a sore thumb when viewed from a distance. We still haven't found a use for it.

    I think jen has the answer: build the new ones to look like the old ones. Maybe toss in a few bullet holes for effect. Ha!

    Jeff, yes, I would give three big EIFFEL TOWERs for each Eiffel Tower built in Paris. It's only fair.

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  32. Jeff, you come to LA and you don't visit??? Pfft! ;)

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  33. Pont Girl i can't find the pink pic! It's on my other laptop which is in repair and the original is somewhere in the loft! Ohhhh but i shall try to get it at some point lol!

    Oh yeah and Michael came to the UK and didn't visit. Pfft!

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  34. Please do find it, Lynn! They are such bad boys - quelle rudeness ;)

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  35. And Michael often comes to Brazil and doesn't visit either. Double Pfft !!!


    I love one of the comments from a french about the video in the link Eric provided:
    "Et si c’est pour changer la pierre en verre et nous faire des formes toutes biscornues, eh bien bravo messieurs les architectes, retournez donc à vos Legos !

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  36. Jeff. "This question always makes me smile. It is the same question people face in rural areas on the edges of cities. "Don't build anything new, don't change anything."
    Soooo true. Same with social housing: "ONE" should definitely build social housing"... but not next to my door!!

    Lynn "perhaps the richer outside, near les espaces verts, and the poorer cramped in the city? Who knows."
    Interesting, because for a while, in some countries that is what happened: richer people would move to the rich suburbs. I don't think it's true anymore.

    Suzy. LOOOOOOOOOOL

    Pont Girl. "I was totally turned off by la Tour ". You're right, it's ugly, but one can build superb towers, I'm sure.

    Buzz Girl. "Suzy, not all French erections are so grand. I'm just saying..." From what I remember, you have more expertise on Scottish architecture than French one, don't you... ;)

    Thib "New towers could be nice, provided architects and promoters make an effort!" I agree with that.

    Lili "I know visitors like Paris as it is (so do I), but we can't just perform for tourists inside a museum-town, we need to leed a real life ;o))) with local shops, housing, work and entertainment. I agree with that too ;)

    "The Chinese will buy them and many will move in." (OldmanLincoln) Thib, isn't this ironic?!

    PHX-CDG. in fact it's now forbidden to build buildings that are taller than 37 meters, period. But precisely, the mayor wants to change the law. And no, new towers would certainly not be built in the center of Paris.

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  37. I would have thought any new development would be built on the outskirts of the Peripherique? There are plenty high buildings to be found there.

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  38. The thing I love the most about Paris is her stunning symmetry. Why puncture the city with towers? Not to mention the last thing Paris needs are HLM's au centre-ville. Hopefully monsieur le maire will come to his senses, there is still plenty of room on the periphique. The city should go outwards as it always has, not upwards....

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  39. Tiens tiens le chinatown :)

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