Chapter

Planning Paris

in The Heroic City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226870236
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226870175 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226870175.003.0008
Planning Paris

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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The City of Light was actually a sordid place in the late 1940s and 1950s. There was little to recommend it as a vision of the future. Yet it was in the unique circumstance of World War II's trauma and destruction that the city was imagined in a new form. The image of Paris was that of France, and the capital lay at the heart of national sentiment. Numerous challenges confronted technocrats as they pored over the city's maps, plans, and statistical data. The overhaul of vast areas of the central district on the Right Bank and the Left Bank as well as the ringed zone et fortif was at stake. Urban planning was an attribute of state power and centralization as well as an instrument of social engineering. This chapter situates professional urbanists as one set of actors in a broader political drama about the terms of modern collective life. It places them within a public universe in which urbanism and architecture functioned as forms of political and social power.

Keywords: Paris; urban planning; urbanism; architecture; social power; centralization; social engineering; state power; Right Bank; Left Bank

Chapter.  21263 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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