Conclusion: Constructing the Paris of Tomorrow

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:
Conclusion: Constructing the Paris of Tomorrow

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In 1964, the architect Noël Boutet de Monvel published a study entitled Les Demains de Paris, in which he warned that unless steps were taken to ensure the survival and prosperity of Paris, the city would experience a rapid decline in thirty years. Despite Boutet's assertions about dire ailment and dismal failure, a great deal of progress had already been made toward turning Paris into the symbol of a vigorous French nation. A series of grand-scale modernist redevelopment projects and monumental trophy buildings was radically reshaping the notion of urban place. From the late 1940s through the end of the 1950s, however, Paris was the terrain of poetic humanism. By focusing on humanism as a counterdiscourse, this book has turned away from notions of urban planning as feeble or defeated. Instead, it has demonstrated a rich public sphere, made even more dramatic by visual media. The postwar reconstruction years were a transformative moment, a theatrum mundi. Traditional uses of public space resurfaced alongside new forms of civic life.

Keywords: Paris; redevelopment; urban planning; poetic humanism; visual media; reconstruction; public space; civic life

Chapter.  2557 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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