In contrast, 20's century urbanism projects - even on a smaller scale - are almost always considered a failure ex post. In Paris itself, walk yourself through the Les Olympiades area, from Tolbiac down to Porte d'Italie, if you like an impressive testament to that fact. Some other favorites in Europe to google are "Berlin Marzahn" and "Hannover Ihme Zentrum". There are of course many more.
I wonder if there are contemporary developments that will, some day, be considered truly beautiful.
But it manages to give a pretty cosy impression, and with a night life that punches much above the weight of its population otherwise would indicate. Also they gave some good crepes there.
But it failed to be attractive to the intended audience - well off young workers and families. It is not a slum and never was, but it did not turn out have the demand.
If you look at it now, it seems downright ugly. There's space, yes, but it's so much concrete, so many bleak looking high rises.
It certainly isn't "beautiful" in the sense of the rest of Paris (except if you appreciate that sort of architecture, which I actually do).
Which is sad because it’s next to one of the nicest neighbourhoods in the city (Cabbagetown).
Interesting take, not supported by the Wikipedia article. Don't Canadian police have access to bikes, motorcycles, or (gasp) horses that might access areas where cars can't go?
What the Wikipedia article does say is this: "The apartments lacked appeal though, poorly constructed, and with a lack of amenities to support the density spike; many prospective tenants instead moved to suburban houses in the developing areas of Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York. The area quickly became much poorer. Four buildings were later built by the province to provide public housing."
Shoddy housing attracts those who can't afford better, and poverty breeds petty crime, that much is true. Blaming it on missing car access is original. Personally I would be more worried about access difficulties for firefighters.
The idea of these concrete enclosed blocks of land being havens for crime and gangs is hardly controversial.
This isn’t the open walkable streets of some nice European city or even downtown Toronto. It’s isolated and poorly maintained. Basically what people have come to expect from city run and planned housing from the past generations.
Don't underestimate just how lazy and safety obsessed Cops, so they'd need a partner to go with them to enter on foot.
Police do bike through once in a while when it's summer, usually in groups of 4-6 but Toronto isn't always accessible by bike during winter. Plus I rarely saw bike cops at night like you do cars cruising around.
These isolated places with towering buildings, tons of concrete, and only roads deep outside on the edges creates an excellent environment for shootings, robberies, and drug dealing to take place.
Either way it increases the effort it takes and almost all of them have full time security on site as the problems are constant.
Down the road there are 3 large buildings one by one lined on a major road which are equally in disrepair and impoverished, and they dont have people constantly hanging out side against the walls next to rear stairwell entrances, while everyone else is scared to go there at night. The keep their business inside or out of view.
There's a hundred examples of these places that are set up like this in NYC and Chicago.
Cabrini Green had the same issue with too many enclosed areas where people hung around constantly. The design was counter to open and friendly:
They are called "Angsträume", translation is "spaces of fear". Dark, secluded spaces, staircases and so forth, where people feel unsafe.
> These isolated places
How are they isolated? There are perfectly fine streets and parking lots there.
What do you mean roads only on the edges?
And where are the dark alleys? Are there no public street lights?
> and they dont have people constantly hanging out side against the walls next to rear stairwell entrances, while everyone else is scared to go there at night.
What? So what if people are hanging out somewhere? Are they disturbing the tenants? Do they do something illegal? Do people report them to law enforcement? Does law enforcement act on this?
People use trucks to move their stuff/furniture there. There are proper paved streets, parking places and so on. You can check on any satellite view service.
>In the ranking of the best places where to live in Helsinki ... Eastern Pasila is ranked 92nd, out of 94 different parts of Helsinki.
Why did you call it _Les_ Olympiades, and not Olympiades (no article) or _the_ Olympiades (article in English), or _les_ Olympiades (no capitalization of the article) ?
For Porte d'Italie, you did not add any article, i.e. Porte d'Italie and not _La_ Porte d'Italie. Why the difference?
Interestingly, both articles first words are "Les Olympiades", but:
* "Les" is in bold in the English one, as if it was part of the name, while only "Olympiades" is in bold in French
* The French article says "the Olympiades are" while the English one say "the Olympiades is".
Porte d'Italy on the other hand is clear, there's only one interpretation, and therefore the article is not part of the name.
I am not saying this is right, just my brain doing brain things.
I apologize if correctness is important for you, I will try to be more precise going foward.
I recall Ukrainians objecting to the English-speaking world's fixation on calling their country "the Ukraine" instead of just "Ukraine." The propensity to just append articles to nouns to facilitate flow is hard to overcome.
It's a little bit like how native English speakers tend to regard accent marks as largely optional decoration.
Country Names and 'The': The Ukraine or Ukraine
And also because people who speak about Les Olympiades in English call it Les Olympiades, in a deliberate effort to distinguish it from the Métro station.
Native speakers usualllly ignore the articles from another language unless there was a cultural reason not to. It also just sounds better to my native ear.
Adding the Les gives Olympiades more context. The extra word provides clues that this is a straight foreign word that should be treated differently. Port d'Italie is already two words, so extra context isn't necessarily needed.
Like many things in English, it's up to the speaker/writer, and the context.
Do we still build buildings that will withstand the times to just get to our great-grandchildren though ? Or are we just biased because only the good ones remain from the 19 century ?
(The neighborhood around Olympiades is from the 60s though).
By whom? It's a matter of perspective. If you're into architecture and design you'll care more about the practicality and function of the building than it's exterior appearance. A sterile exterior then becomes an indicator that the budget went into what matters most.
In my personal opinion, the exterior of buildings (excluding windows) should all be considered public space, they should be open for decoration, like street art, mural paintings etc., so this problem would be solved by the people who live there and take action.
By those who live in them and by those that visit them.
Those who design them and those who write design critiques don't matter at all, and should not even have a voice (at least not one anybody should care about). The best buildings, people take pride living in, and coming from abroad to admire, were built that people we don't even know their name, many even designed and built by craftsmen (as opposed to university-studied architects).
>If you're into architecture and design you'll care more about the practicality and function of the building than it's exterior appearance
The exterior appearance is part of the practicality and function of the building. A bleak appearance can crush the soul, destroy any community pride, and even make people physically ill. Humans are not cattle (though even cattle deserve better).
A painted and decorated facade could change the exterior impression completely.
The problem is more the large scale uniformity and a lack of variance, like housing complexes that all look the same, not individual buildings.
Here's an extreme kitsch example: https://www.dezeen.com/2019/01/18/drone-abandoned-turkish-ch...
It matters what scale you experience it - you can notice cool individual trees when you're hiking, but not when you're driving. As more travel became motorized vs pedestrian/horse, there was less and less reason to prioritize street-level beauty. Also, cars opened up so much land that there was less redevelopment, so a lot of buildings are the first buildings ever built on that site.
First, reception by audiences such as tourists. What is on their vacation photographs? Boulevards, or high rises of Italie 13?
Second, by the people who live there. The Olympiades never attracted the successful young professionals they were intended for, and in that sense, were not successful in their design.
It may indeed often be the case that some modernist areas are in fact quite nice and comfortable to live in - I do not know. But at the very least they did not turn out to be as desirable as they were planned.
Perhaps an aspect of it Parisian's Paris and tourist's Paris is fundamentally different, and the current leadership is more or less trying to undo a lot of what Haussman stood for to make Paris friendlier to live for Parisians. Whole blocks are closed cars to bring back shops and 'village' like environment.
Modern residential neighbourhoods are rebuilt with lacy paths, cul de sacs, pedestrian/car cohabitation, closer concentration of housing.
A lot of what Haussmann did was beneficial from a health perspective, but we know we can solve these issues in other ways, an I don't think most planners would do it the way Haussmann did if they had the choice to go back in time.
It's not just Haussmann either, most countries had that tension around letting cars dominate or not (there was an excellent 99pi episode about these tensions ), it just happened that one side massively won benefiting from economics, politics and power distribution.
Haussmann succeeded mostly because of the emperor's constant backup and the basically no limit budget he got from him. Once these backings were gone he was out of the game.
He wasn't otherwise very well supported by the people. I kinda like this quote:
> In his memoires, Haussmann had this comment on his dismissal: "In the eyes of the Parisians, who like routine in things but are changeable when it comes to people, I committed two great wrongs; over the course of seventeen years I disturbed their daily habits by turning Paris upside down, and they had to look at the same face of the Prefect in the Hotel de Ville. These were two unforgivable complaints."
Yes Haussman was definitely wrong when he planned a city for cars.
More seriously just check paintings or videos of Paris before the expansion of individual cars.
It was highly walkable.
Or because we think it was worth it, in the end.
This. I mean if the people put up with the problems caused by the new construction, I believe they deserve credit for being pro-civilization. Not the "oh no, look their old world is gone" nonsense. Surely nobody rebuilt the city for garnering sympathy.
The old mediaeval city was destroyed to essentially disenfranchise the working poor. No longer would they have strong defensive positions in small winding streets during revolution, they were also displaced from the city centre to make space for the wealthy and elite.
Money and power weren't working towards a pro-civilisation agenda. They were working in their own self interest against the struggling masses.
For example, the state knocks down existing dwellings to build more roads so it is easier for the army to rapidly mobilize and crush unrest.
The state begins to require all subjects to have a last name, where the people themselves have no real need of one, in order to better identify individuals for more effective taxation.
It's worth a read, both for the appreciation of how it plays out in the world, and also as a source of interesting analogies for how other regimes, such as large hierarchical organisations, will embark on grand projects to attempt to make the surrounding environment more legible and tractable to centralised control and governance.
They were always for the purpose. While there are rightful aspects to complain about the displacement sanitation and boulevards were good things even if their motives were ulterior.
Taking for granted that that is nonsense, is the same error, a blind belief that any novelty is better than what it replaces.
There were political motivations behind the change (and impact on the population at the time) not just some noble march towards better.
To give a simple example, bulldozing down Venice to build some Mall-ridden monstrosity that looks like 20000 other places in the world, would not be better in any way, and people would be right to lament about that "old world" being gone.
(Of course many moderns, especially Americans having no history, live in a perpetual now, and can't put things into perspective. They judge all things like mobile phone models, the newer the better).
TBF the people who were affected by them were just shoved out of the city center.
Today, when the change has settled down, and nobody lives that remembers before him, no. At his time, and for a while, he was.
He basically documented the streets, shops, crafts, people of Paris at the end of the XIXth century, before most of the old and derelict housing were demolished and replaced with the "modern" ones we see today.
As someone who has had to rent in the horrible Paris market, I don't see how everyone being "dependent on the will of the landowners and the owners of the houses in Paris" has changed.
I didn't come here for a who-is-more-cosmopolitan dick-waving contest. But if you did, do feel free to entertain us with your personal horror stories from Stockholm, Dublin, and San Francisco.
> Paris is a bit expensive but apart from that the rental market works fine.
Landlords require you to bring a CV and a work contract and proof of income, which must be 3x the rent, otherwise you must bring documentation from a guarantor who does have that much and who is resident in France. You must also bring receipts proving that you paid your rent on time the last three months. (Sure, this is not a big deal per se, except that other countries don't even have this kind of receipt, or you might be coming from some arrangement where you did not (officially) pay rent.) Don't you also have to bring a valid renter's insurance policy? There was almost certainly other stuff I forgot; I remember seeing people at viewings with bunches of paper centimeters thick. Some of this is difficult (read: impossible) for someone just moving to France.
If you don't have these documents, they could be nice and welcoming and try to accommodate you. Or they could just pick one of the 20 people who showed up to the same viewing and who did bring 100 pages of crap. In my limited experience, they do the latter. Overall, "fine" isn't the word I'd choose to describe this.
> I wouldn't say the same of Stockholm, Dublin or San Francisco
"X isn't quite as shitty as San Francisco" is faint praise indeed.
For our current apartment in another EU capital my partner and I were asked informally what we did for a living. I mentioned my income, but I think it was without being asked explicitly. I was prepared to show my work contract as proof, but they never asked. Those were all the required "formalities" before we were given the contract to sign.
Rents around here are rising at a rate of something like 7% per year, so it's not like there's too much housing, but it's not quite as constrained as elsewhere.
The prevalence of this view in the tech community is especially ironic considering that San Francisco was a far nicer city to live in 50-60 years ago (in general, of course - not for every segment of the population.)
There's an architectural movement to come back to these more human-sized city designs too: smaller streets, more mixed use, less emphasis on large (and motorised) transportations, incorporation of structural shading and breeze-shaping, ...
From the perspective of today the problem was that the families living in the small apartments was way too big and did not pay enough rent to maintain the buildings. They just did not have enough rich single professionals willing to pay chic apartments and studios back then.
Or student with rich parents seeking a studio downtown.
Rent wasn't high back then.
Of course not. This isn't a call for a return to poverty and disease. It's about the organic neighbourhoods, architecture and street layouts that are gone forever and replaced with centrally planned layouts and homogenous buildings.
One of the reasons I think London is a better city than Paris (in my opinion, obviously - I've lived in both) is that it has, whether through accident or design, managed to retain significant numbers of it's medieval streets and diverse, centuries-old buildings while also embracing modernity.
Where as in Paris you have a rather homogenous city, mostly all built in the same era, in London you can walk a few blocks and be transported through centuries.
Barring the great fire (and I suspect there will have been similar events in paris as well) There was no one architect or style that completely flattened the victorian london.
The strand, which is now a large paris style boulevard was a semi-slum/porn publishing district. Around the houses or parliament was a spectacularly large slum.
https://publicdomainreview.org/2016/06/29/the-secret-history... (warning Victorian porn. NSFW)
This did mean that in the 1920-40s there was a massive expansion into the "suburbs" to escape the slums, poverty and diseases of central london. This is a decline that has only really just reversed in the last 20 years. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_London)
The crucial thing was that "social" housing was placed in every borough of the city, not just on the outskirts. The highest density of social housing is in southwark, which is opposite both the houses of parliament and the "city". I imagine its the equivalent of building ~80k houses exclusively for the poor in the 6th and 7th arrondissement
Paraphrased from wikipedia on the term fairy tale - is mainly used for stories with origins in European tradition, originally meaning a little story from a long time ago when the world was still magic. Tales were told or enacted dramatically, rather than written down, and handed down from generation to generation.
Wikipedia on Paris - The Parisii inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. This meeting place of land and water trade routes gradually became an important trading centre. The Parisii traded with many river towns and minted their own coins for that purpose.
During the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, was determined to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe.
And from this post - Costly confusion, the triumphant vulgarity, the awful materialism that we are going to pass on to our descendants. ... Thousands of people were forced from their homes to make way for luxury buildings that the former tenants would not be able to afford. The overcrowding turned Paris into an “immense workshop of putrefaction, where misery, the plague, and disease work together in harmony,”. One way to successfully quell rebellion then was to to insulate the rich from the poor. The social ills that helped motivate the 1848 revolution did not disappear with the renovation of Paris and the subsequent restructuring of its social life. They may have even been made worse by the stratification of urban life,
A lot of times people talk about particular aspects of a period, or in general, of objects, not absolutely everything that comes with it.
You don't need to bind every thing to its context entirely.
Barcelona in particular went through its own Haussmann-style revamps throughout the years, in the XIX century but also for the 1992 Olympics, giving its current and impressive urban layout. 
But the thing is I fell in love with Madrid. Its narrow streets downtown, some of them eerie mazes, make living here quite the authentic and unique urban experience.
My sense of distance was thrown off by how monstrously huge the Arc is. I don't know where they take the pictures of it from, but standing across the street from it I had to just about stand on my head to get the whole thing into frame on my camera.
And as big as the Arc is, the Napoleonic Louvre is bigger (And, I might add, covered with his initial, like a child marking his belongings). And they additions were made in such a way that from the outside it looks five times bigger than it is. There's a certain element of shock and awe going on here.
The only thing I've seen on a similar scale is the Washington Monument, and you understand why all the pictures of the Lincoln statue make it look like it's immediately behind the pillars. It is not. It's on the far end of a large room, also too big to get into frame. It's just so big that it destroys perspective.
To people confronted with this for the first time, I can see how they might wonder why they didn't stop at a smaller monument. In an era without high rises, there's a bit of grotesquery about the scale of these things. They were paid for on the backs of the lower class. I'm sure it was a very concrete image of the slide back into monarchy.
The only thing I've seen on a similar scale in the US, aside from nature, is the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the monument, you understand why all the pictures of the Lincoln statue make it look like it's immediately behind the pillars. It is not. It's on the far end of a large room, also too big to get into frame. It's just so big that it destroys perspective.
Now, in an era of high rise apartments, the ridiculous proportions prevent these buildings from simply being swallowed in a sea of truly mundane buildings of comparable size. And that is probably why these places have such a tourist draw even today.
A more exact translation would be "peripheral". And unlike what the author asserts, Haussmann’s transformation did not remove all popular lodging from Paris. And I'd say that removing the slums, adding proper sanitations, opening wide boulevards were a good thing.