Paris Is Plotting a Greener, Slower Beltway

Paris beltway imagined new
A rendering of the reimagined Paris beltway. (Credit: Céline Orsingher)

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s reelection manifesto calls for a green revamp of the Boulevard Périphérique, the city’s car-clogged inner ring urban highway.

By Feargus O’Sullivan

Like so many cities, Paris is girdled by beltways — several of them, in fact. The innermost and most notorious one is known as the Boulevard Périphérique,  a 22-mile-long ring road completed in 1973 and built in part upon the footprint of the city’s historic walls. The traffic-clogged urban highway plays a major role in Parisian mobility, but it’s also a prime contributor of pollution, both atmospheric and aural, as well as an all-but-impassable barrier severing the historic city from its inner suburbs. Last year, Paris deputies proposed downsizing the Périphérique, removing vehicle lanes and dropping speed limits to transform the road from a smog-spewing limited-access highway into a tree-lined “metropolitan avenue.”

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France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

In a win for planet Earth, as of 2015 all commercial buildings in France must have at least partial coverage of their rooftop in solar panels or plants.

In this time of doomsday-like predictions where our environmental health is concerned, it’s all hands on deck. We are coming to the conclusion, hopefully not too late, that every little bit of conservation counts.

There is a shift in general consciousness that’s begun to happen. We’re becoming aware of the impact we humans have, and the myriad ways we make that impact. With the purchase of a plastic water bottle as opposed to a reusable one. Using grocery store bags instead of bringing your own. Buying new when used would be perfectly acceptable. These are a few examples of shifts that have started taking place. We see now, how easy it is to carry our own bottle, or our own bag, or shop consignment.

It’s been far too easy, for far too long, to buy into the idea that we as individuals don’t have an impact. One bottle won’t make a difference. One bag won’t hurt anything. But not only is that incorrect, but it also doesn’t really speak to the heart of the matter, which is that we’re all in this together. How we individually live, is how we collectively live. So, not only can one person have a huge impact, we have somewhat of an obligation at this point, to us and to each other, to live as we do. To act like it’s all connected – because it is [ . . . ]

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Nuit Blanche 2018. Danse avec les arbres – Saint-Merry

Imagine Saint-Merry on Saturday, October 6th. A procession of trees hanging in the nave and a carpet of leaves. Daniel Van de Velde, sculptor, writes to the community of the Pastoral Center and presents himself through his work.

These are trees, but not as you are used to seeing them. Eighteen trees fell after a storm, segmented, recessed, of which only the last growth rings remain, their most recent memory. They are suspended in the nave or placed on the floor of the church, a musical creation celebrates them. They are on a carpet of soft leaves walking. Trees in majesty, such as recumbent, not kings of stone to honor, but subjects of nature to protect.

This work will remain visible during the day, for a week.

The tree is a recurring subject in the exhibitions of Saint-Merry, which we remember in 2010, “Forests” of Eva Jospin or previously  or finally the summer exhibition 2013 , but, in 2018, the tree will dialogue with the whole architecture.

Jean Deuzemes

Source: Nuit Blanche 2018. Danse avec les arbres – Saint-Merry