Public space in Paris in the 21st century. A study of changes brought about by new practices

étude - têtière - Espace public parisien au XXIe siècle APBROAPU527

Observation of usages by the School of Architecture of Versailles

This study throws new light on how public spaces are used in an internationally-renowned city. What is going on in the streets? This simple question is the starting point of the study which is trying, first of all, to understand how the transformation of our urban way of life is affecting public spaces and influencing the ways in which they are used.

Next, the study attempts to analyse the results of fact-finding surveys which have been carried out, in order to get a better grasp of how, these days, people are making use of public spaces and sometimes reinventing them to harness their potential. Finally, it delivers an assessment of a large-scale factual analysis covering  25 sites in Paris, which examines the ways in which public spaces are used. The images, commentaries and photographs constitute a resource which could lead to many more forward-looking consultations in the future, going beyond this study which is a first step towards discovering how public spaces function.

This work has been carried out in collaboration with a team of teachers (Trottin and Masson) from the School of Architecture of Versailles, who have developed a method of observing the ways in which public spaces are used, which they first experimented with abroad in 2009 (Shanghai) and which they will continue to explore in Bombay in 2011. The situation in Paris is much enhanced by this comparison of the ways in which public space functions elsewhere as well as by the European findings  of the City of Paris Public Space Mission.

Finally, this study shows that recent developments which have gained enormous momentum this last decade, are influencing the transformation of a public space in the service of urban systems (transport, networks), into a public space in the service of a city on the move and of a shared city. The issue of public space therefore must be addressed to ensure the sustainability of the city.  It is an essential element in the constant struggle against urban heat islands and one of the resources which enable cities to adapt to climate change. These subjects will open many new paths to be explored in the years to come.


Documents to download

  • Public space in Paris in the 21st century APBROAPU527

    Format : pdf, 50.07 MB