Walk21: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Post-Oil Strategies for Paris:

History can tell us where the robustness of urban structures has been proved by its users, by objects and by space[1]. The knowledge gained from spatial emergence and spatial agency[2] (i.e. morphology, accessibility and connectivity, modal split, density, scales as well as place) can be applied to find out how urban mobility and land use have changed over the course of time and can thus contribute to future town-planning concepts. We are focusing on walkability and, inter alia, energy efficiency.

Paris Sketch Dembski

Taking Paris as an example, we analyze how its urban system has evolved and which structures have remained most robust and have stood the test of time (shifting centres, connectivity, accessibility). Only a well-functioning system consistent across scales can be highly efficient. Consequently, we offer a multi-scalar view on the city, which is based on the assumption that scales, movement and place are inextricably interwoven.

We analyze the urban fabric starting from the baroque grid via Haussmann’s interventions until the implementation of high-ranked road networks installed for automobiles during the 20th century in order to learn more about the potential of robust patterns and how to use them for creating highly efficient and walkable networks for future developments.

Our objective is to create

– a test scenario for potential urban infill developments based on the concept of emergence linked to walkability;

– post-oil strategies using the historic as well as the transformation potential of space-consuming structures in the centre of Paris designed by highway engineers[3] during the 20th century.

Fabian Dembski

lecture in the framework of the workshop “Smart and Resilient Cities” (abstract) at Walk21 conference, Vienna (workshop together with: Thomas Madreiter (chair) and Lucia Martincigh), 21/10/15.

Boulevard Peripherique Paris Dembski

[1]Guigueno, Vincent in: Préface. In: Passalacqua, Arnaud: La Bataille de la Route, Paris: Descartes&Cie, 2010, pp. 9-10

[2]Hillier, Bill: The Genetic Code for Cities: Is It Simpler Than We Think? In: Juval Portugali (Ed.): Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age, New York: Springer 2012, pp. 129-152

[3]Marshall, Stephen: Streets and Patterns. Oxon and New York: Spon Press 2005, pp. 6-17

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