Tag Archives: paris

UrbaChina final conference, Paris: research findings

The UrbaChina final conference was held in Paris on January 15-16, at the Palais de Chaillot.

During this event, UrbaChina consortium members presented their findings and final recommendations on the research project. This was the occasion for holding productive discussions among participants on topics related to sustainable urbanisation in China, such as the rural-urban integration, the hukou system, the definition (or lack of definition) of the concept of ecocity, the consequences of the tax sharing system on local development, etc.

Several presentations were dedicated to case studies on the four cities examined by the UrbaChina consortium (Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming and Huangshan).

All the ppt presentations will be accessible soon.


Members of the stakeholder committee: Dwight Perkins, Françoise Ged (Cité de l’Architecture), Meng Jianjun (Tsinghua University), Michel Prouzet (Barreau de Paris), Yuan Zhigang (Fudan University), Bernard Yvetot (Orange) made some constructive remarks and emphasized the importance of the multidisciplinary approach to the studies of urbanization in China.

We’d like to thank Françoise Ged for having opened the doors of this institution to our guests. ((La Cite du Patrimoine et de l’Architecture, is opened to the public, and we strongly encourage you to visit this place when in Paris).

We’d like also to thank the staff of the CECMC (The research center on modern and contemporary China ) for the smooth running of this event.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Greening the city: a multimedia animation online


Paris, 25 May 2010

Greening the city: amultimedia animation online.

Against the background of the International Year of Biodiversity and the Shangai 2010 World Expo, this new title of the CNRS Sagascience collection will explore towns through more than 600 photographs, films and interviews.

Urban biodiversity? In people’s minds, biodiversity brings up images of luxurious tropical forests rather than the flora surrounding town trees… Yet, urban ecosystems are increasingly of interest to the public and scientists alike.

Main themes include:

  • What kind of nature do we want to find in towns?
  • How can it be better accounted for in the construction of buildings?
  • What is a a green district?
  • Will towns of the future be green?
  • How does nature help urban dwellers live a better life?
  • How does it help them?

An animation in English, with Chinese subtitles, has been taken from this site to be presented from early June at the France Pavilion throughout the world exhibition in Shanghai.

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

More Posts - Website

A view of the Promenade Plantée in Paris

The Promenade plantée in postindustrial Paris

Heathcott, Joseph. (2013) The Promenade plantée : politics, planning, and urban design in postindustrial Paris. Journal of Planning Education and Research. Prepublished May, 24, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X13487927

La promenade plantée dans le 12e arrondissement de Paris, au niveau de la rue de PicpusAbstract This essay examines the Promenade Plantée in the context of the broader effort to remake Paris for a Postindustrial Age. It traces the political, social, and economic forces that shaped the Promenade’s architectonic form over time, from the production of a national rail system in the nineteenth century to the decline and dereliction of rail lines after World War II, to the reformatting of disused infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, the essay considers the mix of public and private interests that shaped the project’s design, adaptation, and use within the large-scale redevelopment of Eastern Paris.

Read full text on SAGE Journals Online (restricted access)


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

Gentrification in Peking and Paris (I)


“We sense that it is to no purpose to regret the old Paris now, the historical and thinking Paris, whose last exhalations we are now witnessing; the artistic and philosophical Paris (…) where there were once groups, neighbours, neighbourhoods, traditions; where expropriations did not constantly trouble old relationships and the most cherished habits, where the artisan, who is now barred from the city centre by a merciless system, used to live next to the financier (…) Our eyes are full of tears, crying for this old Paris, especially when we see the intolerable “hotellerie”, the expensive confusion, the triumphant vulgarity, the terrible materialism that we are to bequeath to our nephews (…)”

This is an extract from one of the articles written by the journalist Jules Ferry in “Les comptes fantastiques d’Haussmann”. He denounces the colossal work to renovate Paris that was undertaken by Baron Haussmann during his 17 years as prefect of the city (1853-1870). The rebuilding of the city continued well after the end of the Second Empire under the direction of Haussmann’s collaborators, as Haussmann himself was dismissed following the severe criticism he received from his contemporaries. This renovation of Paris was probably the most dramatic of all the transformations the city has undergone to date. Paris had hardly changed for almost three centuries. Modernization brought gas lighting, wide avenues, clean water, modern sewage treatment, trees, public parks, fountains, hospitals, to name but a few changes.

After reading this extract one cannot help but reflect on the disadvantages of the phenomenal transformations that Chinese cities have undergone during the last two decades, in particular the capital, Beijing. In terms that remind us of July Ferry, some of the residents who lived in the thousands of hutong that were once the heartbeat of the city, and are now disappearing, lament their displacement from their inner-city neighbourhoods: “Nowadays, people say that high-level cadres live around the second ring road, while paupers live around the sixth ring road (…).1 It has been calculated that by 2007, approximately 1.5 million Beijing residents had been relocated to suburban areas as a consequence of the rebuilding of the city.2 Many officials are offering words of warning regarding the destruction of the historic architectural heritage: “The traditional streets and ancient buildings are disappearing under the bulldozer”.3 Likewise, the NGO Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center is working to raise awareness and help protect the cultural heritage (http://en.bjchp.org).

Hutongs (Drum and Bell tower neighbourhood), Elosua Miguel

This zoning of social classes or sociospatial reorganization as a result of urban redevelopment is a common feature in both the case of 19th century Paris and modern Beijing. Insufficient compensation prevents residents from staying in central Beijing. Gated compounds where non-residents are excluded likewise proliferate downtown. In Paris, rising rents also drove workers out of the city. It has been said that Haussmann wanted to place populations that were likely to revolt in areas outside of Paris (the city had a turbulent history of revolts, the last one just a few years before the renovations began). The working classes were forced to move to areas ignored by the renovation work. In Beijing, on the contrary, displaced residents have generally seen their housing quality improved, because they have usually moved into newly-built residences which, although far from the city centre, are modern and comfortable.

Obviously, there is also much dissimilarity in the urbanization of 19th century Paris and that of Beijing. In particular, Beijing’s rate of urbanization was only 20% in 1986. It had an urban population of less than one million at that time. Rural counties that served as its food basket made up the greatest part of the city area.4 Paris renovation works, on the other hand, were mainly carried out in the heart of the city. The city’s expansion has always been restrained by its enclosures; it has pushed out beyond only six enclosures in eight centuries, all the while maintaining its circular shape.5

(The second part of the article will be published next Friday)

  1. Hyun Bang Shin (2008) Residential redevelopment and social impacts in Beijing, Wu Fulong, (ed.) China’s emerging cities: the making of new urbanism. Routledge contemporary China series. London, UK []
  2. Campanella, Thomas (2008) The Concrete Dragon. Princeton Architectural Press []
  3. Shan Jixiang, director of China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Xinhua News Agency. June 2, 2006 []
  4. Victor F. S. Sit (2009) Chinese City and Urbanism, Evolution and Development, World Scientific []
  5. Eric Hazan (2002), L’invention de Paris, Editions du Seuil, Paris []

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

More Posts