Paris Is Its Suburbs: The Promises and Limits of Grand Urbanism
Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto
With the growth of cities beyond their traditional municipal boundaries and the increase in territorial interdependence brought about by globalization, large urban regions around the world are struggling with the question of how to effectively plan in the 21st century. In this talk I offer a critical analysis of the Grand Paris initiative as an in-depth case study of one city’s attempt to confront these dynamics. The Grand Paris project is focused on three main policy sites—architectural reimagining of the regional landscape, improved transportation in the suburbs, and governance streamlining at the metropolitan scale. I argue that the making of Grand Paris as a legible and functional metropolis proceeds through a distinctive mode of global city development, grand urbanism, whereby the state invests in infrastructural megaprojects in order to mobilize suburban space in the service of speculative real estate, global finance, and private enterprise. I read Grand Paris an important episode in the history of Paris and as a key exemplar of a more generic paradigm of governing bigness based on planning and policy-making in pursuit of regional gentrification.
The Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS) is an initiative of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
All lectures are free and open to the public; refreshments are provided. For more information or to make program suggestions, email email@example.com.