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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

Reinventing the Seine: Paris will call for project proposals in February

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In conjunction with the “Reinventing Paris” competition, the City of Paris is looking to refresh its riverbanks. Accordingly, it will launch a new call for innovative projects next month along with Rouen, Le Havre and other riverside towns.

Eager to renovate its cityscape, the French capital will soon be the scene of a new project called “Réinventer la Seine,” or “Reinventing the river Seine.” In February, the City will launch a call for proposals from property developers, leisure center designers and cultural operators to renew and enhance its riverbanks.

This landscaping initiative will extend outside of Paris to two other Seine-side cities, Rouen and Le Havre in Normandy, as well as other riverside towns and urban communities. Its objective is to develop new uses for riverbanks in urban settings.

The project could involve some 80 sites. In Paris, the banks of the Saint-Denis, la Villette and Ourq canals are concerned, among others. Jean-Louis Missika, the Parisian deputy in charge of urban planning has said: “we are in the process of identifying sites along the Seine and canals that can host projects.”

He adds that “the idea is to reclaim the banks of the Seine and major canals and waterways in order to create a harmonious coordination of different uses for the riverbanks: leisure and cultural activities, industry and logistics, as well as other innovative uses.” The final objective is to create riverside areas where citizens can enjoy themselves, discover cultural exhibits as well as work.

This new incentive is inspired by the “Reinventing Paris” competition launched last year, a large-scale project aimed at renovating or rebuilding various landmarks across the capital. The operating rules between both developments differ slightly, however. Firstly because this new incentive will see most activities and installations set up temporarily — as opposed to the 23 sites involved in “Réinventer Paris,” which aims to permanently renovate selected spots and buildings — and because each municipality will be in charge of choosing the project they want to develop on their own territory.

Jean-Louis Missika has explained that this new call for projects should “go faster than ‘Reinventing Paris’ because the process is more informal” and will involve more “temporary and demountable installations.” So quickly in fact that some projects could see the light as early as end 2016. Other more in depth redevelopments of large sites may take four to five years to plan and implement.

Today all affected municipalities and other stakeholders have already agreed on undertaking the redevelopment project but site selection and project choice, planning and management will occur on a rolling-basis, according to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

In parallel, the 23 winning projects of the “Reinventing Paris” competition will be announced in early February. These will be awarded on the basis of their “innovative character and social utility” to 23 teams out of the 75 finalists chosen last year.

Photo credit: Wikimedia / SiefkinDR

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