Baron Haussmann and the redesign of Paris

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Baron Haussmann and the redesign of Paris During the last half of the 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s urban population in western Europe made enormous increases. During this period France’s overall population living in cities increased twenty percent, and in Germany the increase was almost thirty percent. This great flow of people into cities created many problems in resource demands and patterns of urban life. These demands created a revolution in sanitation and medicine. Part of this revolution was the redesigning of cities. G.E. Baron Von Haussmann was the genius behind the new plans for the city of Paris. The redesign of Paris was one of the greatest ambitions for Napoleon III. He wanted to create another London, with large parks and open spaces. It also came out of the need for more efficient housing, wider streets to prevent riots and the building of a sewer system to stop the spread of diseases. The master behind Napoleon’s visions was Baron Von Haussmann, prefect of the Seine. He created the Paris we know today with spacious boulevards and beautiful sights. The redevelopment by Napoleon III and Haussmann consisted of three major parts: streets and buildings, parks, and services. The first major problem with the city before reconstruction was that the streets were very narrow and wound endlessly around the city. These narrow streets had been a problem in that for many years they had been the battlegrounds for strikes against the French government. Haussmann and Napoleon sought to change this by widening the streets and give more structure to their flow. Haussmann saw streets as having two main purposes. The first was for a place to simply live, shop, and a place to socialize for the growing middle class. The second was a way to connect main points of the city. The streets provided rapid access from the railway stations, government buildings, central markets, hospitals and entertainment districts. It also linked the central organs of administration and businesses such as fire department riot police, ambulances, and department store deliveries. This reconstruction of streets could not be done without great demolition of many private buildings.

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