Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'paris'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Real estate projects
    • Proposals
    • Going up
    • Completed
    • Mass Transit
    • Infrastructures
    • Cultural, entertainment and sport projects
    • Cancelled projects
  • General topics
    • City planning and architecture
    • Economy discussions
    • Technology, video games and gadgets
    • Urban tech
    • General discussions
    • Entertainment, food and culture
    • Current events
    • Off Topic
  • MTLYUL Aviation
    • General discussion
    • Spotting at YUL
  • Here and abroad
    • City of Québec
    • Around the province of Québec.
    • Toronto and the rest of Canada
    • USA
    • Europe
    • Projects elsewhere in the world
  • Photography and videos
    • Urban photography
    • Other pictures
    • Old pictures

Calendars

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Blogs

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.


Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


About Me


Biography


Location


Interests


Occupation


Type of dwelling

Found 81 results

  1. The world's most influential city, une étude de Joel Kotkin, Ali Modarres, Aaron Renn et Wendell Cox, positionne Montréal à la 41ème place des centres de pouvoir d'influence. Londres, New York et Paris se partagent le podium. Toronto figure dans le top 10. Article original: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2014/08/14/the-most-influential-cities-in-the-world/ No. 1: London FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 328 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 68< Air Connectivity: 89%* Global Financial Centres Index Rank: 1 * The air connectivity score is the percentage of other global cities outside the city’s region (e.g., for London, cities outside of Europe) that can be reached nonstop a minimum of three times per week. No. 2: New York FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 143 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 82 Air Connectivity: 70% GFCI Rank: 2 No. 3: Paris FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 129 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 60 Air Connectivity: 81% GFCI Rank: 29 No. 4: Singapore FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 359 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: N/A Air Connectivity: 46% GFCI Rank: 4 No. 5: Tokyo FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 83 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 154 Air Connectivity: 59% GFCI Rank: 5 No. 6: Hong Kong FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 234 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 48 Air Connectivity: 57% GFCI Rank: 3 No. 7: Dubai FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 245 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: N/A Air Connectivity: 93% GFCI Rank: 25 No. 8 (TIE): Beijing FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 142 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 45 Air Connectivity: 65% GFCI Rank: 59 No. 8 (TIE): Sydney FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 111 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 21 Air Connectivity: 43% GFCI Rank: 15 No. 10 (TIE): Los Angeles FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 35 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: N/A Air Connectivity: 46% GFCI Rank: N/A No. 10 (TIE): San Francisco Bay Area FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 49 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 17 Air Connectivity: 38% GFCI Rank: 12 No. 10 (TIE): Toronto FDI Transactions (5-Year Avg.): 60 Forbes Global 2000 HQs: 23 Air Connectivity: 49% GFCI Rank: 11 Autre source : http://www.newgeography.com/content/004475-the-worlds-most-influential-cities Kerney classe Montréal à la 30ème place des villes globales : Source :http://www.atkearney.com
  2. The Global Financial Center Index published by the China Development Institude and Z/Yen partners in London ranks financials centers worlwide based on criterias such as business stability and environnement, technology and assessment by the financial community. Montreal ranks 14th up 1 spot since the last ranking 6 months ago, ahead of cities such as Geneva, Frankfurt or Paris. Highest ranked city in Canada is Toronto in 10th place, London tops chart ahead of New York and Singapore to round top 3. http://www.longfinance.net/images/gfci/gfci_21.pdf
  3. http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/fr-evenements-new-cities-summit/ http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/new-cities-summit/ New Cities Foundation NEW CITIES SUMMIT The New Cities Summit, our flagship event, is the leading global event on urban innovation. The Summit brings together the top entrepreneurs, innovators, change-makers, CEOs, policy makers, investors and thinkers in this space. Our Next New Cities Summit New Cities Summit Montréal 2016 The Age of Urban Tech http://www.newcitiessummit2016.org Our Past New Cities Summits New Cities Summit Jakarta 2015 Seizing the Urban Moment: Cities at the Heart of Growth and Development http://www.newcitiessummit2015.org Read E-Book Dallas - New Cities Summit 2014 New Cities Summit Dallas 2014 Re-Imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis http://www.newcitiessummit2014.org Read E-Book São Paulo - New Cities Summit 2013 New Cities Summit São Paulo 2013 The Human City http://www.newcitiessummit2013.org Read E-Book Paris - New Cities Summit 2012 New Cities Summit Paris 2012 Thinking Ahead, Building Together http://www.newcitiessummit2012.org Read E-Book New Cities Foundation Shaping a better urban future Find out more : Our Mission Blog Members Contact Follow Us Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Sign up to our Newsletter Subscribe © 2016 New Cities Foundation | Credits | Powered by WordPress Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  4. http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/07/paris-wants-landlords-to-turn-vacant-office-space-into-apartmentsor-else/374388/ Paris Wants Landlords to Turn Vacant Office Space Into Apartments—Or Else The city has a surplus of empty commercial buildings that could better serve as residences. And it plans to fine owners who don't convert. FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN <figure class="lead-image" style="margin: 0px; max-width: 620px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Oxygen, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px;"><figcaption class="credit" style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153); font-size: 0.82353em; text-align: right;">Justin Black/Shutterstock.com</figcaption></figure>Leave your office space unrented and we’ll fine you. That’s the new ruledeclared by the city of Paris last week. Currently, between six and seven percent of Paris' 18 million square meters of office space is unused, and the city wants to get this vacant office space revamped and occupied by residents. The penalties for unrented space will be as follows: 20 percent of the property’s rental value in the first year of vacancy, 30 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year. The plan is to free up about 200,000 square meters of office space for homes, which would still leave a substantial amount of office space available should demand pick up. The city insists that, while the sums involved are potentially large, this isn’t a new tax but an incentive. And, if it has the right effect in getting property re-occupied, may end up being little-used. Landlords' groups are taking the new plan as well as can be expected. They’ve pointed out that, while the cost of the fines might be high, it could still cost them less to pay them than to convert their properties to homes. According to a property investor quoted in Le Figaro, the cost of transforming an office into apartments can actually be 20 to 25 percent more expensive than constructing an entirely new building. Many landlords might be unwilling or unable to undertake such a process and thus be forced to sell in a market where, thanks to a glut of available real estate, prices are falling. There is also the question of how easy the law will be to enforce: Landlords could rent out vacant properties at a token rent simply to avoid the vacancy fine. <aside class="pullquote instapaper_ignore" style="font-family: Bitter, Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 2.11765em; line-height: 1.05556; border-top-width: 5px; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 25px 0px; margin: 30px 0px;">As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. </aside>It’s too early to see if these predictions will come true, but past experience in smaller French property markets suggests it won’t. The fines have already been introduced elsewhere in France: in the country’s fourth city of Lille (governed by the Socialist party) and in the Parisian satellite town of St Quentin-en-Yvelines (governed by the right wing UMP). So far, neither has experienced a legislation-exacerbated property slump. It’s also fair to point out that Paris is asking for a round of belt tightening from pretty much every group involved in the city’s real estate. The new levy is part of a plan announced last month that will also pressure state and semi-public bodies to release Parisian land for home building. Paris has some fairly large reserves of this, including space currently owned by the state health authority, by the national railway network and by the RATP—Paris’ transit authority, on whose unused land alone 2,000 homes could be built. In the meantime, stringent planning laws are also being relaxed to cut development costs for office converters. They will no longer, for example, be obliged to provide parking spaces for new homes, as they had been until the law change. Finally, starting next year, landlords will get an incentive to rent their properties to financially riskier lower-income tenants by having their rents and deposits guaranteed by a new intermediary, a public/private agency called Multiloc. Coming on top of laws that have relaxed building-height restrictionson the Paris periphery, it’s clear that, for Paris developers and landowners, there’s a decent ratio of carrot to stick. But will it all work? At the very least, Paris deserves recognition for being proactive, especially on a continent where many cities’ grip on the property sector is floundering. Berlin has recently had major new homebuilding plansrejected by residents (for good reason—they were due to get a bad deal), while the U.K.’s number of newly built homes has actually gone down, despite property prices continuing to rise sharply. As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. (Photo credit: Justin Black/Shutterstock.com)
  5. Le nouveau palais de justice de Paris. http://www.lepoint.fr/immobilier/le-nouveau-palais-de-justice-de-paris-24-02-2012-1434798_31.php
  6. Est-ce du flafla ou du concret? L’avenir le dira! http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/13/montreal-et-paris-signent-un-accord-de-cooperation_n_5319680.html Le maire de Montréal Denis Coderre est en France, où il a rencontré mardi la nouvelle mairesse de Paris, Anne Hidalgo. Les deux Villes ont signé une entente pour favoriser l'accès des entreprises aux deux marchés. Ils comptent y arriver notamment en favorisant la « bilocalisation » des entreprises. Montréal et Paris promettent aussi des rapprochements dans le domaine du numérique, des transports en commun ou de l'aménagement urbain. La mairesse Hidalgo, qui recevait un maire étranger pour la première fois depuis son élection en avril, a parlé d'une longue amitié entre les deux villes. Après seulement 30 minutes de discussions, les deux maires se tutoyaient, ce qui n'est pas dans les moeurs françaises. « Moi, je suis intéressée par le modèle de Montréal sur les questions du traitement de la grande pauvreté dans nos rues, a déclaré Mme Hidalgo. Ce sont des sujets sur lesquels nous avons, à Paris, des défis à relever. Je souhaite aussi voir comment une ville comme Montréal avance sur ces sujets. » L'administration montréalaise aidera notamment Paris à recenser le nombre de sans-abri sur son territoire, a indiqué Denis Coderre. « On a conscience tous les deux, et on en a parlé, que l'avenir passe par les grandes métropoles. C'est un espace d'activités et de résolution de la plupart des défis de la planète », a estimé Mme Hidalgo. « Il faut que cet ordre de gouvernement ait les coudées franches, et il faut apprendre à travailler ensemble, a renchéri le maire de Montréal. Tout de go, c'est le but de ma mission en Europe. C'est de travailler notamment avec Anne, et ça va bien! » Après avoir visité ses homologues de Lyon et Paris, Denis Coderre terminera sa tournée européenne jeudi à Bruxelles. Avec des informations d'Anyck Béraud et Alexandra Szacka
  7. Shinan: Charles Khabouth extending club empire to Montreal Shinan Govani | Dec 14, 2012 2:04 PM ET More from Shinan Govani | @shinangovani Peter J. Thompson / National Post Peter J. Thompson / National Post Charles Khabouth is extending his mighty entertainment empire to Montreal. Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email Comments More Official: the sultan of Toronto nightlife is extending his tentacles once more — to Montreal. Charles Khabouth is at it again, it’s true, and this time the plan involves bringing a little bit of Bloor Street to La Belle Province. La Société Montreal – a fraternal twin sis of that La Société, in the 416 – is all set to open within the Lowes Hotel Vogue. March 2013, I”m told, is showtime. “This partnership is the first of its kind,” Khabouth confirms, underlining the news that his INK Entertainment and the Lowes Hotel & Resorts group are embarking on a “strategic partnership in the hotel hospitality industry in Canada.” No rest for the weary — or for Charles. Born in Morocco, but honed in Canada, his stockpile already includes time-tested clubs such as This is London and Kool Haus (and many more), new-old-again boites like the newly-opened Uniun, a touch-down in Niagara Falls called Dragonfly, and urbane collaborations like Weslodge, a designer-saloon on Toronto’s King Street, and the even newer Spanish-centric Patria, next door. His La Société — when it opened during the summer of 2011, right in the middle of the so-called “Mink Mile,” next to Cartier and in front of Gucci — represented a kind of new-school resurgence for Bloor Street, and also a personal mile-stone for its impresario. Moola had obviously been spent on the place, with some even going as far as to compare the high-style brasserie to La Coupole, that catwalk of a place in Paris. Others, like myself, saw a genetic strain owing to Keith McNally, in New York City, and to his famously nostalgic places such as Balthazar. At the time, Khabouth said that La Société actually owed its inspiration to the bistros and brasseries of his native Beirut, and was modelled after one particular place in Paris: La Fontaine de Mars, in the 7eme. Predictably, the place was flooded by curiosity-seekers from the day it was opened, attracting boldface that ranged from … well … Deepak Chopra to Liza Minelli! Spotted at its curving booths, and beyond, has been a bounty of inevitable Toronto notables: from uber-barrister Eddie Greenspan to hotel mogul Isadore Sharpe to society diva Melanie Munk. And though things have surely cooled since its most nascent days – the hot spot narrative turned, predictably, to newer arrivals in town, such as Momofuku and Soho House – it continues to enjoy a steady clientele. And it’s still not surprising to see a holy-moly icon in there – i.e. Gary Oldman! The actor was spotted just earlier this week, mid-day, at La Société, his attention turned to an open-faced omelette. Peter J. Thompson/National Post Peter J. Thompson/National PostLa Societe co-owner Danny Soberano. Can Khabouth pull off his magic in Montreal? One thing is for certain: this is a bold and interesting move in terms, hospitality-wise. For a variety of reasons — the sheer size of the country, lack of imagination — there isn’t a lot of resto cross-pollination between cites in Canada. When there is brand-appropriation, it tends to happens on the north-south axis — spots such as the aforementioned Momofuku, or Cafe Boulud, being transplanted here. Another thing we do know: Khabouth will recreate the magic of the jaw-dropping stain-glass ceiling that is a hallmark of the place in the original restaurant, in Toronto. The newLa Société, in the Hotel Vogue, will be draped with the same.
  8. http://blogues.radio-canada.ca/triplex/2011/08/02/montreal-remix-ou-la-ville-selon-les-montrealophiles/
  9. Euro Disney cherche des partenaires au Québec Christophe Giral croit dur comme fer que les... Agrandir Christophe Giral croit dur comme fer que les entreprises québécoises ont leur place dans l'univers d'Euro Disney - dont le chiffre d'affaires s'élève à 1,7 milliard $ - et qu'elles pourraient profiter d'une «vitrine incroyable» pour développer de nouveaux marchés en sol européen. Gilbert Leduc Le Soleil (Québec) Venu directement de Disneyland Paris, Mickey Mouse cherche des entreprises québécoises spécialisées dans le bâtiment vert et intelligent et dans les arts numériques afin d'établir de nouveaux partenariats d'affaires. De l'avis de Christophe Giral, le Québec... (Le Soleil, Patrice Laroche) - image 1.0 Agrandir De l'avis de Christophe Giral, le Québec s'est bâti «un savoir-faire reconnu internationalement» dans les domaines du bâtiment vert intelligent et de l'image appliquée sous toutes ses formes. Le Soleil, Patrice Laroche Trêve de plaisanterie. Mickey Mouse n'était pas à Québec mercredi. Il avait plutôt délégué Christophe Giral, le directeur immobilier d'Euro Disney. Celui-ci était l'invité de la section Québec de la Chambre de commerce française au Canada, qui tient, ces jours-ci, sa semaine d'excellence en affaires Québec-France. En matinée, mercredi, M. Giral et la délégation du Val d'Europe - une ville située à une trentaine de kilomètres à l'est de Paris et qui est le royaume des deux parcs thématiques de Disneyland Paris, Disneyland et Walt Disney Studios - ont discuté avec des représentants économiques régionaux pour exprimer leurs besoins. En après-midi, ils ont rencontré huit entreprises québécoises pour explorer les possibilités d'établir des collaborations d'affaires. Parmi ces entreprises, il y avait des firmes d'architectes (Hudon et Julien Associés, Tergos), le fabricant de maisons préfabriquées Modulex et des sociétés évoluant dans les nouvelles technologies, comme Exact Modus, Frima Studio et Saga Film. Savoir-faire De l'avis de Christophe Giral, le Québec s'est bâti «un savoir-faire reconnu internationalement» dans les domaines du bâtiment vert intelligent et de l'image appliquée sous toutes ses formes. Il croit dur comme fer que les entreprises québécoises ont leur place dans l'univers d'Euro Disney - dont le chiffre d'affaires s'élève à 1,7 milliard $ - et qu'elles pourraient profiter d'une «vitrine incroyable» pour développer de nouveaux marchés en sol européen. Au cours d'une allocution, le dirigeant d'Euro Disney s'est attardé à expliquer que Disneyland Paris est bien plus que deux parcs thématiques qui attirent 15 millions de visiteurs par année, «soit plus que le musée du Louvre et la tour Eiffel réunis». Dans les faits, Euro Disney est au coeur d'un partenariat public-privé inusité. Avec le gouvernement fran*çais et les collectivités territoriales régionales, Euro Disney fait du développement urbain sur tout le territoire du Val d'Europe. Ce «triangle de décision» a littéralement transformé cette communauté. De 5000 habitants et quel*ques dizaines d'emplois agrico*les en 1989, la «nouvelle ville» qui carbure à partir des principes du développement durable et de la saine qualité de vie de ses citoyens compte aujourd'hui 28 000 habitants et plus de 20 000 emplois. D'ici 2030, Val d'Europe comptera 60 000 habitants. Pour chaque euro investi par les pouvoirs publics, le secteur privé a mis 10 euros sur la table. En tout et partout, pas moins de 9 milliards $ ont été investis jusqu'à ce jour. Partenariat Récemment, les pouvoirs publics français et Euro Disney ont con*venu de prolonger jusqu'en 2030 leur entente de partenariat. L'espace à développer passe de 1934 à 2230 hectares. Pas moins de 11 milliards $ pourraient y être investis au cours des 20 prochaines années. Depuis déjà quelque temps, Euro Disney songe à créer un troisième parc thématique qui mettrait en valeur le plein air, la santé et le bien-être. «Les Villages Nature de Val d'Europe vont devenir le plus grand champ d'interprétation du développement durable au monde», a indiqué M. Giral, qui compte sur l'expertise développée en ces matières au Québec pour collaborer à ce projet de 2,5 milliards $. ************** Un bon exemple qu'il y a espoir de percer le marché europpéen, un premier pas dans la direction du libre-échange Canada-Europe
  10. By Caroline Wyatt BBC News, Paris The reality of Paris does not always live up to the dream A dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what's become known as "Paris syndrome". That is what some polite Japanese tourists suffer when they discover that Parisians can be rude or the city does not meet their expectations. The experience can apparently be too stressful for some and they suffer a psychiatric breakdown. Around a million Japanese travel to France every year. Shocking reality Many of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris - the cobbled streets, as seen in the film Amelie, the beauty of French women or the high culture and art at the Louvre. The reality can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese - used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger - the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much. This year alone, the Japanese embassy in Paris has had to repatriate four people with a doctor or nurse on board the plane to help them get over the shock. An encounter with a rude Parisian can be a shocking experience They were suffering from "Paris syndrome". It was a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, Professor Hiroaki Ota, who first identified the syndrome some 20 years ago. On average, up to 12 Japanese tourists a year fall victim to it, mainly women in their 30s with high expectations of what may be their first trip abroad. The Japanese embassy has a 24-hour hotline for those suffering from severe culture shock, and can help find hospital treatment for anyone in need. However, the only permanent cure is to go back to Japan - never to return
  11. Le Musée de cire Grévin de Paris (genre Mme Tussaud de Londres et NY) va ouvrir une "succursale" à Montréal, en haut du Centre Eaton. Je viens d'entendre ceci aux nouvelles régionales sur Radio-Can. Je ne trouve aucune référence sur le net (yet), mais aussitôt que je l'ai je l'ajouterai (à moins que l'un d'entre vous soit plus rapide!) Un projet de 13 millions dit-on, entièrement financé par des intérêts privés. On ajoute que le musée a demandé à des Québécois de revamper la formule avec une technologie de pointe multimédia. À suivre.....
  12. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9133399/Paris-to-trump-Londons-Shard-with-Europes-tallest-buildings.html Paris to trump London's Shard with Europe's tallest buildings The two skyscrapers will 40ft taller than the Shard, which is currently under construction in the British capital. Planning permission for the French project called Hermitage Plaza - designed by British artchitects Foster and Partners - was granted by Paris officials this week. The two buildings - which will house offices, luxury apartments, a shopping complex and a hotel - will dominate the skyline in the western business district of La Defense. Work began on the Shard at London Bridge in February 2009 and it is already Europe's highest construction project at a cost so far of around £450 million. The 87-storey building is due for completion in May this year, when it will stand at 1,017 feet tall and offer uninterrupted 360-degree views of London for 40 miles in every direction.
  13. Sarkozy dessine le Paris du XXIe siècle Mots clés : Nicolas Sarkozy, Métro, Paris, Investissement, Transport, France (pays) Avec un nouveau métro futuriste, un investissement de 56 milliards de dollars dans les transports et un plan de développement d'une ampleur sans pareil, Paris tente de se positionner comme l'une des principales mégapoles de demain. Paris -- Paris avait déjà l'un des meilleurs métros du monde, un gigantesque réseau de bus en voies réservées, un réseau de trains de banlieue rapides et de tramways modernes et des vélos en accès libre dans 30 communes; elle aura désormais un nouveau métro futuriste qui reliera tous les grands pôles d'activités de sa grande région. Dans un discours inspiré prononcé hier à la nouvelle Cité de l'architecture, au Palais de Chaillot, le président Nicolas Sarkozy a annoncé que Paris se doterait à l'horizon de 2020 de ce qu'on surnomme déjà ici le «grand huit». Le projet de 33 milliards de dollars (21 milliards d'euros) reliera par un métro de 130 km entièrement automatisé et fonctionnant 24h par jour les principaux pôles économiques de la grande région parisienne. C'est un peu comme si Montréal décidait de relier par un métro rapide souterrain et aérien les villes de Mirabel, Châteauguay, Saint-Hubert, Boucherville et Blainville. Ce métro d'un type nouveau roulera à 80 km/h et permettra d'atteindre en 30 minutes environ les 10 pôles économiques qui entourent la capitale, comme l'aéroport international de Roissy, le grand marché de Rungis, le quartier des affaires de La Défense, le futur pôle pharmaceutique d'Évry et celui du Bourget, où devrait se concentrer l'industrie aérospatiale. Une mégapole du XXIe siècle Ce gigantesque chantier se veut le fer de lance d'un vaste plan de développement de la région parisienne qui vise à positionner la capitale française et son bassin de 12 millions d'habitants parmi les principales mégapoles du XXIe siècle. «On sait voyager vite et loin, mais on a toutes les difficultés du monde à se rendre chaque jour à son travail», a déclaré Nicolas Sarkozy, qui veut «rompre avec tout ce qui a déshonoré nos villes depuis des années». «Désenclavons!» a lancé le président, qui envisage aussi la construction de 70 000 nouveaux logements par an et une vaste déréglementation en matière de zonage. Nicolas Sarkozy a aussi évoqué la plantation d'une nouvelle forêt d'un million d'arbres près de Roissy qui ferait baisser la température de quelques degrés dans la capitale l'été et qui contribuerait à combattre le réchauffement climatique. Au menu, aussi, l'aménagement des rives de la Seine jusqu'au Havre et la construction d'un train à grande vitesse qui mettra le seul port à proximité de Paris à moins d'une heure de la capitale. Ce vaste plan, que l'on compare à la construction des Grands Boulevards par le baron Haussmann (au milieu du XIXe siècle) et à la mise en chantier du RER par le général de Gaulle (en 1965), engloutira 35 milliards d'euros (56 milliards de dollars) pour le transport seulement. Il vise avant tout à désenclaver les banlieues parisiennes. Les trois semaines d'émeutes qu'ont connues les banlieues françaises en 2005 auront contribué à précipiter ce chantier, que Nicolas Sarkozy qualifie de «plus grand défi de la politique du XXIe siècle». Le plan comprend aussi de nombreux projets destinés à améliorer les transports existants. Il s'agit notamment de la prolongation de plusieurs lignes de métro, de tramway et de RER (trains de banlieue). La ligne de métro la plus achalandée de la capitale, qui traverse toute la ville de Montrouge (au sud) à Saint-Denis (au nord), devrait notamment être doublée grâce au prolongement de la plus récente des lignes parisiennes, qui relie déjà les grandes gares. Une réflexion futuriste Les mesures annoncées hier vont de pair avec le lancement d'une grande réflexion sur l'avenir de la région où habite un Français sur cinq. Dix architectes de renommée internationale ont été conviés à soumettre leurs idées. À la Cité de l'architecture, Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurait en même temps hier une exposition illustrant les propositions futuristes faites par ces vedettes de l'urbanisme comme Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Richard Rogers et Christian de Portzamparc. Il ne s'agit pas de choisir l'une ou l'autre vision, mais d'y puiser un certain nombre d'idées, précise-t-on. Or, les idées originales ne manquent pas. Frank Gehry, auteur du musée Guggenheim de Bilbao, veut coiffer la tour Montparnasse, seul édifice en hauteur de Paris, d'une chiffonnade dorée et lui adjoindre trois soeurs plus petites. Jean Nouvel propose la construction d'«éco-cités» où l'on oserait construire en hauteur, un tabou qui a rarement été brisé à Paris, mais qui ne semble pas faire peur au président. «Pourquoi s'interdire des tours si elles sont belles et s'inscrivent dans le paysage urbain», a-t-il déclaré hier. L'écologie tient une large place dans cette réflexion. Le Britannique Richard Rogers imagine ainsi des centrales souterraines pour le traitement des déchets et la production d'énergie. Roland Castro a proposé de créer un immense Central Park dans la banlieue défavorisée de La Courneuve. Christian de Portzamparc souhaite la construction d'une grande gare européenne dans la banlieue d'Aubervilliers reliant Londres, Bruxelles et Francfort par TGV. Ces architectes seront d'ailleurs invités à suivre de près l'évolution des travaux du grand Paris, qui s'étaleront sur dix ans. Un enjeu politique L'intervention du président de la République sur ce sujet sensible faisait craindre le pire à de nombreux élus de gauche, qui sont majoritaires dans la capitale. Hier, Nicolas Sarkozy a plutôt prêché l'apaisement en choisissant de «laisser de côté» pour l'instant la création de toute nouvelle structure politique afin de gérer ce nouvel ensemble. Le président a même laissé entendre que cette question ne concernera que ses successeurs. Le président a longuement insisté sur l'importance d'humaniser la ville et sur la beauté qu'on «a trop oubliée». Pour accompagner les travaux qui s'étaleront sur dix ans, il propose la création à Paris d'un atelier international d'architecture du grand Paris et la tenue -- dès 2010 et à tous les quatre ans -- d'un grand forum des villes du monde. *** Correspondant du Devoir à Paris
  14. I have wondered about this for quite sometime. A recent trip to europe only made me more aware of it. Why do we, in Montreal, have such large suburban trains? This in comparison to paris for example. here the new bimodal locomotives for the AMT as oposed to this: Pictured above is a Parisian RER train. They run on their own tracks as well as SNCF tracks. They appear to be between a conventional metro and a regular train in size. Meanwhile our AMT trains seem to be regional trains. I wondered why are OUR suburban trains so large and cumbersome, requiring locomotives and what not, while elsewhere they are light and quick. It certainly is not a distance issue, as the parisian RERs run MUCH farther distances than our AMT trains. It does not seem to be a cost issue either. And while i am aware that not all AMT lines are electrified, they very well should be. the whole point of public transport (as i see it) is to move people in a way that reduces congestion and pollution. I use the paris example, but other cities as copenhaggen or london have similar suburban trains to those in paris.
  15. la thread de paris m'as fait penser a ca que j'avais vu il ya quelques mois. je ne frequentais pas ce forum dans le temps alors je me demande si vous l'aviez deja vu: http://pixelcase.com.au/vr/2009/newyork/ c'est assez bien, meme si leur definition de 'downtown' est din patates !
  16. Les fonds spéculatifs pourraient bien afficher leur pire performance mensuelle en cinq ans à la suite de paris sur les titres de sociétés financières et pétrolières. Pour en lire plus...
  17. Deux jours après le G7, les dirigeants politiques européens se réunissent à Paris afin de trouver des solutions à la crise. Pour en lire plus...
  18. Les quatre membres européens du G8 ont pris l'engagement solennel de soutenir les établissements financiers européens en difficulté, a annoncé le président français Nicolas Sarkozy à l'issue d'un mini-sommet samedi à Paris. Pour en lire plus...
  19. Montreal's restaurants fluent in French BY RAPHAEL SUGARMAN Saturday, December 1st 2007, 4:00 AM Europea's chef, Jerome Ferrer, prepares a fine French meal. New Yorkers looking for the perfect destination to tantalize their palates needn't spend hours traveling overseas to Paris. They should instead make the relatively short jaunt to Montreal and enjoy a culinary tradition that is just as passionate and arguably more exciting than that of France. "The food [in France] is very good and very classic, but here we are more open-minded," says Normand Lapris, executive chef of Toque, a highly rated Montreal restaurant. "When I am cooking, I don't think to myself, 'I can't use this recipe or this spice because it is not French,'" adds Lapris. "If I like curry, I put curry in my food." Fostering classic French cuisine - while remaining open to North American eclecticism - makes Montreal an ideal city for food lovers. More than half the city's 20 top-rated restaurants are classified as French or French-Canadian, and the cuisine - and its Quebecois influences - undeniably inspires the greatest passion in Montreal's kitchens. A very good case can be made that the city's top French restaurants - including Chez L'Epicier, L'Express, Au Pied de Cochon and Toque - offer every bit as delectable and memorable a dining experience as any spot in Paris. Because Montreal is, by nature, a French city, dining in a bistro here offers a much more authentic experience than similar establishments in New York or other North American cities. "When you are dining at L'Express, you feel like you could be in Paris, like you are in another world," says Lesley Chesterman, restaurant critic for the Montreal Gazette. Much like France, the quality of restaurants in Montreal is driven by the superb food markets. At the Atwater Market in the Saint-Henri district, and at the Jean-Talon Market adjacent to Little Italy, locals and tourists alike marvel at the bounty of luscious, home-grown products. At Jean-Talon, make sure to visit Le Marche Des Saveurs du Québec (The Market Flavors of Quebec), a pair of shops that feature a staggering 7,000 delicacies produced in the province. "The small producers make all the difference here in Quebec," says Carl Witchel, a local food historian. "The difference between Montreal and New York is that here you can go into a really inexpensive bistro with 20 or 25 seats and have something really remarkable." IF YOU GO ... Where to stay: Le Saint-Sulpice: Cozy boutique hotel in the heart of Old Montreal, a block from Notre Dame. (877)-SULPICE. Hotel Le Germain: A gem in the city's downtown business district. (514) 849-2050. Where to eat: Nuances: Jean-Pierre Curtat's wonderful French fare, irreproachable service and ethereal sunsets. (514) 392-2708. Club Chasse Et Péche: You have to love a place that lists "Six Oysters with Charisma" on the menu. (514) 861-1112. Europea: The Lobster Cream Cappuccino with truffle oil is just one of chef Jerome Ferrer's inventive offerings. (514) 398-9229. Beaver Club: Located in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, this opulent stalwart has been serving classic French cuisine for decades. (514) 861-3511.
  20. Publié le 19 mars 2017 à 05h00 | Mis à jour à 05h00 Carte blanche aux créateurs Programmation comprenant des logements, dont un minimum de 30% de logement social, dans les parties protégées des nuisances du périphérique et qui prévoit la reconstitution des fonctionnalités du parc de stationnement et de la gare routière existantes sur le terrain « Pershing ». Concepteur : Sou Fujimito, architecte / Manal Rachdi, Oxo Architectes / Moz Paysage / Atelier Paur Arène, paysagiste / Pierre-Alexandre Risser Horticulture; Jardins, paysagiste. Photo fournie par la mairie de Paris (http://www.lapresse.ca/debats/editoriaux/francois-cardinal/201703/18/01-5080053-carte-blanche-aux-createurs.php#wcm:article:5080053) François Cardinal (https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=004348325735519040616:xugxk9rp5mm&q=Fran%C3%A7ois+Cardinal) La Presse La toute première décision comme ministre de l'Aménagement et de l'Architecture ? Spontanément, la priorité irait au diktat du plus bas soumissionnaire. À son abolition, en fait, tant cette règle fait des dégâts au Québec. Il est franchement absurde qu'encore aujourd'hui, une loi force les élus à choisir le projet le moins cher plutôt que le meilleur ! Mais comme première, première décision ? Le ministre pourrait faire rêver davantage, non ? Il pourrait élever la qualité de l'architecture plutôt que d'éliminer simplement les obstacles. Pourquoi ne pas donner carte blanche aux créateurs ? Pourquoi ne pas s'associer à Québec et Montréal, cibler une demi-douzaine de terrains publics, puis lancer un concours international : les projets les plus fous, les plus originaux, les plus innovants remporteraient... un permis de construction ! L'idée peut sembler farfelue, mais c'est très précisément ce que vient de faire la Ville de Paris. Avec des résultats époustouflants ! En accédant à la mairie en 2014, Anne Hidalgo a en effet lancé « l'initiative un peu folle » Réinventer Paris. Une manière révolutionnaire de céder les terrains qui appartiennent à la ville, surtout les plus ingrats. Une vingtaine de sites aux quatre coins de Paris ont ainsi été mis en compétition : gare, friches industrielles, hôtels particuliers, terrains vagues et même un transformateur électrique. Un appel de projets a alors été lancé aux promoteurs et architectes avec une seule règle : pas de tour. « Ils ont été attirés par l'idée de la carte blanche : pour une fois, nous n'imposions aucun programme et leur laissions proposer les idées et innovations les plus originales », explique Jean-Louis Missika, adjoint à la mairesse, chargé de l'urbanisme (voir entrevue). Et la qualité des projets a surpris la Ville, autant que leur nombre : 650 dossiers officiellement déposés avec offre d'achat formelle par autant d'équipes d'investisseurs réunissant des architectes, des paysagistes, des designers, mais aussi des penseurs, des agronomes et des artistes. Et rien d'utopique dans les projets, car l'objectif était de les construire « à court terme ». Les 22 gagnants ont ainsi été choisis l'an dernier, 10 dossiers sont déjà passés devant le conseil municipal et trois permis de construire ont été délivrés. La majeure partie des projets, promet-on, verra le jour d'ici 2020. Paris ne s'est donc pas contentée de susciter la création urbaine, elle l'a réinventée... en même temps qu'elle a réinventé la ville. Parmi les lauréats, on retrouve de tout. Un écoquartier suspendu au-dessus d'une autoroute. Une station électrique transformée en cinéma. Des bains-douches réaménagés en ateliers d'artistes. Un entrepôt de voirie devenue funérarium. « Paris, s'est exclamé Le Soir, n'avait pas connu pareil bouillonnement de projets urbains depuis le Second Empire. » Depuis, en fait, que Napoléon a chargé le baron Haussmann de percer de larges avenues dans la ville. Le concours est ainsi devenu un véritable laboratoire d'idées, sans même que cela coûte un sou à la municipalité (elle aurait au moins pu rémunérer les professionnels, mais bon...). Au contraire, même, grâce à la vente des terrains, les coffres de la Ville seront renfloués de centaines de millions d'euros. Réinventer Paris est ainsi devenu une opération financière intéressante. Mais c'est aussi devenu une nouvelle carte de visite pour la ville, une occasion en or pour les jeunes architectes d'émerger et, surtout, une opération de pédagogie auprès des Parisiens qui ont suivi le concours de près et qui se sont déplacés nombreux pour visiter leur exposition au Pavillon de l'Arsenal (jusqu'au 8 mai, pour les intéressés). « Rarement, a concédé Le Monde, une compétition d'architecture aura suscité autant d'engouement en France. » Trop beau pour être vrai ? Trop beau pour Montréal et Québec ? Ce n'est pas l'avis de la mairie de Paris, qui est en discussion avec « un grand nombre de villes qui souhaitent s'inspirer de la démarche », en plus de mener de front de nouvelles initiatives du genre pour la grande région de Paris, le sous-sol parisien et même la Seine. « Montréal a la chance de disposer d'un vivier important de collectifs et porteurs de projets qui pourraient être intéressés par ce type de démarche, indique Jean-Louis Missika. Le classement de la métropole québécoise en tant que ville UNESC O de design incite à ouvrir la production urbaine à des équipes pluridisciplinaires. » À son avis, les appels à projets urbains innovants pourraient certainement servir d'inspiration aux professionnels de Montréal. « Mon conseil à M. Coderre serait de miser sur la jeune génération, pleine de ressources et d'idées nouvelles. » Prometteur, non ? Une bonne initiative pour lancer la carrière d'un ministre de l'Architecture fraîchement nommé.
  21. «10 cm de neige, ce qui n'arrive qu'une fois aux 25 ans à Paris se produit à peu près aux 2 jours à Montréal.» Un autre épisode savoureux d'Infoman à voir! ? Emission du 15 decembre 2016 | Infoman | ICI Radio-Canada - Tele
  22. François Hollande inaugure mercredi soir la Philharmonie de Paris, dont l’auditorium doit rivaliser avec les grandes salles de concert de Berlin, New York ou Tokyo, sans la présence de son architecte star Jean Nouvel, qui dénonce une ouverture «prématurée». L’architecte évoque le «mépris» dont il aurait été l’objet pendant la conduite du chantier et annonce, quelques heures avant le concert de gala, qu’il ne participera pas à l’inauguration. «Nous sommes à la hauteur de l’événement», a rétorqué le président de la Philharmonie, Laurent Bayle, tout en reconnaissant que le chantier devra se poursuivre quelques mois. Le toit, où le public pourra se promener à 37 mètres au-dessus du parc de la Villette ne sera ouvert qu’au printemps et le restaurant panoramique en mars. La Philharmonie a vu son coût exploser de 200 millions d’euros lors de son lancement en 2006 à 386 millions aujourd’hui. La façade recouverte de 340 000 oiseaux métalliques domine comme une colline escarpée le périphérique de Paris, Porte de Pantin, dans le nord-est de la capitale. La Philharmonie est la première salle de concert construite à Paris depuis la Salle Pleyel en 1927, si l’on excepte l’Opéra Bastille (1989), à l’acoustique réputée médiocre. «Paris n’était pas au niveau des autres capitales, de Londres à Berlin en passant par l’Europe du sud, Rome, Porto, les Etats-Unis et l’Asie et les pays du Golfe», note son président, Laurent Bayle. Elle a bénéficié des meilleurs acousticiens mondiaux, le Néo-Zélandais Harold Marshall et le Japonais Yasuhisa Toyota. AUDACE Son architecture audacieuse, avec des balcons suspendus évoquant des «nappes immatérielles de musique et de lumière» selon Jean Nouvel, met le spectateur le plus éloigné à 32 mètres du chef d’orchestre, contre 48 m pour Pleyel. Le violoniste Gilles Henry a été «ébloui» par la transparence du son. Sa consoeur flûtiste Florence Souchard-Delépine évoque «un son aérien, avec en même temps beaucoup de matière, on entend bien les graves, les aigus, les timbres : les définitions sont parfaites». L’Orchestre de Paris, qui donne le concert de gala, a littéralement «essuyé les plâtres» dans un bâtiment qui nécessitera encore plusieurs mois de finitions. Quelque 500 musiciens (deux orchestres résidents et trois formations associées) «habitent» cette nouvelle maison de la musique, qui comprend aussi six salles de répétition, 10 studios de travail, un café, un restaurant, des bars, des ateliers pédagogiques et un espace d’exposition. UNE «MAIN TENDUE AU GRAND PARIS» Les détracteurs de la Philharmonie lui reprochent son gigantisme et sa localisation excentrée dans un quartier populaire alors que le public de la musique classique avait ses habitudes Salle Pleyel, dans le 8e arrondissement huppé. «Excentrée pour qui ?» : Laurent Bayle défend son implantation au bord du périphérique comme une «main tendue au Grand Paris avec ses 13 millions d’habitants». La ministre de la Culture, Fleur Pellerin, s’est aussi réjouie mercredi que l’établissement se situe près de «quartiers en difficulté» de la banlieue. «Le programme de la Philharmonie prévoit beaucoup d’actions pédagogiques en direction des populations pas habituées à fréquenter des salles de musique symphonique», a-t-elle fait valoir. La Philharmonie compte sur le week-end pour séduire un nouveau public, avec à chaque fois «un espèce de minifestival, où vous pouvez écouter différents genres de musique, mais aussi voir une exposition comme en mars avec David Bowie, ou pratiquer de la musique dans des ateliers, acheter des disques, aller à la médiathèque», explique le directeur des programmes, Emmanuel Hondré. UN MILLION DE VISITEURS ATTENDUS Le premier week-end «portes ouvertes» propose des concerts gratuits, dont une performance de 101 pianistes dirigés par le Chinois Lang Lang, samedi à 16 heures Laurent Bayle devra jongler avec un budget plus contraint que prévu : 30 millions d’euros au lieu de 36 initialement prévus, la Ville de Paris ayant réduit de 3 millions sa contribution. Un million de visiteurs sont attendus «en vitesse de croisière», selon Laurent Bayle, dont la moitié pour les concerts et l’autre pour les ateliers, activités éducatives et expositions.
  23. Voici déjà 6 mois que je suis revenu de mon court périple à Paris. C'était pour moi un première incursion en territoire européen et j'en suis revenu complètement enchanté et impatient à l'idée d'y retourner. J'ai pris plus de 1200 photos lors de mon séjour de 10 jours. J'ai retenue des clichés qui mettent en valeur des détails architecturaux, des textures ou encore des formes qui mon interpellés et qui je l'espère vous plaira aussi! *** Toutes les photos on été prisent avec un appareil compact de Nikon avec un somme toute impressionant zoom optique qui m'a permis de prendre des photos rapprochées. Toutes les photos sont retouchés dans Photoshop*** <a href=" " title="Dome doré de KONIK Studio, sur Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5534/11215666964_e002ff7047_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="Dome doré"></a> <a href=" " title="Mur-rideau vitré de KONIK Studio, sur Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5474/11215630754_fa58317c76_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="Mur-rideau vitré"></a> <a href=" " title="Second Arc de KONIK Studio, sur Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2842/11215641674_18c0390917_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="Second Arc"></a> Les autres photos sont disponibles sur mon nouveau compte Flickr :
  24. Excellent texte de François Cardinal (de La Presse) sur pourquoi Montréal devrait avoir un statut spécial : Manifesto for a city-state Montreal has paid the price for being treated like just another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better. François Cardinal Policy Options, November 2013 Far from being a land of forests, plains and prairies, Canada is an urban country. Nearly 70 percent of the population lives in urban centres and more than 90 percent of demographic growth is concentrated in those metropolitan areas. These proportions put Canada at the top of the world’s most urbanized nations. And yet all of Canada’s cities, from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary and even Ottawa, are neglected by federal and provincial political parties. They are short-changed by electoral maps. All are forced by the provinces to labour under a tax system that dates from the horse-and-buggy age. All are relegated to the status of lowly “creatures” subject to the whims and dictates of higher levels of government. It’s as if the country has not yet come to terms with the changes it has undergone since its founding. “Cities do not exist under the Constitution, since it was drawn up in 1867 when we were a rural, agricultural country,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out when I interviewed him at City Hall. “But today the country is highly urbanized, a fact that, unfortunately, is not reflected in the relations higher levels of government maintain with the cities.” The 2011 federal election offered a good example of this oversight. Every party targeted the “regions,” those wide-open spaces of rural and small-town Canada. The Conservatives’ slogan in French was “Notre région au pouvoir” [Our region in power]. The Liberals cited “rural Canada” as a priority but barely mentioned urban Canada. The Bloc used the slogan “Parlons régions” [Let’s talk about regions] but had no urban equivalent for the metropolis. More critically, the parties felt compelled to appeal to voters in the regions by positioning themselves in opposition to the cities. The most glaring instance came during the French leaders’ debate, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper castigated Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff over his promise to build a new Champlain Bridge. “I would not take Mr. Ignatieff’s approach and divert money from the regions to finance infrastructure for Montreal,” Harper said. The Liberals were not much better. They pledged to develop a plan for public transportation but never specified what it would look like. They promised support for social housing but said they would take the money out of funds for urban infrastructure. The reason for this is not rocket science. With the big-city vote so thoroughly predictable, the parties focus on rural areas or the suburbs where they believe their policies might swing votes. They rarely target the city centres. At the provincial level, the situation is pretty much the same. In fact, the Quebec government was able to relieve Montreal of its “metropolis” title and its dedicated ministry nearly 10 years ago without raising eyebrows. Thus Montreal became just one “region” among all the rest: Administrative Region 06. In the 2012 election in Quebec, Montreal did move up a notch. There was more discussion about the city. But since then, unfortunately, good intentions have been replaced by a charter of Quebec values, which has been broadly criticized in Montreal. Imposing it confirms the implicit trusteeship under which the government rules the metropolis. But even more than urban centres elsewhere in the country, Quebec’s parties have limited reason to take an interest in the city. Montreal is either politically safe (for the provincial Liberals) or a lost cause (for the Parti Québécois). In short, Quebec is no different from other Canadian provinces in treating its major city like a big village that must be attended to, certainly, but not more than any other municipality. The cost of showing the city favour is to risk losing precious votes in rural areas. But major cities are no longer the same municipalities they were in the past. Today, Montreal and Toronto are expected to compete with Paris and New York. They are expected to attract and hold onto businesses, court foreign creative talent, draw more private investment and deliver more and more services to residents, from social housing to public transportation. Providing support services for recent immigrants, developing the knowledge-based economy, building social housing, dealing with antigovernment demonstrations and adapting to climate change are all responsibilities that now fall to cities. They are nothing like the urban “creatures” of the 19th century. Lucien Bouchard could not have been more clear when he said in his 1996 inauguration speech after being elected premier: “There can be no economic recovery in Quebec without a recovery in Quebec’s metropolis.” For once, it appeared the government of Quebec was going to recognize Montreal’s special character and grant it preferential treatment. “The complexity of the city’s problems calls for special treatment and even, I would say, for the creation of a specific metropolitan authority,” Bouchard continued. It seemed as if he was about to usher in an exciting new era. There was now a minister responsible for “the metropolis.” A development commission was set up for the Montreal metropolitan area and it was to be invested with significant powers. A true decentralization of power was in the offing. An economic development agency, Montréal International, was created at this time, as was the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT). But just when it appeared Montreal was going to receive special attention and treatment, the government’s old habits returned with a vengeance. Like a parent who has given too much to one child, the Quebec government decided to restore the balance by giving to the regions with its left hand what it had given Montreal with its right. A local and regional development support policy was introduced in 1997. Then the Ministry of Regions was created and local development centres set up. A few months later, they added government measures for the province’s three metropolitan areas and then, finally, measures for all urban areas. “The reforms demonstrate, once again, the government’s efforts to address Montreal’s specificity without neglecting the needs of the rest of Quebec,” political scientist Mariona Tomàs explained in her fine book Penser métropolitain? But the result was a government policy similar to the previous ones, an across-the-board approach based on a view of Quebec as a collection of communities, rather than a province organized around its main economic hub. “The government’s desire to maintain a territorial balance can be seen in the powers of metropolitan structures,” Tomàs observed. “The law provided the same types of powers for all the urban communities created in 1969, and then for all the metropolitan communities in 2000.” Giving the rural Outaouais region the same powers as Greater Montreal reduces the latter to just one region among many. To this way of political thinking, the metropolis must not be allowed to overshadow any other town, must not be given too much. It cannot receive more attention than others, and cannot be elevated above any other. Canada’s “hub cities,” those few major urban centres like Montreal, are the drivers of economic activity in the country. That was the conclusion of a recent Conference Board study, which pointed to the collateral benefits of a thriving metropolis. It found that strong growth in metropolitan areas spurs growth in neighbouring communities and then in the whole province. But how can Montreal play its role as an economic driver if it is not treated as such? We need only look outside the country to be convinced that we need to roll out the red carpet for the metropolis: to the United States, where big cities have the attention of the country’s leaders; to Asia, where the treatment of major centres sometimes borders on obsessiveness; or even to France, a country that, like Quebec, is marked by a deep divide between “the metropolis” and “the provinces.” France provided a telling illustration of this awareness in early 2013, a few months after François Hollande’s Socialist government took office. Although France was in dire straits, burdened by crushing public debt and being forced to reconsider the fate of its precious social programs, Hollande did not think twice about launching a project of heroic proportions to relieve congestion in Paris. The price tag: the equivalent of $35 billion for a brand new “super metro,” plus $10 billion to extend and upgrade the existing system. Was this completely crazy? On the contrary. Hollande was being logical and visionary. France understands the importance of investing in its metropolis. This is a country that is ready to look after its towns and villages, while not being afraid to give Paris preferential treatment. “A strong Paris is in the interest of the provinces,” commented L’Express magazine in March 2013. Quite so. The article notes, for example, that much of the income generated in Paris is actually spent in the rest of the country. All financial roads — tourism, commuting for work, national redistribution, whatever — all lead to Paris, with benefits to the provinces. L’Express cites the case of Eurodisney to illustrate. Disney had hesitated before settling on building its amusement park in Paris — not between contending French cities, but between Paris and Barcelona. Herein lie the value and importance for the entire country of having a strong metropolis. “Weakening Paris would slow France’s locomotive,” argued L’Express. “And in a train, the cars seldom move faster than the locomotive.” Clearly, what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” Worryingly, the current state of affairs in Montreal — the revelations and insinuations of political corruption and collusion — is prompting many observers to call for the Quebec government to take the opposite tack and tighten the city’s reins. According to this view, more provincial government involvement is needed to check the city’s propensity for vice. But in fact the only way to make the city more responsible and more accountable is to give it greater power, wider latitude and more money. Montreal’s problem is that it has all the attributes of a metropolis but is treated as an ordinary municipality, subservient to the big boss, the provincial government. Its masters are the minister of municipal affairs, the minister’s colleagues at other departments involved in the city’s affairs and, of course, the premier. Montreal is under implicit trusteeship. This encourages, even promotes a lack of accountability on the part of the municipal administration, which is only half in charge. “It’s not complicated: Montreal is currently a no man’s land of accountability,” says Denis Saint-Martin, political science professor at the Université de Montréal. “There is a political and organizational immaturity problem, which explains the political irresponsibility we have seen in recent years. Montreal needs more power, not less. Montreal needs to be more accountable, more answerable.” Essentially, the metropolis needs to be treated like one, with the powers and revenues that go along with city status. Montreal is a beggar riding in a limousine. Invariably, after a municipal election, the incoming mayor announces a wish list and then gets the chauffeur to drive him up provincial Highway 20 to Quebec City to knock on the provincial government’s door with outstretched hands, hoping for a little largesse. Montreal’s mayor has to beg because the past offloading of responsibilities for delivering services to citizens onto the municipality has not been accompanied by new money. “In Quebec, the province is responsible for much of the regulatory apparatus under which cities operate, which the cities feel restricts their autonomy,” said political scientist Laurence Bherer in 2004, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Université Laval political science department. “And far from decreasing in recent years, provincial intervention has spread to a variety of areas such as the environment and public security, further relegating the cities to the role of operative rather than architect.” It is unacceptable for the provincial government to be the “operator” of a metropolis. That is why municipalities are rightfully seeking greater autonomy and greater freedom of action from their provincial masters. This is what is starting to happen in other provinces: in Alberta, with its Municipal Government Act, with British Columbia’s Community Charter and especially in Ontario, with the City of Toronto Act, which reads in part: “The [Ontario Legislative] Assembly recognizes that the City of Toronto, as Ontario’s capital city, is an economic engine of Ontario and of Canada.” The Ontario government appears to understand the special role Toronto plays in the wider economy. The City of Toronto Act goes on to say, “The Assembly recognizes that the City plays an important role in creating and supporting economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the people of Ontario [and] that the City is a government that is capable of exercising its powers in a responsible and accountable fashion.” Quebec’s largest city deserves similar treatment: strict accountability in exchange for recognition of its status as an autonomous government and the ability to tap more diverse sources of revenue. Indeed the main reason Montreal is regularly forced to pass the hat in Quebec City is its heavy dependence on property taxes for its income. As a creature of the province, it still operates under the good-old British tax model that sees it derive the bulk of its revenues — 67 percent — from property taxes. This was not a problem a hundred years ago, when Montreal provided only property services to its residents. But its responsibilities have expanded. The standards imposed by Quebec City have proliferated, and the portion of the budget allocated for services to individuals has grown considerably. Yet its tax base remains just as dependent on a single sector: real estate. This situation has a huge drawback. The City does not share the economic benefits that it generates. It might well pour money into the Formula One Grand Prix and summer festivals, invest in attracting conventions and tourists, renovate public spaces to make the urban environment more attractive and friendly. But it will get not a penny back. On the contrary: these investments only increase the city’s expenses in maintenance, security and infrastructure, while the federal and provincial governments reap the sales taxes. Take the city’s jazz festival. Montreal has to pay for security, site maintenance, public transportation to bring visitors to the site, and must deal with the event’s impact on traffic. In return, it gets happy festival-goers and tourists who spend money, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants — and fill provincial and federal coffers with sales tax revenues. They enrich the governments in Quebec City and in Ottawa, but not Montreal, which picks up the tab for the costs. The result is that the hole into which large cities are quietly sinking gets deeper. Big-city economies are dematerializing. The knowledge-based economy, in which Montreal shines, is based on innovation, research and brains, not factories. But for now, grey matter is not subject to property tax. Add to the mix an aging population with more modest housing needs, the increase in teleworking, self-employment and e-commerce, and you have a Montreal that is not only under implicit administrative trusteeship but also in an increasingly precarious financial position. And then people wonder why our metropolis is not playing the role it should be playing. another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better.
  25. How Skyscrapers Can Save the City BESIDES MAKING CITIES MORE AFFORDABLE AND ARCHITECTURALLY INTERESTING, TALL BUILDINGS ARE GREENER THAN SPRAWL, AND THEY FOSTER SOCIAL CAPITAL AND CREATIVITY. YET SOME URBAN PLANNERS AND PRESERVATIONISTS SEEM TO HAVE A MISPLACED FEAR OF HEIGHTS THAT YIELDS DAMAGING RESTRICTIONS ON HOW TALL A BUILDING CAN BE. FROM NEW YORK TO PARIS TO MUMBAI, THERE’S A POWERFUL CASE FOR BUILDING UP, NOT OUT. By Edward Glaeser IMAGE CREDIT: LEONELLO CALVETTI/BERNSTEIN & ANDRIULLI IN THE BOOK of Genesis, the builders of Babel declared, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower with its top in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.” These early developers correctly understood that cities could connect humanity. But God punished them for monumentalizing terrestrial, rather than celestial, glory. For more than 2,000 years, Western city builders took this story’s warning to heart, and the tallest structures they erected were typically church spires. In the late Middle Ages, the wool-making center of Bruges became one of the first places where a secular structure, a 354-foot belfry built to celebrate cloth-making, towered over nearby churches. But elsewhere another four or five centuries passed before secular structures surpassed religious ones. With its 281-foot spire, Trinity Church was the tallest building in New York City until 1890. Perhaps that year, when Trinity’s spire was eclipsed by a skyscraper built to house Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, should be seen as the true start of the irreligious 20th century. At almost the same time, Paris celebrated its growing wealth by erecting the 1,000-foot Eiffel Tower, which was 700 feet taller than the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Also see: Interactive Graphic: How High Can We Go? The ceaseless climb of the world's skyscrapers is a story of ever-evolving challenges. Here's how we reached the heights we have—and where we might go from here. Since that tower in Babel, height has been seen both as a symbol of power and as a way to provide more space on a fixed amount of land. The belfry of Trinity Church and Gustave Eiffel’s tower did not provide usable space. They were massive monuments to God and to French engineering, respectively. Pulitzer’s World Building was certainly a monument to Pulitzer, but it was also a relatively practical means of getting his growing news operation into a single building. For centuries, ever taller buildings have made it possible to cram more and more people onto an acre of land. Yet until the 19th century, the move upward was a moderate evolution, in which two-story buildings were gradually replaced by four- and six-story buildings. Until the 19th century, heights were restricted by the cost of building and the limits on our desire to climb stairs. Church spires and belfry towers could pierce the heavens, but only because they were narrow and few people other than the occasional bell-ringer had to climb them. Tall buildings became possible in the 19th century, when American innovators solved the twin problems of safely moving people up and down and creating tall buildings without enormously thick lower walls. Elisha Otis didn’t invent the elevator; Archimedes is believed to have built one 2,200 years ago. And Louis XV is said to have had a personal lift installed in Versailles so that he could visit his mistress. But before the elevator could become mass transit, it needed a good source of power, and it needed to be safe. Matthew Boulton and James Watt provided the early steam engines used to power industrial elevators, which were either pulled up by ropes or pushed up hydraulically. As engines improved, so did the speed and power of elevators that could haul coal out of mines or grain from boats. But humans were still wary of traveling long distances upward in a machine that could easily break and send them hurtling downward. Otis, tinkering in a sawmill in Yonkers, took the danger out of vertical transit. He invented a safety brake and presented it in 1854 at New York’s Crystal Palace Exposition. He had himself hoisted on a platform, and then, dramatically, an axman severed the suspending rope. The platform dropped slightly, then came to a halt as the safety brake engaged. The Otis elevator became a sensation. In the 1870s, it enabled pathbreaking structures, like Richard Morris Hunt’s Tribune Building in New York, to reach 10 stories. Across the Atlantic, London’s 269-foot St. Pancras Station was taller even than the Tribune Building. But the fortress-like appearance of St. Pancras hints at the building’s core problem. It lacks the critical cost-reducing ingredient of the modern skyscraper: a load-bearing steel skeleton. Traditional buildings, like St. Pancras or the Tribune Building, needed extremely strong lower walls to support their weight. The higher a building went, the thicker its lower walls had to be, and that made costs almost prohibitive, unless you were building a really narrow spire. The load-bearing steel skeleton, which pretty much defines a skyscraper, applies the same engineering principles used in balloon-frame houses, which reduced the costs of building throughout rural 19th-century America. A balloon-frame house uses a light skeleton made of standardized boards to support its weight. The walls are essentially hung on the frame like a curtain. Skyscrapers also rest their weight on a skeleton frame, but in this case the frame is made of steel, which became increasingly affordable in the late 19th century. THERE IS A lively architectural debate about who invented the skyscraper—reflecting the fact that the skyscraper, like most other gifts of the city, didn’t occur in a social vacuum, and did not occur all at once. William Le Baron Jenney’s 138-foot Home Insurance Building, built in Chicago in 1885, is often seen as the first true skyscraper. But Jenney’s skyscraper didn’t have a complete steel skeleton. It just had two iron-reinforced walls. Other tall buildings in Chicago, such as the Montauk Building, designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root and built two years earlier, had already used steel reinforcement. Industrial structures, like the McCullough Shot and Lead Tower in New York and the St. Ouen dock warehouse near Paris, had used iron frames decades before. Jenney’s proto-skyscraper was a patchwork, stitching together his own innovations with ideas that were in the air in Chicago, a city rich with architects. Other builders, like Burnham and Root, their engineer George Fuller, and Louis Sullivan, a former Jenney apprentice, then further developed the idea. Sullivan’s great breakthrough came in 1891, when he put up the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, a skyscraper free from excessive ornamental masonry. Whereas Jenney’s buildings evoke the Victorian era, the Wainwright Building points the way toward the modernist towers that now define so many urban skylines. Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead is believed to be loosely based on the early life of Sullivan’s apprentice Frank Lloyd Wright. Sullivan and Wright are depicted as lone eagles, Gary Cooper heroes, paragons of individualism. They weren’t. They were great architects deeply enmeshed in an urban chain of innovation. Wright riffed on Sullivan’s idea of form following function, Sullivan riffed on Jenney, and they all borrowed the wisdom of Peter B. Wight, who produced great innovations in fireproofing. Their collective creation—the skyscraper—enabled cities to add vast amounts of floor space using the same amount of ground area. Given the rising demand for center-city real estate, the skyscraper seemed like a godsend. The problem was that those city centers already had buildings on them. Except in places like Chicago, where fire had created a tabula rasa, cities needed to tear down to build up. The demand for space was even stronger in New York than in Chicago, and skyscrapers were soon springing up in Manhattan. In 1890, Pulitzer’s World Building had some steel framing, but its weight was still supported by seven-foot-thick masonry walls. In 1899, the Park Row Building soared over the World Building, to 391 feet, supported by a steel skeleton. Daniel Burnham traveled east to build his iconic Flatiron Building in 1902, and several years later, Wight’s National Academy of Design was torn down to make way for the 700-foot Metropolitan Life tower, then the tallest building in the world. In 1913, the Woolworth Building reached 792 feet, and it remained the world’s tallest until the boom of the late ’20s. IMAGE CREDIT: GIANLUCA FABRIZIO/GETTY IMAGES THOSE TALL BUILDINGS were not mere monuments. They enabled New York to grow and industries to expand. They gave factory owners and workers space that was both more humane and more efficient. Manhattan’s master builders, such as A. E. Lefcourt, made that possible. Like a proper Horatio Alger figure, Lefcourt was born poor and started work as a newsboy and bootblack. By his teenage years, he had saved enough cash to buy a $1,000 U.S. Treasury bond, which he kept pinned inside his shirt. At 25, Lefcourt took over his employer’s wholesale business, and over the next decade he became a leading figure in the garment industry. In 1910, Lefcourt began a new career as a real-estate developer, putting all of his capital into a 12-story loft building on West 25th Street for his own company. He built more such buildings, and helped move his industry from the old sweatshops into the modern Garment District. The advantage of the garment industry’s old home downtown had been its proximity to the port. Lefcourt’s new Garment District lay between Grand Central and Pennsylvania stations, anchored by the rail lines that continued to give New York a transportation advantage. Transportation technologies shape cities, and Midtown Manhattan was built around two great rail stations that could carry in legions of people. Also see: City Limits: A Conversation With Edward Glaeser The author comments on preserving Paris, the hazards of housing projects, and why measures aimed at saving our cities may actually threaten their survival. Over the next 20 years, Lefcourt would erect more than 30 edifices, many of them skyscrapers. He used those Otis elevators in soaring towers that covered 150 acres, encased 100 million cubic feet, and contained as many workers as Trenton. “He demolished more historical landmarks in New York City than any other man had dared to contemplate,” TheWall Street Journal wrote. In the early 1920s, the New York of slums, tenements, and Gilded Age mansions was transformed into a city of skyscrapers, as builders like Lefcourt erected nearly 100,000 new housing units each year, enabling the city to grow and to stay reasonably affordable. By 1928, Lefcourt’s real-estate wealth had made him a billionaire in today’s dollars. He celebrated by opening a national bank bearing his own name. Lefcourt’s optimism was undiminished by the stock-market crash, and he planned $50 million of construction for 1930, sure that it would be a “great building year.” But as New York’s economy collapsed, so did his real-estate empire, which was sold off piecemeal to pay his investors. He died in 1932 worth only $2,500, seemingly punished, like the builders of Babel, for his hubris. I suspect that Lefcourt, like many developers, cared more about his structural legacy than about cash. Those structures helped house the creative minds that still make New York special. His most famous building, which doesn’t even bear his name, came to symbolize an entire musical style: the “Brill Building Sound.” In the late 1950s and early ’60s, artists connected in the Brill Building, producing a string of hits like “Twist and Shout,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and, fittingly enough, “Up on the Roof.” Cities are ultimately about the connections between people, and structures—like those built by Lefcourt—make those connections possible. By building up, Lefcourt made the lives of garment workers far more pleasant and created new spaces for creative minds. NEW YORK’S UPWARD trajectory was not without its detractors. In 1913, the distinguished chairman of the Fifth Avenue Commission, who was himself an architect, led a fight to “save Fifth Avenue from ruin.” At that time, Fifth Avenue was still a street of stately mansions owned by Carnegies and Rockefellers. The anti-growth activists argued that unless heights were restricted to 125 feet or less, Fifth Avenue would become a canyon, with ruinous results for property values and the city as a whole. Similar arguments have been made by the enemies of change throughout history. The chair of the commission was a better architect than prognosticator, as density has suited Fifth Avenue quite nicely. Also see: Gallery: The Architecture of Louis Sullivan Historic photographs of some of Louis Sullivan's most renowned and intriguing buildings. The Atlantic on Skyscrapers and Cities Writings by Robert Moses, Richard Florida, Witold Rybczynski, Philip Langdon, and others, from the Atlantic's archives. In 1915, between Broadway and Nassau Street, in the heart of downtown New York, the Equitable Life Assurance Society constructed a monolith that contained well over a million square feet of office space and, at about 540 feet, cast a seven-acre shadow on the city. The building became a rallying cry for the enemies of height, who wanted to see a little more sun. A political alliance came together and passed the city’s landmark 1916 zoning ordinance, which allowed buildings to rise only if they gave up girth. New York’s many ziggurat-like structures, which get narrower as they get taller, were constructed to fulfill the setback requirements of that ordinance. The code changed the shape of buildings, but it did little to stop the construction boom of the 1920s. Really tall buildings provide something of an index of irrational exuberance. Five of the 10 tallest buildings standing in New York City in 2009—including the Empire State Building—were completed between 1930 and ’33. In the go-go years of the late ’20s, when the city’s potential seemed unlimited, builders like Lefcourt were confident they could attract tenants, and their bankers were happy to lend. The builders of the Chrysler Building, 40 Wall Street, and the Empire State Building engaged in a great race to produce the tallest structure in the world. It is an odd fact that two of New York’s tallest and most iconic edifices were built with money made from selling the cars that would move America away from vertical cities to sprawling suburbs. As it turned out, the winner, the Empire State Building, was soon nicknamed the “Empty State Building”—it was neither fully occupied nor profitable until the 1940s. Luckily for its financiers, the building’s construction had come in way below budget. New York slowed its construction of skyscrapers after 1933, and its regulations became ever more complex. Between 1916 and 1960, the city’s original zoning code was amended more than 2,500 times. In 1961, the City Planning Commission passed a new zoning resolution that significantly increased the limits on building. The resulting 420-page code replaced a simple classification of space—business, residential, unrestricted—with a dizzying number of different districts, each of which permitted only a narrow range of activities. There were 13 types of residential district, 12 types of manufacturing district, and no fewer than 41 types of commercial district. Each type of district narrowly classified the range of permissible activities. Commercial art galleries were forbidden in residential districts but allowed in manufacturing districts, while noncommercial art galleries were forbidden in manufacturing districts but allowed in residential districts. Art-supply stores were forbidden in residential districts and some commercial districts. Parking-space requirements also differed by district. In an R5 district, a hospital was required to have one off-street parking spot for every five beds, but in an R6 district, a hospital had to have one space for every eight beds. The picayune detail of the code is exemplified by its control of signs: For multiple dwellings, including apartment hotels, or for permitted non-residential buildings or other structures, one identification sign, with an area not exceeding 12 square feet and indicating only the name of the permitted use, the name or address of the building, or the name of the management thereof, is permitted. The code also removed the system of setbacks and replaced it with a complex system based on the floor-to-area ratio, or FAR, which is the ratio of interior square footage to ground area. A maximum FAR of two, for example, meant that a developer could put a two-story building on his entire plot or a four-story building on half of the plot. In residential districts R1, R2, and R3, the maximum floor-to-area ratio was 0.5. In R9 districts, the maximum FAR was about 7.5, depending on the building height. The height restriction was eased for builders who created plazas or other public spaces at the front of the building. While the standard building created by the 1916 code was a wedding cake that started at the sidewalk, the standard building created by the 1961 code was a glass-and-steel slab with an open plaza in front. NEW YORK’S ZONING CODES were getting more rigorous, but so were other restrictions on development. After World War II, New York made private development more difficult by overregulating construction and rents, while building a bevy of immense public structures, such as Stuyvesant Town and Lincoln Center. But then, during the 1950s and ’60s, both public and private projects ran into growing resistance from grassroots organizers like Jane Jacobs, who were becoming adept at mounting opposition to large-scale development. In 1961, Jacobs published her masterpiece, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which investigates and celebrates the pedestrian world of mid-20th-century New York. She argued that mixed-use zoning fostered street life, the essence of city living. But Jacobs liked protecting old buildings because of a confused piece of economic reasoning. She thought that preserving older, shorter structures would somehow keep prices affordable for budding entrepreneurs. That’s not how supply and demand works. Protecting an older one-story building instead of replacing it with a 40-story building does not preserve affordability. Indeed, opposing new building is the surest way to make a popular area unaffordable. An increase in the supply of houses, or anything else, almost always drives prices down, while restricting the supply of real estate keeps prices high. The relationship between housing supply and affordability isn’t just a matter of economic theory. A great deal of evidence links the supply of space with the cost of real estate. Simply put, the places that are expensive don’t build a lot, and the places that build a lot aren’t expensive. Perhaps a new 40-story building won’t itself house any quirky, less profitable firms, but by providing new space, the building will ease pressure on the rest of the city. Price increases in gentrifying older areas will be muted because of new construction. Growth, not height restrictions and a fixed building stock, keeps space affordable and ensures that poorer people and less profitable firms can stay and help a thriving city remain successful and diverse. Height restrictions do increase light, and preservation does protect history, but we shouldn’t pretend that these benefits come without a cost. IMAGE CREDIT: RAEFORD DWYER IN 1962, IN response to the outcry over the razing of the original Pennsylvania Station, which was beautiful and much beloved, Mayor Robert Wagner established the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In 1965, despite vigorous opposition from the real-estate industry, the commission became permanent. Initially, this seemed like a small sop to preservationists. The number of buildings landmarked in the commission’s first year, 1,634, was modest, and the commission’s power was checked by the city council, which could veto its decisions. Yet, like entropy, the reach of governmental agencies often expands over time, so that a mild, almost symbolic group can come to influence vast swaths of a city. By 2008, more than 15 percent of Manhattan’s non-park land south of 96th Street was in a historic district, where every external change must be approved by the commission. By the end of 2010, the commission had jurisdiction over 27,000 landmarked buildings and 101 historic districts. In 2006, the developer Aby Rosen proposed putting a glass tower of more than 20 stories atop the old Sotheby Parke-Bernet building at 980 Madison Avenue, in the Upper East Side Historic District. Rosen and his Pritzker Prize–winning architect, Lord Norman Foster, wanted to erect the tower above the original building, much as the MetLife Building (formerly the Pan Am Building) rises above Grand Central Terminal. The building was not itself landmarked, but well-connected neighbors didn’t like the idea of more height, and they complained to the commission. Tom Wolfe, who has written brilliantly about the caprices of both New York City and the real-estate industry, wrote a 3,500-word op-ed in The New York Times warning the landmarks commission against approving the project. Wolfe & Company won. In response to his critics in the 980 Madison Avenue case, of whom I was one, Wolfe was quoted in The Village Voice as saying: To take [Glaeser’s] theory to its logical conclusion would be to develop Central Park … When you consider the thousands and thousands of people who could be housed in Central Park if they would only allow them to build it up, boy, the problem is on the way to being solved! But one of the advantages of building up in already dense neighborhoods is that you don’t have to build in green areas, whether in Central Park or somewhere far from an urban center. From the preservationist perspective, building up in one area reduces the pressure to take down other, older buildings. One could quite plausibly argue that if members of the landmarks commission have decided that a building can be razed, then they should demand that its replacement be as tall as possible. The cost of restricting development is that protected areas have become more expensive and more exclusive. In 2000, people who lived in historic districts in Manhattan were on average almost 74 percent wealthier than people who lived outside such areas. Almost three-quarters of the adults living in historic districts had college degrees, as opposed to 54 percent outside them. People living in historic districts were 20 percent more likely to be white. The well-heeled historic-district denizens who persuade the landmarks commission to prohibit taller structures have become the urban equivalent of those restrictive suburbanites who want to mandate five-acre lot sizes to keep out the riffraff. It’s not that poorer people could ever afford 980 Madison Avenue, but restricting new supply anywhere makes it more difficult for the city to accommodate demand, and that pushes up prices everywhere. Again, the basic economics of housing prices are pretty simple—supply and demand. New York and Mumbai and London all face increasing demand for their housing, but how that demand affects prices depends on supply. Building enough homes eases the impact of rising demand and makes cities more affordable. That’s the lesson of both Houston today and New York in the 1920s. In the post-war boom years between 1955 and 1964, Manhattan issued permits for an average of more than 11,000 new housing units each year. Between 1980 and ’99, when the city’s prices were soaring, Manhattan approved an average of 3,100 new units per year. Fewer new homes meant higher prices; between 1970 and 2000, the median price of a Manhattan housing unit increased by 284 percent in constant dollars. The other key factor in housing economics is the cost of building a home. The cheapest way to deliver new housing is in the form of mass-produced two-story homes, which typically cost only about $84 a square foot to erect. That low cost explains why Atlanta and Dallas and Houston are able to supply so much new housing at low prices, and why so many Americans have ended up buying affordable homes in those places. Building up is more costly, especially when elevators start getting involved. And erecting a skyscraper in New York City involves additional costs (site preparation, legal fees, a fancy architect) that can push the price even higher. But many of these are fixed costs that don’t increase with the height of the building. In fact, once you’ve reached the seventh floor or so, building up has its own economic logic, since those fixed costs can be spread over more apartments. Just as the cost of a big factory can be covered by a sufficiently large production run, the cost of site preparation and a hotshot architect can be covered by building up. The actual marginal cost of adding an extra square foot of living space at the top of a skyscraper in New York is typically less than $400. Prices do rise substantially in ultra-tall buildings—say, over 50 stories—but for ordinary skyscrapers, it doesn’t cost more than $500,000 to put up a nice 1,200-square-foot apartment. The land costs something, but in a 40-story building with one 1,200-square-foot unit per floor, each unit is using only 30 square feet of Manhattan—less than a thousandth of an acre. At those heights, the land costs become pretty small. If there were no restrictions on new construction, then prices would eventually come down to somewhere near construction costs, about $500,000 for a new apartment. That’s a lot more than the $210,000 that it costs to put up a 2,500-square-foot house in Houston—but a lot less than the $1 million or more that such an apartment often costs in Manhattan. Land is also pretty limited in Chicago’s Gold Coast, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Demand may not be the same as in Manhattan, but it’s still pretty high. Yet you can buy a beautiful condominium with a lake view for roughly half the cost of a similar unit in Manhattan. Building in Chicago is cheaper than in New York—but it’s not twice as cheap. The big cost difference is that Chicago’s leadership has always encouraged new construction more than New York’s (at least before the Bloomberg administration). The forest of cranes along Lake Michigan keeps Chicago affordable. Most people who fight to stop a new development think of themselves as heroes, not villains. After all, a plan to put up a new building on Madison Avenue clearly bugs a lot of people, and preventing one building isn’t going to make much difference to the city as a whole. The problem is that all those independent decisions to prohibit construction add up. Zoning rules, air rights, height restrictions, and landmarks boards together form a web of regulation that has made building more and more difficult. The increasing wave of regulations was, until the Bloomberg administration, making New York shorter. In a sample of condominium buildings, I found that more than 80 percent of Manhattan’s residential buildings built in the 1970s had more than 20 stories. But less than 40 percent of the buildings put up in the 1990s were that tall. The elevator and the steel-framed skyscraper made it possible to get vast amounts of living space onto tiny amounts of land, but New York’s building rules were limiting that potential. The growth in housing supply determines not only prices but the number of people in a city. The statistical relationship between new building and population growth within a given area is almost perfect, so that when an area increases its housing stock by 1 percent, its population rises by almost exactly that proportion. As a result, when New York or Boston or Paris restricts construction, its population will be smaller. If the restrictions become strong enough, then a city can even lose population, despite rising demand, as wealthier, smaller families replace poorer, larger ones. Jane Jacobs’s insights into the pleasures and strengths of older, shorter urban neighborhoods were certainly correct, but she had too little faith in the strengths of even-higher density levels. I was born a year before Jacobs left New York for Toronto, and I lived in Manhattan for the next 17 years. Yet my neighborhood looked nothing like low-rise Greenwich Village. I grew up surrounded by white glazed towers built after World War II to provide affordable housing for middle-income people like my parents. The neighborhood may not have been as charming as Greenwich Village, but it had plenty of fun restaurants, quirky stores, and even-quirkier pedestrians. The streets were reasonably safe. It was certainly a functioning, vibrant urban space, albeit one with plenty of skyscrapers. WHEN BARON HAUSSMANN thoroughly rebuilt Paris in the mid-19th century at the behest of Napoleon III, he did things unthinkable in a more democratic age: He evicted vast numbers of the poor, turning their homes into the wide boulevards that made Paris monumental. He lopped off a good chunk of the Luxembourg Gardens to create city streets. He tore down ancient landmarks, including much of the Île de la Cité. He spent 2.5 billion francs on his efforts, which was 44 times the total budget of Paris in 1851. All of that spending and upheaval turned Paris from an ancient and somewhat dilapidated city of great poverty into an urban resort for the growing haute bourgeoisie. He also made Paris a bit taller, boosting the Bourbon-era height limit on buildings from 54 feet to 62 feet. Still, relative to cities built in the elevator-rich 20th century, Haussmann’s Paris stayed short, because people needed to climb stairs. Height restrictions were lifted in 1967, and construction of Paris’s first proper skyscraper, the 689-foot Montparnasse Tower, didn’t begin until 1969. Two years later, Les Halles, a popular open-air marketplace, was wiped away and the futuristic Centre Pompidou museum was begun. But these changes rankled those Parisians who had gotten used to a static city. The Montparnasse Tower was widely loathed, and the lesson drawn was that skyscrapers must never again mar central Paris. Les Halles was sorely missed, in much the same way that many New Yorkers mourned the demise of the old Penn Station. France is a far more regulatory country than America, and when its rulers decide they don’t want change, change will not occur. In 1974, a height limit of 83 feet was imposed in central Paris. But while these rules restricted height in old Paris, they let buildings grow on the periphery. Today, the majority of Paris’s skyscrapers are in relatively dense but far-flung complexes like La Défense, which is three miles northwest of the Arc de Triomphe. La Défense is as vertical as central Paris is flat. It has about 35 million square feet of commercial space and the feel of an American office park. Except for the distant view of the Arc, administrative assistants drinking lattes in a Starbucks there could easily be in a bigger version of Crystal City, Virginia. La Défense addresses the need to balance preservation and growth by segregating skyscrapers. In some senses, it is an inspired solution. People working there can still get to old Paris in about 20 minutes by Métro or in an hour on foot. That Métro line means that businesses in La Défense can connect with the all-important French bureaucracy that remains centered in the old city. La Défense is one of Europe’s most concentrated commercial centers, and it seems to have all of the economic excitement that we would expect from such a mass of skilled workers. The sector enables Paris to grow, while keeping the old city pristine. But building in La Défense is not a perfect substitute for new construction in the more-desirable central areas of Paris, where short supply keeps housing prices astronomical. The natural thing is to have tall buildings in the center, where demand is greatest, not on the edge. The lack of new housing in central Paris means that small apartments can sell for $1 million or more. Hotel rooms often cost more than $500 a night. If you want to be in the center of the city, you’ll have to pay for it. People are willing to pay those high prices, because Paris is so charming, but they wouldn’t have to if the city’s rulers hadn’t decided to limit the amount of housing that can be built in the area. Average people are barred from living in central Paris just as surely as if the city had put up a gate and said that no middle-income people can enter. For the world’s oldest, most beautiful cities, La Défense provides a viable model. Keep the core areas historic, but let millions of square feet be built nearby. As long as building in the high-rise district is sufficiently unfettered, then that area provides a safety valve for the region as a whole. The key issue with La Défense is whether it is too far away. Its distance from the old city keeps central Paris pristine, but it deprives too many people of the pleasures of strolling to a traditional café for lunch. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to balance the benefits of providing additional desirable space with the need to preserve a beautiful older city. I wish that some developments like La Défense had been built closer to the center of Paris. But I also understand those who think Paris is so precious that more space should be maintained between the developments and Haussmann’s boulevards. Paris, however, is an extreme case. In much of the rest of the world, the argument for restricting development is far weaker. And nowhere have limits on development done more harm than in the Indian mega-city of Mumbai. IT’S A PITY that so few ordinary people can afford to live in central Paris or Manhattan, but France and the U.S. will survive. The problems caused by arbitrarily restricting height in the developing world are far more serious, because they handicap the metropolises that help turn desperately poor nations into middle-income countries. The rules that keep India’s cities too short and too expensive mean that too few Indians can connect, with each other and with the outside world, in the urban places that are making that poor country richer. Since poverty often means death in the developing world, and since restricting city growth ensures more poverty, it is not hyperbole to say that land-use planning in India can be a matter of life and death. Mumbai is a city of astonishing human energy and entrepreneurship, from the high reaches of finance and film to the jam-packed spaces of the Dharavi slum. All of this private talent deserves a public sector that performs the core tasks of city government—like providing sewers and safe water—without overreaching and overregulating. One curse of the developing world is that governments take on too much and fail at their main responsibilities. A country that cannot provide clean water for its citizens should not be in the business of regulating film dialogue. The public failures in Mumbai are as obvious as the private successes. Western tourists can avoid the open-air defecation in Mumbai’s slums, but they can’t avoid the city’s failed transportation network. Driving the 15 miles from the airport to the city’s old downtown, with its landmark Gateway of India arch, can easily take 90 minutes. There is a train that could speed your trip, but few Westerners have the courage to brave its crowds during rush hour. In 2008, more than three people each working day were pushed out of that train to their death. Average commute times in Mumbai are roughly 50 minutes each way, which is about double the average American commute. The most cost-effective means of opening up overcrowded city streets would be to follow Singapore and charge more for their use. If you give something away free, people will use too much of it. Mumbai’s roads are just too valuable to be clogged up by ox carts at rush hour, and the easiest way to get flexible drivers off the road is to charge them for their use of public space. Congestion charges aren’t just for rich cities; they are appropriate anywhere traffic comes to a standstill. After all, Singapore was not wealthy in 1975, when it started charging drivers for using downtown streets. Like Singapore, Mumbai could just require people to buy paper day licenses to drive downtown, and require them to show those licenses in their windows. Politics, however, and not technology, would make this strategy difficult. Mumbai’s traffic problems reflect not just poor transportation policy, but a deeper and more fundamental failure of urban planning. In 1991, Mumbai fixed a maximum floor-to-area ratio of 1.33 in most of the city, meaning that it restricted the height of the average building to 1.33 stories: if you have an acre of land, you can construct a two-story building on two-thirds of an acre, or a three-story building on four-ninths of an acre, provided you leave the rest of the property empty. In those years, India still had a lingering enthusiasm for regulation, and limiting building heights seemed to offer a way to limit urban growth. But Mumbai’s height restrictions meant that, in one of the most densely populated places on Earth, buildings could have an average height of only one and a third stories. People still came; Mumbai’s economic energy drew them in, even when living conditions were awful. Limiting heights didn’t stop urban growth, it just ensured that more and more migrants would squeeze into squalid, illegal slums rather than occupying legal apartment buildings. Singapore doesn’t prevent the construction of tall buildings, and its downtown functions well because it’s tall and connected. Businesspeople work close to one another and can easily trot to a meeting. Hong Kong is even more vertical and even friendlier to pedestrians, who can walk in air-conditioned skywalks from skyscraper to skyscraper. It takes only a few minutes to get around Wall Street or Midtown Manhattan. Even vast Tokyo can be traversed largely on foot. These great cities function because their height enables a huge number of people to work, and sometimes live, on a tiny sliver of land. But Mumbai is short, so everyone sits in traffic and pays dearly for space. A city of 20 million people occupying a tiny landmass could be housed in corridors of skyscrapers. An abundance of close and connected vertical real estate would decrease the pressure on roads, ease the connections that are the lifeblood of a 21st-century city, and reduce Mumbai’s extraordinarily high cost of space. Yet instead of encouraging compact development, Mumbai is pushing people out. Only six buildings in Mumbai rise above 490 feet, and three of them were built last year, with more on the way as some of the height restrictions have been slightly eased, especially outside the traditional downtown. But the continuing power of these requirements explains why many of the new skyscrapers are surrounded by substantial green space. This traps tall buildings in splendid isolation, so that cars, rather than feet, are still needed to get around. If Mumbai wants to promote affordability and ease congestion, it should make developers use their land area to the fullest, requiring any new downtown building to have at least 40 stories. By requiring developers to create more, not less, floor space, the government would encourage more housing, less sprawl, and lower prices. Historically, Mumbai’s residents couldn’t afford such height, but many can today, and they would live in taller buildings if those buildings were abundant and affordable. Concrete canyons, such as those along New York’s Fifth Avenue, aren’t an urban problem—they are a perfectly reasonable way to fit a large number of people and businesses on a small amount of land. Only bad policy prevents a long row of 50-story buildings from lining Mumbai’s seafront, much as high-rises adorn Chicago’s lakefront. The magic of cities comes from their people, but those people must be well served by the bricks and mortar that surround them. Cities need roads and buildings that enable people to live well and to connect easily with one another. Tall towers, like Henry Ford II’s Renaissance Center in Detroit, make little sense in places with abundant space and slack demand. But in the most desirable cities, whether they’re on the Hudson River or the Arabian Sea, height is the best way to keep prices affordable and living standards high. THE SUCCESS OF our cities, the world’s economic engines, increasingly depends on abstruse decisions made by zoning boards and preservation committees. It certainly makes sense to control construction in dense urban spaces, but I would replace the maze of regulations now limiting new construction with three simple rules. Also see: The 30 Most Dynamic Cities in the World Grading each metropolis by the growth of its income and employment, a new study found the world's fastest recovering cities are overwhelmingly in three key areas: China and India, Southeast Asian islands, and Latin America The 20 Cities Leading the U.S. Recovery Areas that traded the boom-and-bust real estate business for Meds, Eds, Feds and Enlisteds only got spritzed by the recession while most cities felt the full force of the economic tsunami. First, cities should replace the lengthy and uncertain permitting processes now in place with a simple system of fees. If tall buildings create costs by blocking out light or views, then form a reasonable estimate of those costs and charge the builder appropriately. The money from those fees could then be given to the people who are suffering, such as the neighbors who lose light from a new construction project. I don’t mean to suggest that such a system would be easy to design. There is plenty of room for debate about the costs associated with buildings of different heights. People would certainly disagree about the size of the neighboring areas that should receive compensation. But reasonable rules could be developed that would then be universally applied; for instance, every new building in New York would pay some amount per square foot in compensation costs, in exchange for a speedy permit. Some share of the money could go to the city treasury, and the rest would go to people within a block of the new edifice. A simple tax system would be far more transparent and targeted than the current regulatory maze. Today, many builders negotiate our system by hiring expensive lawyers and lobbyists and buying political influence. It would be far better for them to just write a check to the rest of us. Allowing more building doesn’t have to be a windfall for developers; sensible, straightforward regulations can make new development good for the neighborhood and the city. Second, historic preservation should be limited and well defined. Landmarking a masterpiece like the Flatiron Building or the old Penn Station is sensible. Preserving a post-war glazed-brick building is absurd. But where do you draw the line between those two extremes? My own preference is that, in a city like New York, the Landmarks Preservation Commission should have a fixed number of buildings, perhaps 5,000, that it may protect. The commission can change its chosen architectural gems, but it needs to do so slowly. It shouldn’t be able to change its rules overnight to stop construction in some previously unprotected area. If the commission wants to preserve a whole district, then let it spread its 5,000-building mandate across the area. Perhaps 5,000 buildings are too few; but without some sort of limit, any regulatory agency will constantly try to increase its scope. The problem gets thornier in places like Paris, practically all of which is beloved worldwide. In such cases, the key is to find some sizable area, reasonably close to the city center, that can be used for ultra-dense development. Ideally, this space would be near enough to let its residents enjoy walking to the beautiful streets of the older city. Finally, individual neighborhoods should have more power to protect their special character. Some blocks might want to exclude bars. Others might want to encourage them. Rather than regulate neighborhoods entirely from the top down, let individual neighborhoods enforce their own, limited rules that are adopted only with the approval of a large share of residents. In this way, ordinary citizens, rather than the planners in City Hall, would get a say over what happens around them. Great cities are not static—they constantly change, and they take the world along with them. When New York and Chicago and Paris experienced great spurts of creativity and growth, they reshaped themselves to provide new structures that could house new talent and new ideas. Cities can’t force change with new buildings—as the Rust Belt’s experience clearly shows. But if change is already happening, new building can speed the process along. Yet many of the world’s old and new cities have increasingly arrayed rules that prevent construction that would accommodate higher densities. Sometimes these rules have a good justification, such as preserving truly important works of architecture. Sometimes, they are mindless NIMBYism or a misguided attempt at stopping urban growth. In all cases, restricting construction ties cities to their past and limits the possibilities for their future. If cities can’t build up, then they will build out. If building in a city is frozen, then growth will happen somewhere else. Land-use regulations may seem like urban arcana. But these rules matter because they shape our structures, and our structures shape our societies—often in unexpected ways. Consider that carbon emissions are significantly lower in big cities than in outlying suburbs, and that, as of 2007, life expectancy in New York City was 1.5 years higher than in the nation as a whole. As America struggles to regain its economic footing, we would do well to remember that dense cities are also far more productive than suburbs, and offer better-paying jobs. Globalization and new technologies seem to have only made urban proximity more valuable—young workers gain many of the skills they need in a competitive global marketplace by watching the people around them. Those tall buildings enable the human interactions that are at the heart of economic innovation, and of progress itself. This article available online at: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/03/how-skyscrapers-can-save-the-city/8387/ Copyright © 2011 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/03/how-skyscrapers-can-save-the-city/8387/