After almost 6 years from now, when you click a picture from the peak of the Eiffel Tower, you will have a transformed and fascinating panorama soothing your eyes. The Smart City of Paris is rethinking the not-very-exciting landscape that surrounds the wonder of the world.
Well, Paris has been implementing a lot of its endeavours towards fighting air pollution and we have covered a lot about Paris’ innovative ambitions in different respects. This time our focus is on a single one-of-its-kind green project about to take shape spanning the wonder of the world in Paris.
Knowing the fact that Paris has a low green footprint in its urban space, it has plans to transform a 54-hectare grand site in the heart of the city into a lush green picturesque landscape while restricting vehicles from that area.
This project in the surroundings of Eiffel Tower will be a global-level inspiration showing how a smart city can have a beautiful green landscape accessible to everyone and not just the millions of tourists.
It is time to unveil the intentions behind bringing nature back to life – in the city centre!
Green Landscape Surrounding Eiffel Tower
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris envisions Paris as a smart city with the green landscape “where you can let go off your child’s hand”.
Going with this vision, the mayor has a major plan announced for the Eiffel Tower which has the world’s most renowned sites like the Trocadéro Gardens and Champ de Mars, and the Tower and its esplanade in its surroundings.
The project reveals that it will have a garden spreading over a 1-km area and connecting the riverside gardens and both sides of the Seine with pools, fountains and mini-parks. The surroundings will be free of vehicles and open to only pedestrians. A nearby bridge, the Pont d’Iéna will be transformed into a grassy, tree-lined walkway. In simple words, the completion of the project will enable tourists and citizens visiting the Eiffel Tower to just savour the tranquilising sound of trees rustling, birds singing and water flowing from fountains.
The roar of the busy traffic near the Eiffel Tower will just become a thing of the past and “nature will take its place once more alongside this exceptional heritage” as said by the mayor. The heart of this project is a pedestrian-friendly plan that will give rise to the largest garden in the city.
Hidalgo has already restricted vehicles from entering the long stretches of both riverside highways. She has made strides to overhaul seven of the major squares in the city, narrowing roads and paving more way for pedestrians, cyclists, and electric scooters.
Mary Bowman, from the London-based architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman, won the competition to redesign the landscape area surrounding the Eiffel Tower. She stated that the vision is to ‘unify the site from the Trocadéro to the École Militaire via the Palais de Chaillot, the Pont d’Iéna and the Champ de Mars to create a “biodiverse corridor”.
Both sides of the Pont d’Iéna would have passage to allow public transport and emergency vehicles. In addition, the project also involves the development of facilities for tourists to drop off luggage in front of the Eiffel Tower.
The plans to restrict private cars and other vehicles are still in the initial phase as a period of discussions with the city and the traffic authorities on how to achieve are beginning.
The first stage of the €72m project will complete by 2024 before the inauguration of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Whereas the second stage will begin after the 2024 Olympics and is expected to be accomplished by 2030. As per sources, the construction will begin by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
Creation Of A 3D Model For The Grand Project
Autodesk, the American multinational software corporation entered a partnership with the City of Paris to utilise the concept of BIM in creating a 3D model of the Eiffel Tower project which covers a total distance of 2.4 km.
Along with WSP and Gexpertise, the company created the largest urban model of its kind comprising of buildings, pedestrian zones, street crossings, roads and infrastructure, urban furniture and green areas.
This model was demonstrated in May 2018 alongside the 4 finalist teams that participated in the competition to redesign the landscape. These four finalists included Gustafson Porter + Bowman and BIM Services; AL_A and Quatorze-ig; Agence ter and Arcadis; and KOZ Architectes.
Going ahead, Autodesk worked with the teams to assist them in conceiving their design while providing access to a simplified version of the 3D model.
Furthermore, the company conducted workshops to help the team collaborate easily and understand the related challenges and the working methods for integrating the models.
Autodesk used immersive 3D visualisation tools, collaborative methodologies, and intelligent digital model that helped in speeding up the decision-making process and reducing potential errors.
This way the members of the jury were not just able to visualise the proposed developments but also could virtually take a tour of the grand project. The 3D model helped the jury in making the final judgement while able to feel the transformation of the heritage site as future visitors.
Coming to the core of this project, the green transformation around the Eiffel Tower will help the smart city of Paris in addressing the growing challenges related to energy, mobility, logistics, waste management, security, flooding and most importantly, pollution.
Now that the winning team, Gustafson Porter + Bowman, has been announced, the project is moving ahead by inviting citizens to share their feedback on the design.
After receiving feedback from citizens, the winning team will consider the public’s point of view and implement changes on project requirements. As soon as the design is finalised, it will be sent for analysis, simulation, official approvals in order to secure a building permit.
The Emphasis On Reducing Pollution
Well, this is kind of a school subject with the awareness growing about the fatal impact of pollution. But just as a reminder we need to recall that all five types of pollution (air, water, soil, light and noise) damage our health as well as that of the environment.
Not to mention, the urban activities spanning industry, transport, buildings, energy and agricultural sector along with the household activities are together increasing pollution on our only planet.
But the good news is that the air is cleaner than it used to be two decades ago as international cooperation and the recent smart city efforts are constantly reducing emissions and increasing green landscape. Take, for instance, sulphur dioxide emissions that cause acid rain have come down by over 80%.
However, the efforts are not enough! More proactive initiatives are inevitable in further mitigating the impact of pollution and defeating fine particles and ground-level ozone that are a serious threat to human health and the natural environment.
Smart cities have committed to climate change programme under the Paris agreement while also performing action on independent-basis. We are witnessing each city coming up with a new project to reduce GHG emissions. Be it sustainable transport systems, clean fuel consumption, urban afforestation and expansion of green canopy or green building approach, there is a lot happening in smart cities around the world.
These commitments to fight pollution are being actualised through national policies, state intervention, and the private sector.
It is understood, the small-scale projects at the city-level take shape rapidly (thanks to innovative technologies), and therefore the vision that aligns with smart cities will remain paramount.