The periphery becomes central

I was talking to a designer yesterday about Le Grand Paris, President Sarkozy’s ambitious project to improve the troubled periphery of his capital. Paris will get two new metro lines, and a major extension to a third, linking peripheral areas as well as giving them better links to the centre. There will be 53 stations, and 95% of the construction will be in deep tunnels. Truly a Grand Projet!

It is interesting that these links are going to be made at a time when the way that we use our cities is changing. As more people work from home at least some of the time, there is also a growing interest in ‘third places’, whether coffee shops, satellite offices or shared serviced spaces, where it is possible to leave the chaos of home without trekking to a city-centre office.

This could change the pattern of occupation of our cities, with more activity in out of town centres than usual, especially near those new transport changes. And, of course, people will want to make more journeys in a circumferential rather than a radial manner. Le Grand Paris could just be the future.







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