The long evolution of cultural heritage till today’s wide meaning is inti-mately linked to France, where this concept was born in 19th century, during the Revolution, Empire and the Restoration. It originates from its recognition as expression of national identity and progresses through a sequence of legislative acts: initially linked to the preservation of individual monuments, later of the sites and protected areas, and then of the historic centers. This has been done by gradually increasing the reasons for such interest, initially founded on urban décor concerns and fi nally on the awareness that heritage would be a powerful contributor to social stability and sustainable economic development. If, in general, this improvement is not very dissimilar from that of other European countries, the “French exception” is here reconfi rmed and expressed by vigorous debates and a special attention paid to urban areas to which corre-spond administrative bodies and specifi c legal instruments. Since the Haussmann’s decree of 1852 in which, although linked to a radical need of modernization, the notion of ensemble historique came, for the fi rst time, into sight, France has constantly pursued its innovative vision of patrimoine urbain, by enacting the Malraux law on the safeguarding and valorisation of historic centres (1962) and introducing the zones de protection du patrimoine architectural et urbain (1983). In more recent years, following the guiding principles of the 2002 Solidarity and urban renewal law (SRU), the notion of “heritage” has been integrated into an overall urban vision, striving to bring it into line with town planning traditional data. Moreover, the process of patrimonialization now also concerns many buildings of 20th century, including the big social housing estates created during the Post-war economic boom. Privileged witnesses of the mod-ernization of France (after 1945), the grands ensembles are arousing, today, some interest and, for this reason, they deserve to be preserved and maintained. At a time when the future of its main cities has moved center stage onto French policies and strategies, this work intends to present the conceptual advancement in national urban heritage protection mechanisms and their applications, with special regard to Paris case. It thus will retrace the city’s modern developments: from the Grands Travaux to today, through the implementation of large urban projects, the reconstruction carried out after the World War II, the urban renewal of the second half of the 20th century characterized by extensive demolitions. The objective is twofold: while focusing on the destruction operated on the Capital, it is equally possible to understand the progression of the opposing conservative thoughts. This, because the idea of protection clearly appeared when town’s changes initiated to be considered a threat for its homogeneity and historical character.

Between Heritage Conservation and Urban Renewal. A Case Study: Paris, from Haussmann to the Present Day

CARDACI, Alessio;VERSACI, Antonella
2014

Abstract

The long evolution of cultural heritage till today’s wide meaning is inti-mately linked to France, where this concept was born in 19th century, during the Revolution, Empire and the Restoration. It originates from its recognition as expression of national identity and progresses through a sequence of legislative acts: initially linked to the preservation of individual monuments, later of the sites and protected areas, and then of the historic centers. This has been done by gradually increasing the reasons for such interest, initially founded on urban décor concerns and fi nally on the awareness that heritage would be a powerful contributor to social stability and sustainable economic development. If, in general, this improvement is not very dissimilar from that of other European countries, the “French exception” is here reconfi rmed and expressed by vigorous debates and a special attention paid to urban areas to which corre-spond administrative bodies and specifi c legal instruments. Since the Haussmann’s decree of 1852 in which, although linked to a radical need of modernization, the notion of ensemble historique came, for the fi rst time, into sight, France has constantly pursued its innovative vision of patrimoine urbain, by enacting the Malraux law on the safeguarding and valorisation of historic centres (1962) and introducing the zones de protection du patrimoine architectural et urbain (1983). In more recent years, following the guiding principles of the 2002 Solidarity and urban renewal law (SRU), the notion of “heritage” has been integrated into an overall urban vision, striving to bring it into line with town planning traditional data. Moreover, the process of patrimonialization now also concerns many buildings of 20th century, including the big social housing estates created during the Post-war economic boom. Privileged witnesses of the mod-ernization of France (after 1945), the grands ensembles are arousing, today, some interest and, for this reason, they deserve to be preserved and maintained. At a time when the future of its main cities has moved center stage onto French policies and strategies, this work intends to present the conceptual advancement in national urban heritage protection mechanisms and their applications, with special regard to Paris case. It thus will retrace the city’s modern developments: from the Grands Travaux to today, through the implementation of large urban projects, the reconstruction carried out after the World War II, the urban renewal of the second half of the 20th century characterized by extensive demolitions. The objective is twofold: while focusing on the destruction operated on the Capital, it is equally possible to understand the progression of the opposing conservative thoughts. This, because the idea of protection clearly appeared when town’s changes initiated to be considered a threat for its homogeneity and historical character.
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Cardaci, Alessio; Versaci, Antonella
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