Wednesday, February 16, 2011


by Amar Mohite

Paris was born with the development of the villages on La Cite. But it got its name Paris, only in the 4th century from its former name Lutetia. Early Parisians were fishermen, farmers, foresters, herdsmen and boatmen who had prospered on the banks of the river Seine. In 51 B.C. the Romans conquered Lutetia.1 Under the Roman Empire the region had prospered as a junction between the North-South and the Seine. La Cite was enclosed in a wall due to persistent attacks from the barbarians.
The Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century (476 AD) and the Merovingians and the Carolingians came into power. In the 9th century Paris was pillaged and ransomed by the Vikings. Crucial architectural development stated during the reign of Philippe August in the 12th century. A second wall was constructed around the city that had, by then, increasingly expanded to the North and the South of the Seine. New growth sprung up along the major roads, because of inadequate space inside the city.
The administration of Paris was reorganized in the year 1261 and was divided between the provost King (affairs of the state) and the provost merchant (local affairs).2 Thus we can see the organizational change of power where the merchants are allotted some power. Also for the fiscal register were furnished to list the taxpayers and the numbers of households. Social and political changes during the same century helped bringing about the building of cathedrals, excellence of the universities, the proliferation of colleges and convents, the installation of mendicant order and the flowering of Gothic. In the 14th yet century another wall was built in northern Paris. The city was developing into a center of finance and a principal diplomatic center in Europe.
In the 16th century Paris was in crisis: too small for its ever-growing population, too vast for defense, too crowded for sanitation, and had a lot of congestion. 3 The parliament had to prohibit private carriages due to the congestion in the core. Economic activities were at a decline and most important Paris had lost its religious integrity as the Protestants, being a minority, was being attacked by the Catholics. The 17th century saw a major expansion in the size of the city. The of living was increasing as was the number of beggars and homeless and every year children were abandoned as a result of family poverty. To reestablish law and office of lieutenant de police was created in 1667 and efforts were made to improve conditions by requiring sewers and latrines, as well as the banishment of polluting factories. Following the demolition of the wall by Charles V, the Cours (boulevard) were built, a road that encircled the city to the north of Seine. This was also an introduction to the concept of ring roads. This indicated development of some sort of organization in planning focused on -restoring the quality of life. But these efforts were ineffective due to the unwillingness of the people and Paris remained mired in its own filth. The lack of popular support being against it may be attributed to the already high cost of living and the perception that any improvements would directly of indirectly increase this cost. Mortality rate had reached alarming heights and the numbers of births was less. In the attempt to stop growth of Paris the Louis XIV moved the political and administrative center to Versailles in 1680.

Paris, before 1900, by 1.7ou ! (Les chiquitos)
more about history of the city and planning:

History Of Cities And City Planning

German geographical urban morphology in an international and interdisciplinary framework

Top 20 Urban Planning Successes of All Time

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