Paris: The Unplanned and Planned Versions of a Great City

H.V. Savitch
Video On-Demand

Course Description

This lecture begins with an explanation of how great cities come about by “unplanned” (organic) growth versus “planned” (engineered) development. The manner by which “unplanned” and “planned” neighborhoods emerge determines the content of the built environment, the quality of urban life and the habits of human behavior. The reasoning applies to Paris’ oldest neighborhoods at the core of the city, to its 19th century neighborhoods scattered around the city and to its futuristic communities at the outskirts of the metropolis. Portrayed within this framework are different versions of Parisian life–– as a metropolis of affluent luxury and majestic architecture, as historic bastions of insurrection and revolution; as quaint, thriving neighborhoods; as soaring commercial centers, and; as places of severe hardship and poverty. Among all of Paris’ remarkable sites are the Latin Quarter, Pigalle, the Seine, the Champs Elysée and Les Halle. Street scenes of “unplanned” Paris are equally alluring––café life and sidewalk spectacles, shopping at open air markets and strolling along any one of the city’s historic bridges. At the other end of the spectrum lies a highly “planned” state of the art business district, built on a pedestrian platform, and connected by high speed rail to individual “new towns” surrounding the Parisian core. Slide photos demonstrate how cities can both embrace historic preservation and an ultra-modern design. The lecture concludes with a discussion of whether, how and why Paris is different from other great cities.

About the Instructor

  • H.V. Savitch, PhD is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center (Washington, DC) and Emeritus Brown & Williamson Professor, University of Louisville. He has written thirteen books and 100 published articles. He holds a Ph.D in Government and International Relations and taught courses dealing with the American Presidency at New York University and the State University of New York (Purchase). Dr. Savitch’s career touches both sides of the White House/Israeli relationship. On the White House sides his experience dates back to the transition between the Republican Ford and Democratic Carter presidencies. He spent that critical time interviewing both Republican and Democratic policy makers. On the Israeli side of his background Professor Savitch has been a Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as a Research Fellow at Jerusalem’s Floersheimer Institute for Public Policy. His work on urban terror comprise a book, Cities in a Time of Terror and a monograph titled, Trauma and Recovery in Jerusalem. His published op-ed articles on Israel have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel and The Algemeiner. Savitch has been a consultant to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Upcoming programs presented by H.V. Savitch.

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