Green Spaces in Paris - LSU Book Explores the Planning Behind Them

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, written by Richard S. Hopkins, is an LSU Press publication exploring the green spaces in Paris.  For the avid gardener and garden designer/planner, this could be a great book to learn more about Paris’ parks. Many people may think parks and gardens were created just to look at.  But, the government influences more than people’s eyes.

Emperor Napoleon III wanted to make Paris an international capital.  And, what an emperor wants, who can deny?  Along with his great recreation of Paris, he wanted to include green spaces in each of the city’s sections.  So, while Hausmann was tearing down ancient buildings and creating wide boulevards, gardens were being planned and planted all over the city.

Certainly, urban planners in the second half of the 1800s faced similar issues as those of today.  First of all, how do we create green areas and their facilities that will attract visitors?  Also, how do we serve the people living nearby and be good looking?  Like today, building gardens and public gathering areas was a way to build communities and provide identity to the neighborhood.

This detailed book explores the history behind green spaces in Paris.  Green spaces were public works projects.  Many people were employed to construct and maintain the parks.  This maintenance has continued for hundreds of years.  So, it seems the parks succeeded at that goal.  And, other goals were accomplished too.  We, as visitors, are certainly the beneficiaries of this great nineteenth century project!

Praise for Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris

Planning the Greenspaces is a fascinating read and a welcome addition to the scholarship on Paris and on urban greenspaces that could work well as a supplemental text in an upper-division course on Paris or France.”—American Historical Review

“This concise and elegant book reflects rigorous archival research rendered in readable prose. . . . Geographers will appreciate the author’s attention throughout to scale as an analytic tool, and his sustained analysis of the social production of urban space through a dialectic of design and use.”—Journal of Historical Geography

“Richard S. Hopkins’s book Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris serves as an important reminder that the development of acres of parks and gardens were also central to the project of creating a modern European capital. . . . [An] insightful and enjoyable text.”—Canadian Journal of History

Read more for yourself in Richard S. Hopkins’ book.  He is an assistant professor of history at Widener University.  The only part that I would have liked more is to have had illustrations of some of these green spaces.  Sadly, there are none.

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, by Richard S. Hopkins.  Order here.

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