Sunday, December 10, 2006

Going, going...

When we moved to Aveyron in 1995, Rodez had just been through a series of grands travaux, with a fairly new -- and lovely -- public media library, town hall, and departmental archives building. Eleven years later, the city is going through more changes, some of them major and most of them controversial.

Living outside of Rodez, I'm not really up on the advantages and drawbacks of the projects that some say will transform Rodez as never before. One is to change the Ilôt Bonald, a rather rundown area behind the Place de la Cité , into an underground parking lot crowned by other urban renewal projects.

Many city dwellers are worked up about the loss of a fascinating -- I won't go so far as to say charming -- part of the town. Others feel the neighborhood needs, quite literally, a good cleaning up and some nice new apartments to get more people living in town. Shopkeepers reeling from the recent opening of a new galerie marchande, or mall, on the outskirts of the city will likely be pleased with any measure that makes it easier to park in the centre ville.

I don't really have a position on these plans, but am glad I got a picture of this huge old house, just a few steps away from the town center, because it will apparently be going down when the new project goes up.


Anonymous said...

Ah, such is the way of cities. It's nice to have photos of the old stuff. In 25 years somebody will appreciate it!

Being a professional city planner, I have seen a lot of these kinds of debates. I always think about Paris, and how when Notre Dame cathedral was built, it was way out of scale and not consistent with the context of its neighborhood at all.

You can't stop progress!

Anonymous said...

Yes but is it progress?
I think you'd need to see the plans first and then decide whether or not what's going to replace the older buildings has any architectural value.
I once visited Hamburg and was astounded to find that much of the city was rebuilt after the war. Too much modern building relies on poured concrete which doesn't mature beautifully.