” new business district had been the CNIT (center

” Am i still in Paris?”. Thisquestion eventually raised my research question ” How can la Defense befurthermore linked with Paris?”In attempt to answer the proposed research question, the literature reviewwill be divided into 3 main work poles : History, Architecture and Sociology, linking how each affects the other. In the meaning that, the readingoutcome will be divided into these 3 main categories, which will allow aclearer understanding of the contradiction and which also allow a cleareranalysis in attempt to find the gap in those readings. Finally coming out withnew knowledge through the methodology and an outcome in the conclusion.Due to a rapid economic growth and a fast developing service sector between1947 and 1973 in France, a period called the “the glorious thirty”,companies hadan increased demand for wider offices and workspaces that were not available orpractical in the historic urban fabric of Paris. ” It was around 1950 that the frenchstate finally decided to create an international business district. However, there wasa felt need to maintain the character of the historic core of Paris as it was and as itexists in people’s imagination. The result was the moving of some services to theperiphery of the city and the building of a series of new towns around it (Lang2017). ” A state controlled firm, called EPAD, was created in september 1958 tobuy the land, build the infrastructure, resell the developed plots and animate andmanage the new business district on the municipalities of Courbevoie andPuteaux. ” The first construction in the new business district had been the CNIT (center of new industries and technologies), built between 1956 and 1958, whichwas even before the creation of the EPAD. Following the successive financialmarket deregulation policies, the growth of financial services, from the late 1970sled to the expansion of their spatial footprint within urban central areas during the1980s.(Drozdz, Appert )(Jean Gardin 2006) mentions in his study of the western margins of the Parisianmetropolis, La Defense’s area used to be slums of Nanterre before the frenchgovernment decided to locate its new business district.The beginnings of development at la Defense are rooted in the utopian modernismof the 1920s. The developer Leonard Rosenthal included Le Corbusier in a 1929competition he organized for Porte Maillot, currently La Defense. In Corbu’ssketches, we see him incorporating the ideas that he had developed in his “villecontemporaine” of 1922 and published in his book “urbanisme” of 1925 : 18cruciform glass office towers, places on a rectangular grid in an enormouspark-like green space. It also included pedestrian malls with stepped terraces. Allof this modernist design would have almost completely destroyed the 3rd and 4tharrondissements of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine. With the wish to preserveParis’ skyline, Le Corbusier saw his master plan rejected.Initially little attention was paid to its surrounding territory. The construction ofLa Defense on the territory of suburban municipalities of Courbevoie and ofPuteaux saw important and vast demolitions. ” The starting point of constructionwas the ancient roundabout of Courbevoie, in which stands a statue of honour ofthe troops who defended Paris in 1870.In 2010, the french government launched a 9 year development plan to give newdimensions to the business district by focusing the renovation of tower blocks andupgrade to sustainable standards and the construction of 300 000 sqm of newoffices and 100 000 sqm of residentials. The building of these new developmentsmay eventually lead to the redevelopment of the sites surrounding the site andmight bring about a new Docklands-like area, or at least, a new urban environmentof built-in gentrification, something similar to what could be found in theredevelopment of the banks of the Thames, as studied by (Loretta Lees 2008).Figure 12. Representation of Paris skyline with La Defense, highlighting thecontrastLa Defense has become one of the major hubs of the Paris area with its 30 hectaresof public spaces served by one of the area’s most powerful transportation network,modern high rise distinctive architecture and home of many major national andinternational corporations. Its urban fabric was designed in a manner to overcomemodern day congestion. However, initial residents of La Defense are relocating tomake way for new upcoming projects by famous architects. This is exemplifying arenewed planning and political tradition of the area where national ambitions areoverarching local needs and conditions.(Sklair 2005) puts it ” iconic architecturetends to be driven by the transnational capitalist class in the corporate interest andmuch more in the context of the culture-ideology of consumerism than waspreviously the case. Cities are branding and re-branding themselves through iconichigh rise architecture”. On the opposite for example, in Brussels the creation of anew CBD, around international political activities, did not lead to massive evictionof the local residential population. In fact, (Mathieu Van Criekingen 2009) hasshown how the gentrification and displacement happening in the inner city ofBrussels was driven by young single professionals rather than members of theinternational elite working in the European District who rather reside in the oldsouth bourgeois neighbourhoods.Architecturally, La Defense has been a testing ground : initially a showcase formodernist monumentalism, it shifted to a more american influenced eclectic designwith high rise office tower to meet design prestige of international corporations. AsShadrach Woods said in a 1964 essay, the master plan of La Defense is a ” plasticor aesthetic arrangement that does not work in our mobile civilization. Theseimages are built to last 50 or 100 years, and in one tenth of that time, the image isalready out of date.”On the other hand, the impact of new design thinking at la Defense according toStan Allen in “From object to field” of 1996, “appeared as an open system, aninfrastructural framework, ready to receive modules containing the highly servicedworkplaces of the future, plugged into its global networks of transportation, powerand communication.” Speaking further of the qualities of La Defense (Stan Allen1996) highlights La Defense’s openness, as it is not hampered by architecturalconstraints, being continuously renewable, hyper connected which makes it aglobal city and finally a place of mixed use thanks to a generous public space ,known as “la Dalle”.First proposed by Candilis Josic Woods for their Caen-Herouville project in 1961,La Dalle is a 128 m span concrete slab that connects the transit terminals and roadnetwork beneath ground level which liberates pedestrians from all sort of trafficand other nuisances. While its surface is used as a social interaction square.Figure 14&(Sennett 1978) coined the expression “dead public space” after the study of streetlevel plazas, a recurring feature of twentieth century CBDs. This featurecharacterizes an ideal of efficiency within CBDs where public spaces are merelyplaces to go through. Moreover, architecture and planning can strongly inducedistinctive uses of space.Comparing La Dalle with any of Paris historical square ( eg: place de la concorde)we can notice huge differences and contrast. La dalle is a costly rough concreteslab and is uniquely pedestrian with no natural soft landscape, while parisiansquares, similar to amsterdam’s naked streets, are all about mixture of pedestrianand traffic with natural landscape. Attempting to revive La Dalle, it is hostingtoday concerts, exhibitions and other events.CBDs and non-CBDs show significant physical and morphological differences. LaDefense on one hand is mostly offices while Paris is mixed used. This fact makesof La Defense a ghost town at night time after working shifts , a very unsafeenvironment. According to (Chabard, Picon-Lef√®bvre 2012) the search for mixeduse programs throughout the years hasn’t been fruitful and should no longer bepursued within the very limits of La Defense. It seems that, it’s location on the tipof the historical axis has completely shut it down from its environment.The Grand Arche of La Defense is a major tourist attraction and gives la Defense asense of place in Paris (Lang 2017). Alongside the peripherique road all around thedistrict, these are the only main similarities between Paris and La Defense. On theother hand, high curtain wall buildings compared to low storey classical stonehousing , arrondissement layout compared to quartiers layout, mono functionalcompared to poly functional.Architecture has a huge impact on our day to day life, it is how we percievespace.It thus has a role in how we feel in a given space and how we experience it.(Lang 2017) stated that in many ways la Defense might have been better includedas a plug-in design where buildings of various types and architecture, ranging frommodernist to postmodern with neo-classical overtones are plugged into framework.It has turned out to be a poorly organized all-of-a-piece design. The conceptualdiagram and how to achieve it were never carefully articulated.The buildingguidelines varied over time as the result of political pressures and economicnecessity.The scheme was much affected by successive presidents of France,eachattempting to leave his imprint of Paris. A “laissez-faire” attitude ultimatelyprevailed. The result has been a haphazard collection of buildings that areperceived to be out of context with the dignity and the grandeur of the historicalaxis.Living in Paris, would indeed be very well different than living in La Defense. Theurban fabric and architecture affect one’s perception and influence differentlifestyles. Mostly workspaces, La defense becomes dangerous at night time wherevery few pedestrian activity is available. While in Paris, due to the mixed usage, itis much safer because of the presence of people. This being said, La Defensenightlife resembles one of a ghost town, while Paris’ restaurants, cafes and streetsare full of people, especially at night after working hours. Attempting to make LaDefense a safe environment, the french government is encouraging locals to settlein the business district by lowering house rental pricing and building new housingunits as part of the new masterplan. Art exhibition and fairs of Paris are nowmostly hosted in La Defense, on the dalle, to attract more and more people andvisitors.(Lang 2017) questions whether la Defense has been a success. He then goes on andanswers this by saying that admirers regard it as a modern day Utopia; detractorsthink it is part of the brave new world. It has been dismissed as a ‘Business Slum’by (Eriksen,2001). Despite efforts to rectify the design, it remains a series ofmodernist parts. The open spaces are disconnected and poorly related to thebuildings; there is little on the deck to attract pedestrians. Although relatively freeof air pollution, the high winds on the deck level promoted by the tall buildingsmake the pedestrian environment particularly inhospitable in winter and even onsome summer days.EPAD has made a valiant effort to make the esplanade moreattractive by adding trees for aesthetic reasons and also to ameliorate the windconditions. It has increased the amount of shopping, and promoted thedevelopment of art galleries, as well as including more sculptures to make anopen-air museum. A carousel has become a permanent feature.From a business point of view, according to (Lang 2017) and (Henderson, Mitra1996) La defense is a resourcing success. Fourteen of France’s top corporation arelocated in the CBD. in 2000, 130 000 people worked in the precinct for 3600companies. Over half of the people employed have been described as ‘executives’.Those two figures are indicators of one measure of success.(Lang 2017) quotes ” If Haussman’s Paris was the model for earlier generations ofpolitical leaders, La Defense is for today’s.”To conclude this literature review, after all that has been said by scholarsthroughout various, books, articles, journals or by maps , visual diagrams and keyfigures and facts on the subject of La Defense; scholars seem to have differentthoughts and opinions concerning the CBD; some look at it as a purely profitablebusiness, thus a success based on the reason it was created in the first place, whileothers see it as an artificial dead area with a lot of issues that were the result ofhazardous planning. Moreover, comparing la Defense to Paris was also tackled asmentioned by scholars, highlighting the differences of each, however a keycomponent has been tragically missing in order to attempt to answer the proposedresearch question. The scholars highlighted many contradictions of the two areas,neglecting the ” geographical buffer zone” in between the two studied districts.Figure 25.Representation of the missing link between Paris and La Defense ( TheBuffer Zone)