Behind the project to renovate Les Halles in Paris

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Secretary, the 'Accomplir' association

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Former managing director, SEM Centre, Elected representative, Leftist 'Gauche Moderne' party, 10th arrondissement, Paris

Seminar Social life | Thursday April 17, 2008 - 9h - 11h30

In 2002, the Conseil de Paris (the equivalent of the Greater Paris town council) launched an operation to enhance the area of Les Halles. From the beginning, the project concentrated on the central site of this area ; an eight-floor complex, five floors of which are underground, including a transport hub for three rapid-transit train lines and five underground train lines, a shopping centre, facilities, and a concrete garden area covering 4.3 hectares. The sheer complexity of the project, the variety and importance of those concerned (such as the City of Paris, the Ile-de-France region, the Unibail group, the Paris transport network RATP), and the position of the site in the heart of Paris all prompted an extraordinary amount of political and media interest. Against a background of enormous enthusiasm, 'Accomplir', a small association made up of local residents, attempted to make sure that the voices of those living in Les Halles were heard and that their democratic rights were upheld. Against all expectations, Accomplir had an influence on the final decisions taken with respect to town planning and architecture. Élisabeth Bourguinat, secretary of this association, reveals the 'behind the scenes' story of a project which is sure to have a few more twists.

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