Skip to content
CityLab
Culture

In France, a Fix for the Urban Gondola's Privacy Problem

No more aerial transit riders staring through your bathroom window.
France's first urban cable car opened in Brest on November 19, 2016.
France's first urban cable car opened in Brest on November 19, 2016.Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

The French region of Brittany may be beautiful, but it’s not normally thought of as a laboratory for internationally influential city-fixes. A new gondola link in the Breton port city of Brest, however, may have just created a solution to one of the key problems facing aerial tramways. It has found a simple but ingenious way to get close to people’s homes without invading their privacy.

This is an issue that all urban gondola builders need to navigate. Place an aerial transit link in an area without a lot of residents, and it risks becoming an under-used novelty along the lines London’s Emirates Air Line. Build it in an area where more traffic is guaranteed and you risk providing an unwelcome, airborne audience for the homes beneath the link, as happened with Portland’s Aerial Tramway.