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Paris Wants to Build a Few Garden Bridges

Here’s what it should learn from London’s infamous efforts to build one.
The pedestrian Pont Des Arts in central Paris
The pedestrian Pont Des Arts in central ParisCharles Platiau/Reuters

London had been fielding serious plans to construct a green link across the river Thames for five years before ultimately cancelling the project last spring. Now, it’s apparently Paris’s turn and the French capital is going a step further—it wants three of them.

New plans for car-free urban river bridges ripe with trees and shrubs comes as part of a huge international city redevelopment project piloted by the C40 Cities group. Called Reinventing Cities, its inspiration is specifically Parisian, as it is modeled on the French Capital’s Reinvent Paris architectural competition, currently in its second round. Right now, City Hall is inviting applicants to tender projects for three sites on the eastern section of the River Seine, to construct planted bridges that would allow pedestrians and bikes to cross with greater ease. Currently the brief is quite vague, with City Hall speaking of “bridges that will be places for crossings and events.” But proposals will need to pay for construction by the creation of some commercial units on each bridge. Florence’s Ponte Vecchio has already been cited as a possible source of inspiration.