For years, the urban agenda in Paris revolved around the preservation of the historical core, the expansion of the metropolis on its rural fringes, and the development of selected locations such as La Défense. But now the focus has shifted toward a more comprehensive development of the existing city, especially in the area outside the historical core, with a view to densifying the entire metropolitan footprint.
Ed Glaeser’s book Triumph of the City has launched a highly salutary discussion of the virtues of cities. But while it is full of excellent points, Triumph of the City goes off track in its prescriptions by giving the idea that the answer to the density issue is to build skyscrapers. In making that unwarranted leap, Glaeser has risked undermining the impact of his book as a whole. This is a pity, as the core message of Triumph of the City is one that needs to be well understood.