The Promenade Plantée Mapping of Contrapuntal Urban Intervention Penn Design@Paris 2014 Davis Butner
“A space where inhabitants of the city can walk, intended for everyday recreational use of the inhabitants of increasingly populated urban centers” – Joan DeJean, ‘How Paris Became Paris’
The following analytical representation of the extent of the Promenade Plantée and Coulée Vert aims to depict the fundamental role of this novel urban renewal effort by visualizing the gardens as a vein of greenery breathing life into the 12th arr. As I explain in my analysis, “Perfecting the Promenade: The Viaduc des Arts and Coulée Vert as Catalysts for Urban Ecological Connectivity”, the purpose of the promenade is twofold: both extending necessary park space into the increasingly dense 12th arr. while simultaneously syphoning pedestrians from the congested centers of Paris (aka The Bastille) towards the ‘ lungs of Paris’ or the spacious grounds of the Bois de Vincennes. To convey such aspects in a mapping, emphasis must be placed on the visual characteristics of a promenade as a place to ‘ see and be seen’ , in order to capture its ability to syphon curious pedestrians to its private and public vantage points. Thus, I have provided a detailed plan of the promenade as a method to show its extensive reach from the Bastille to the edge of the Bois de la Vincennes, its birth from existing railroad beds, as well as various scenarios of visibility it sets up with its surroundings. To do so, I have marked each entrance alongside the promenade, providing a gradient field (red) to notate areas of public visibility towards promenade entrances, as well as gradient fields along the promenade (blue) marking areas of public visibility along the promenade (for example when crossing a bridge over a public intersection along the Viaduc des Arts or approaching a road crossing along the Coulée Vert). Likewise I provide a gradient map of adjacent structures to the promenade as a testament to the effects of the gardens on its surrounding urban fabric. Newer buildings with pristine views/access to the promenade gardens are assigned darker grays, while lighter shades mark older buildings which turn their backs to the original railroad bed on which the gardens lie. Finally, I outline potential pedestrian paths along the promenade with expanding and contracting dashes (for speed), bringing to light the interaction between bikers and pedestrians along the Coulée Vert. Finally, my focus turns to instances along the promenade in which pedestrian speed, visibility, and structural rhythm create moments of contrapuntal interest. Paying homage to the transcripts of Bernard Tschumi, I pair analytical moments in perspective to notations in plan and section using musically based notation. Speed of pedestrians/bikers along the pathways are notated in expanding and contracting dashes, while areas of public access (blue) interact with the privacy of the promenade route (red), creating complex instances of visibility among promenade and adjacent street-side pedestrians. I hope that through the following visual and written analysis of the Promenade Plantée, I have helped to redefine the modern function of a Parisian promenade as a space for both social and ecological interaction.