The Berges de la Seine project seeks to change this and turn the banks into attractive green spaces for everyone to enjoy. The transformation of nine different areas along the left and right banks is both a sustainability and a traffic management challenge that seeks to redress the balance between man and the vehicle, allowing each to occupy its own space.

While the nine areas are handled as separate projects, there are four key principles that unite the various Berges de Seine proposals: to pedestrianise the banks of the river, making the area safer for walkers and cyclists; to develop and diversify the cultural, sports and leisure activities on the banks; to create a unique environment that reunites Parisians with their river; and to support and develop the biodiversity and ecology of the river banks and their surroundings.

Since the initiative’s focus is on the local community, residents have been invited to submit their ideas for new designs in the nine urban regeneration projects. The stretch between the Musée D’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower, for example, is one zone marked for transformation. Plans for a flexible cultural space have been sketched out, boasting a programme of seasonal events such as art biennials, circuses and winter ice rinks.

The Berges de la Seine project works are now under way.

This and more inspiring projects can be found in the print copy of A smart guide to Utopia or the ebook version.