Dividing Paris: Urban Renewal and Social Inequality, 1852–1870 (Hardback)
  • Dividing Paris: Urban Renewal and Social Inequality, 1852–1870 (Hardback)

Dividing Paris: Urban Renewal and Social Inequality, 1852–1870 (Hardback)

Hardback 416 Pages
Published: 15/02/2022
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A groundbreaking work of scholarship that sheds critical new light on the urban renewal of Paris under Napoleon III

In the mid-nineteenth century, Napoleon III and his prefect, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, adapted Paris to the requirements of industrial capitalism, endowing the old city with elegant boulevards, an enhanced water supply, modern sewers, and public greenery. Esther da Costa Meyer provides a major reassessment of this ambitious project, which resulted in widespread destruction in the historic center, displacing thousands of poor residents and polarizing the urban fabric.

Drawing on newspapers, memoirs, and other archival materials, da Costa Meyer explores how people from different social strata—both women and men—experienced the urban reforms implemented by the Second Empire. As hundreds of tenements were destroyed to make way for upscale apartment buildings, thousands of impoverished residents were forced to the periphery, which lacked the services enjoyed by wealthier parts of the city. Challenging the idea of Paris as the capital of modernity, da Costa Meyer shows how the city was the hub of a sprawling colonial empire extending from the Caribbean to Asia, and exposes the underlying violence that enriched it at the expense of overseas territories.

This marvelously illustrated book brings to light the contributions of those who actually built and maintained the impressive infrastructure of Paris, and reveals the consequences of colonial practices for the city's cultural, economic, and political life.

Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691162805
Number of pages: 416
Dimensions: 254 x 178 mm


"A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year"

"Fascinating and sumptuously illustrated. . . . Da Costa Meyer’s book offers a valuable reminder of the high price paid by most Parisians for the beautiful new city center, and a valuable rejoinder to the countless celebrations of Haussmann’s Paris as the ‘capital of the nineteenth century.’"---David Bell, New York Review of Books

"Esther da Costa Meyer’s magisterial volume offers a sweeping analysis of Paris’s modernization that both assesses existing scholarship and offers poignant new perspectives. . . . Richly illustrated and elegantly written. . . . Da Costa Meyer has produced an indispensable volume for scholars of modern France and modern urbanism."---Sun-Young Park, The Metropole

"And what an important book it is. One of the most stimulating I’ve come across on cities, a city and Paris."---Andrew Kelly, Director of Festival of the Future City and Creative Programmer

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