Kommunalverbände

Paris has ~2.3 million inhabitants and the surrounding Île de France region nearly 12 million inhabitants, said FAZ.net. For years France’s capital city has outsourced problems to its periphery, yet Paris’s mayor is only one among many mayors in the region, of communities that have to work together. All large French cities except Paris have communal associations [Kommunalverbände] where politics for neighboring communities can be worked out and some competencies shared; Paris and its neighbors are finally going to create one in 2016, called “Métropole du Grand Paris.”

“The national government will have a say as will the Île de France region, seven surrounding départements, 400 municipalities and numerous associations of municipalities. The planned local government reform is supposed to bring simpler structures, more efficiency and thus savings. In the past, the old administrative structures and their many bureaucrats always managed to live on, however, after a new agency was created. Because of that experience, the French talk about the ‘mille-feuille‘ of their administrative apparatus—thousand papers, thousand doors, as in Kafka.”

(Com yune AWL fair BEND ah.)

Ufergängerzone

Waterside pedestrian zone.

In the summer of 2013, Paris’s mayor Bertrand Delanoë banned cars on a street for about two kilometers along the left bank of the Seine, creating a zone open to pedestrians and non-motorized two-wheeled contraptions. The wide new walkway goes from Pont de l’Alma to the Musée d’Orsay, creating a four-hectare waterfront idyll in the middle of Paris, said the Frankfurt business newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The former street now has jungle gyms for kids to play on, large containers of grass and trees, and very good-looking people to watch. It might be quieter too.

This was part of the former mayor’s political philosophy to try to make life more pleasant for nonmotorized inhabitants of his city. During his two terms, the mayor furthermore “got rid of parking spaces, added bus lanes, built new streetcars and started a public rental system for electric autos,” said FAZ.net, also blaming him for Paris’s 20,000 city bikes where the first half-hour is free. Paris now has city bike stands every few hundred meters; “no other city in the world has a network as dense.”

(OOF aw GENG aw TSOWN aw.)

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