Nouvelle Utopia

The candidate for mayor of the city of Paris, Natalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM) unveiled an original idea to breathe life into some of the capital abandoned metro stations. NKM takes the New York green line concept a step further (well, literally underground) with the dramatic transformation of these ghost stations into public spaces.

Parisian architect Manal Rachdi and urban designer Nicola Laisné offered a glimpse of what these stations could become: a luxurious underground restaurant, a semi-Olympic swimming pool or a contemporary exhibition hall.

Source: Huffington Post - Impression by Manal Rachdi and Nicolca Laisné
This visually impressive concept is surely charming but how does it work and who gets the benefit of it?

There are 16 ghost stations that are unused but yet existing metro lines go through some of them every day. The cost of redirecting these lines elsewhere is not mentioned nor the cost of rehabilitating the stations which are owned by RATP (Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports).

Although an original idea on paper, this proposed makeover falls into the realm of fantasy. The reality is that commuters are much more interested in upgrading the existing public transport network of 302 metro stations that carry approximately 4 million people every day.


Similarly, Melbournians were not spared by this utopian trend with the Flinders Street Design competition held last year, even though the feasibility of the submissions seemed more realistic. The competition was successful among commuters who were massively involved and showed support by voting for their favorite project (only to find out the government was not committed to complete the project anyway).
Source: The Age, winning design by Melbourne and Swiss architectural team HASSELL, Herzog & De Meuron
The once iconic Flinders Street Station desperately needs a renovation to prevent further crumbling and leakage. Not necessarily a futuristic and unaffordable design (the winning design had an estimate cost of $1 to $1.5 billion) but at least a redesign that would significantly improve not only the look but the daily operation of Melbourne’s busiest station.

So what do you think, should we keep dreaming?


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