Saturday, November 05, 2005


Paris Riots and City Planning

Muslim riots continue in Paris for the 9th day. How could this happen in Paris of all places? Weren't Paris's wide boulevards and radiating spoke streets specifically designed to make it easy to stop riots? Judging from the lack of grapeshot I can only assume that Paris has forgotten its history, and the old contingency plans gather dust in the offices of people who think that traffic circles exist only to make driving more interesting.

The Paris street plan was designed for uprisings where large numbers of people congregate in one area. The recent riots are more of a guerilla warfare, with groups of two or three people setting a random car on fire and then running away. In any case, the boulevards were built so the police could travel throughout the city without allowing the rioters to stop them with blockades. In that sense, the city plan is working just fine.

I'm not familiar with the layout of Paris. Do the boulevards even reach as far as the suburbs where the rioting occurred?
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