The Project for Public Spaces has an online guided tour of beautiful, functional Parisian public spaces — so friendly to the public that even young children and seniors feel comfortable expressing affection and joy in public. PPS also warns that the unfriendly, overdesigned new parks and ever-expanding roadways threaten the vitality of
“When we compare examples of public spaces in Paris to other cities, we often get the response: ‘Oh… well that is Paris,’ meaning that no other city can compare. Our reply is that Paris is a laboratory for learning about all types of public spaces, both good and bad. Each individual public space, each building, and each street can teach us something important.”
Sure, Paris owes much of its beauty and most of its grand parks to the unprecedented investment lavished upon it by the French state, but many of its finest details cost no more than standard highway street treatments.