paris -reconquista-petite-ceinture

The Petite Ceinture (or “little belt”) is a former railway line from 32 kilometers long that embraces the intramural Paris. After decades of neglect, the city has proposed recover 23 kilometers to the public with the participation of the citizens of each neighborhood, through workshops to decide the uses in the different sections and being able to intervene as volunteers.

La Petite Ceinture opened in 1852 around what was the urban outer perimeter, before decades later, with the advent of the metro, it was displaced in importance. Already in 1934 it stopped providing passenger transport service, and in 1985 it lost cargo and merchandise transport. After its abandonment, the inhabitants of the nine districts that it crosses saw in the old railway the potential to create a new public park, as had been done in the late 1980s with the Promenade Plantée, a walk over a 4.5 km viaduct that was the seed of the High Lane New Yorker. The citizen organization Association for the Preservation of the Petite Ceinture channeled several proposals, which led to the opening of a section of 1.5 km as a pedestrian path.

To respond to citizen demand, in 2015, the Paris City Council developed, together with the National Society of French Railways (SNFC), a Plan for the Reconquest of the Petite Ceinture for citizen use based on three axes: nature and heritage (walks, sports, biodiversity, etc.), urban agriculture (recreational and community gardens, etc.) and economic activity (leisure, tourism, commerce, events, etc.).

The initiative has kicked off to its first participation workshops this summer of 2016. Four segments have been marked to be recovered first, and in the four corresponding districts the old stations for debate and participation have been opened. On the horizon of 2017, it is intended to reach nine stations as participation centers for the recovery of nine segments.

In the districts where work has already begun, various initiatives have been given rise to. In the 12th district, it is intended to build a garden for its inhabitants, in the 14th it is intended to conserve the biodiversity that has been achieved in the place, while in the 19th, it is intended to use the space for events, courses and interventions carried out by the inhabitants.