Haussmann, Baron Georges Eugène

Haussmann, Baron Georges Eugène
   A civic planner responsible for the radical rebuilding of the city of Paris. Born in Paris to a Protestant family from Alsace, Hausmann had a successful civil service career and was prefect for the department of the Seine from 1853 to 1870. He was appointed in 1853 by Napoleon III to modernize the French capital. The city was comprehensively transformed in a massive public works project under Hausmann’s direction. Broad and long tree-lines avenues and boulevards were cut through the tangled mass of narrow streets and old urban neighborhoods. The goals of the project were both functional and aesthetic. The city was to be more sanitary with vastly improved traffic flow and commercial accessibility. The broad avenues, meanwhile, made it impossible for insurrectionists to erect barricades as they had in 1848, while the system of converging avenues at étoiles and the proximity of both to the main railway stations made it possible for Adolfe Thiers to transport large numbers of troops from the provinces to any point in the capital and thus crush the Paris Commune in 1870. At the same time, the classicism of grand avenues such as the Avenue de la Grande Armée radiating out from the Arc de la Triomphe evoked Napoleonic might and gave Paris the look and feel of an imperial capital.
    Saalman, Howard. Haussmann: Paris Transformed. New York: G. Braziller, 1971.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.