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Haussmann, Georges-Eugène

Georges-Eugène Haussmann

Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann (27 March 180911 January 1891), was the Prefect of the Seine Department in France, who was chosen by the Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive program of new boulevards, parks and public works in Paris, commonly called Haussmann's renovation of Paris 1). Critics forced his resignation for extravagance, but his vision of the city still dominates Central Paris 2).

Napoleon III and Haussmann launched a series of enormous public works projects in Paris, hiring tens of thousands of workers to improve the sanitation, water supply and traffic circulation of the city. Napoleon III installed a huge map of Paris in his office, marked with coloured lines where he wanted new boulevards to be. He and Haussmann met almost every day to discuss the projects and overcome the enormous obstacles and opposition they faced as they built the new Paris 3).

Beginning in 1854, In the center of the city, Haussmann's workers tore down hundreds of old buildings and cut eighty kilometers of new avenues, connecting the central points of the city. Buildings along these avenues were required to be the same height and in a similar style, and to be faced with cream-colored stone, creating the signature look of Paris boulevards 4).