In 1852 Napoleon III asked Baron Haussmann to take charge of the renovation of Paris. At that time many parts of the city were like a rat warren of festering alleyways.
Contrary to what springs to mind, Haussmann’s Paris was largely built up by private entrepreneurs. The design of the new Paris was a great example of urbanisation, this very contemporary term used to describe an enabling and resilient architecture.
Each building was to be built to a height of six storeys, plus the rounded roof at the top, of 45°. Entrances were at street level: no steps going up or down. Thus, now in the 21st century, a pram of a wheelchair can enter without constraint. And less exultantly, Napoleon III’s armies could proceed unimpeded deep into the heart of the rebellious city.
Military prowess was not Napoleon III’s forte. On the field of battle, he was second best to Napoleon I, or more crucially to Bismarck of Prussia. But, for 'urbanisation': peerless. A ‘Service Oriented Architecture’ in a French technology centre could be described as urbanisation. Like Haussmann, with a few simple rules, you can lay down the foundations of a harmonious architecture and like Haussmann, define a legacy.