Denis Baupin

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Meeting Voynet Mutualite 2006-04-05 n6.jpg

Denis Baupin is a French political figure, born in Cherbourg (Manche) on 2 June 1962. He is Deputy Mayor of the City of Paris, where, as an elected member of the city council, he represents Europe Écologie–The Greens.

From 2001 to April 2008 he was directly responsible for the management of and innovation in the mobility sector for the city. He has been a major figure in the greening of Paris and specifically to leading and supporting a range of innovative projects and services that are transforming the mobility sector and making Paris into a world leader in this field.

He is now vice mayor responsible for the city's programs and initiatives in the areas of sustainable development, environment and climate change.

Background[edit]

In 1984 Baupin graduated with an engineering degree from Paris’s prestigious École Centrale Paris, subsequently became director of the international NGO "Terre des hommes" ("Planet of mankind").

A member of the Green Party since 1989, he served as council to the then-leader of the French Greens, Dominique Voynet, in the European Parliament, and in 1997 as special adviser to the French Ministry of Territorial Management. Since 1995 he has been an elected official of the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

Baupin has been a strong supporter of cooperation between the Greens and the French Socialist Party. This coalition has jointly governed the city since 2001 and has been at the heart of the city’s greening as well as a variety of other social, economic and environmental initiatives.

On March 2007 he was designated by the Green Party to lead the campaign for the 2008 municipal elections.

Accomplishments[edit]

Transport and mobility: As the person with overall responsibility for policy, planning and implementation in the mobility sector in Paris between 2001 and 2008, his strategy was based on two poles of action. The first is to broadly expand the range and quality of alternative mobility services in the city, strongly supporting new public transit innovations (including the Mobilien BRT, the Paris tramway, “Les Traverses” local small bus services, carsharing (autopartage), subsidies for low income users of public transport (including in a number of cases free transit passes), innovative low-carbon goods delivery services, numerous supporting services for people with mobility handicaps, and a range of similar reforms which are combining to provide a new face for mobility in the city. These reforms have received strong public support as they have come on line and are collectively reshaping the mobility situation in the city.

The most broadly known of the initiatives that his team has put in place has been the Vélib', Paris’s “free bike” project that entered services on 15 July 2007 with the first ten thousand cycles and some 700 stations already in service for the opening. The program is aiming to have 20,000 cycles and 1451 stations on Paris’s street by the end of 2008. The city has also considerably expanded its network of protected cycling lanes, to 371 as of the opening of the Vélib’ project, with a program of steady expansion on the works.

The second pillar of his program for Paris – a multi-point program for major reductions in private car traffic in the city, which thus far has reduced traffic by a reported 18% over the last five years — has had a rockier road but there too there are a number of notable achievements. The key to this conversion lies in his firmly held belief that, a densely settled city like Paris is not very well served by the kind of “all car” approach that has shaped so many world cities over the least decades. His reasoning behind this has been set out in his April 2007 book Tout voiture, no future, ("All cars, no future").

Baupin is often characterized by those who do not share his vision to be “anti-car”; but his position is more nuanced than that. Thus, as an example, the city’s policy on parking is one that carefully favors people living in the city who need to have access to their cars, while in parallel pushing the development of carsharing in the city as a way to provide access to cars without the high costs that “own-cars” otherwise impose on cities. He also has expressed strong reserves about proposals for congestion pricing, on the grounds of efficiency and social equity.

One “transport” project that has been developed under his joint leadership with Paris’s mayor, Bertrand Delanoë. has been the Paris Plage (Paris Beach) project in which a 3.5 km. stretch of a major urban highway right in the center of the city that runs along the Seine is taken out of service for one summer month each year and converted to make it a “beach” and otherwise open public space, where cars are not allowed but walking, cycling, and a wide range of games and public space events are organized day and night. The Plage project has been well received in Paris, and has led to a number of similar projects in cities including Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Rome, and Prague.

The public document that sets out the key underpinnings of the city strategy under Baupin is its Plan de Déplacements Parisien (PDP)

Publications[edit]

Notes and references[edit]