photos from june visit to the eco-prince’s domain

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The constrained spaces of Monte Carlo, which occasioned now abandoned plans for over-water buildout

My May 31 seattlepi.com piece described a pending trip to the demain of eco-sensitive modern royalty, in order to see what Prince Albert II once had in mind for managing growth in Monaco–the second smallest country in the world–as it runs out of livable space. This “republication” shows photos from the the following week in early June.

Until the world economy intervened last Fall, the world’s longest ruling dynasty had in mind an emirate-scale answer to compact urban growth–a new urban, mixed-use district built on stilts–designed to model urban expansion in an environmentally sustainable fashion as “a showcase of the world’s best eco-technology.”

The multi-billion Euro idea was gargantuan–and subject to multiple, world-class architectural proposals before the slowdown. Envision a super-South Lake Union or post-viaduct planning area with a 10-year planned build-out, with thematic overwater, eco-sensitive panache.

Planning historians have always extolled the principle that the best planning proceeds when a single governmental or private entity has control of a development area.

Yet even if Monaco’s project had proceeded on the planned schedule, this grand vision had already evoked classic and ironic debate–the environmentally sensitive Prince Albert II (avoiding landfill with stilts and known for imposition of traffic demand management and electric car ownership) versus Nice and Toulon, France-based advocacy groups fearful for impacts upon Mediterranean coral and other sea life and decrying technology-based environmental solutions.

As the Prince explained late last year, “The international crisis has forced us to seek better financial guarantees, more security. I would in any case want to reassure myself that effects on the environment would be as limited as possible.”

DSC_1489This could only be Prince Albert II drowning his sorrows in front of the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo over his cancelled development plans

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