Thursday, December 1, 2011

Urban Jungle: Plans to Make the Eiffel Tower "Green" Upset Parisians

"Oh La La...As beautiful as I am, I could use a little tinkering..."

Plans to make one of the world's most iconic landmarks "ecologically correct" has caused outrage throughout France.

The €76 million plan involves covering Paris' famed Eiffel Tower with over 600,000 plants and flowers, completely transforming the steel structure into an "urban jungle". The controversial plan has sparked debate among Parisians who view the tower as not only an important cultural symbol for their beautiful city, but for the entire nation of France as well.

Ginger, an engineering company which specializes in ecological projects, will work with the building firm Vinci and architect Claude Bucher on the plan, which is due to be completed within the next few years. The company will see the 1,063ft tower turn into a flagship of eco-tourism, introducing thousands of baskets of plants, as well as a state-of-the-art irrigation system made up of over twelve tons of rubber tubing. The company estimates that the structure will give off 84.2 tons of CO2 and absorb 87.8 tons, making it the world's first ‘carbon positive’ landmark. The expensive plan has also been criticized by citizens, many pointing out the needless expenditure at a time when Europe is battling with a crippling debt crisis.

The tower originally sparked controversy when it was first constructed in 1889 by famed architect Gustave Eiffel, who also designed New York's equally iconic Statue of Liberty. The tower was built for Paris' World Fair, and was not popular at the time of construction, inciting critics to call it a "hideous blight upon the world's most beautiful city".

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