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Ambitions Tamed: Urban Expansion in Pre-revolutionary Lyon

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When Lyon's population experienced significant growth in the eighteenth century, architect Jean-Antoine Morand made a radical proposal: France's second city would expand across the river Rhône, making him rich in the process. Intense work and bitter rivalries resulted, although they bore fruit only long after Morand had died on the guillotine in 1794.

In Ambitions Tamed, Pierre Reynard profiles Morand's career to provide a case-study of the possibilities of urban reform and refashioning within the courtly society of the Old Regime. Morand's story offers fascinating insights into social and professional advancement in a society defined by privilege, the workings of a complex urban political culture, relationships between a provincial city and the capital, the role of factions in determining the success or failure of enterprises and reforms, and the technical and financial aspects of late eighteenth-century urban projects.

Ambitions Tamed illuminates the literature and methodologies of urban development, economic and entrepreneurial history, intellectual history, and environmental history in order to explain more fully the relationships among enlightened principles, established power structures, and new initiatives at the dawn of urban expansion.


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