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On the narrow stairs in the Paris metro.
On the narrow stairs in the Paris metro.
Sophia Brown

PARIS — Soon after arriving in Boston for my university studies, I began to notice people in wheelchairs and others with physical disabilities struggling to use the city's public transportation system. It's been almost two months since coming to Paris, and I have not seen a single person in a wheelchair use the city's legendary metro.

As anyone who has visited Paris will have noticed, not all metro experiences are created equal. That is part of the charm, with different station designs and train models. But the price for any lack of modernity is paid above all by the disabled. The oldest lines tend to be the least wheelchair-friendly, and it is only the newest line which can claim full accessibility to both trains and stations. But now, in the lead up to the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, this may begin to change.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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