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The Asian Quarter
Why have such a project ?
The city centre's Asian quarter has existed for decades. This neighbourhood represents an important New Caledonian community and that therefore gives it a heritage aspect, relevant to the whole of New Caledonia.
It must therefore retain its originality. As part of the town planning and sustainable development project (PADD) and out of a desire to make the city centre more attractive, there is a proposal to develop Noumea's Asian quarter along the lines of existing Chinatowns around the world. There are Chinatowns on every continent, in particular in Europe (such as in Paris, London and so on) and in North America (the United States and Canada). At present Noumea's Asian quarter extends over an area that is approximately demarcated by the Rue de Verdun, Rue de la Somme, Rue Sautot, and Rue du Général Mangin.
Other than a few shop signs written in Chinese, there are no other buildings with any Asian or specifically Chinese connotations in the neighbourhood.
So it is proposed that this neighbourhood should be improved and developed to enhance public areas and improve urban comfort by reclassifying Rue de la Somme and Rue Austerlitz as semi-pedestrianised streets.
In order to achieve this, the following must be considered :
- A special surface for the pavements and roadways in the semi-pedestrianised streets;
- Planting trees to line Rue Austerlitz;
- A Chinese arch at each end of Rue Austerlitz to mark an entry point into the quarter;
- Street decorations appropriate to the quarter (lighting and hanging Chinese lanterns);
- Specific requirements for installing shop signs, awnings and shutters.
Lastly, Rue Austerlitz could be a venue for different themed events and activities, such as moving the “Thursdays in the City Centre” or celebrating Chinese New Year with a parade and dragon dance.