Monaco's Vertical Infrastructure

  • Monaco breathes luxury. It is not only a tax avoider’s paradise and therefore home of many rich and famous, the city also has the most luxury infrastructure for pedestrians I’ve ever witnessed. Monaco is built on a steep mountain rising from the Mediterranean sea. In order to facilitate an easy way up and down, the city has built an amazing network of public elevators as an integral part of the infrastructure for pedestrians. A complete vertical system of elevators and escalators connects the streets and sidewalks on different levels.


    One can walk from the one ‘ascenseur public’ to the next while using a pattern of hallways. All are very properly maintained and working as a necessarily attribution to the sidewalks, leading the pedestrian from the high parts of the city and the parkings to the lower harbor. I’ve always been curious why this vertical dimension of public space is not been fully used at other places. Most cities lack a modern vertical public infrastructure. Their services are stuck to archaic inventions such as stairs, while later innovations are already for years in use within private spaces.


    Monaco is a rich city (which explains a lot), unless the fact that the city doesn’t earn any money from income taxes. The Principality earns from property sale (very expensive here) and VAT. The high property prices could be another explanation for the elevator structure, as elevators need less space than stairs. Anyway, I like the public elevator structure. It’s innovative, fascinating and exciting to be in. They are extremely good for a series of pop-up parties as well (with a bar in every elevator). Nevertheless, it mostly reminds me of the online first person shooter Wolvenstein Enemy Territory, which I used to play. It would be great if Monaco with its public elevator structure would be model for a new battlefield.