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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

Greening up Paris, one small space at a time

GreenspacesinParis

If there’s a downfall to building a city slowly over 2000 years, it’s that nobody thought to reserve the space for a large park in the city center. Unlike the center stage enjoyed by Manhattan’s Central Park or Berlin’s Tiergarten, Paris’ biggest and best parks are, by contrast, at the fringes of the city.

But the city has many small spaces that lend themselves to a bit of green. In July 2014, the City of Paris launched an initiative to identify existing and potential green spaces and to undertake projects to enhance them.

The ‘Du vert près de chez moi’ (green spaces near my home) initiative invited Parisians to identify spaces in their neighborhoods that could benefit from a little green, and to suggest suitable projects to enhance them. An impressive 1,500 suggestions were sent in.

The proposals were judged according to a variety of criteria, including technical feasibility, the number of people who would benefit from the enhancement, and the diversity of projects and locations. The City originally planned to accept 200 proposals, but ultimately settled on 209 in total.

The 209 projects accepted include installing flower troughs, living walls, flower borders and trees. The aim is to extend nature into public places beyond the city’s existing parks, gardens and woodlands. Once completed, a quarter of the sites will be tended by area residents, with the city of Paris carrying the upkeep responsibility for the rest.

Over the last years, Paris has taken on a number of projects in a similar vein. In 2013, the city undertook a Vegetation Innovation Initiative, providing sites and funding for 30 projects in public and private spaces in the city that promoted biodiversity, including innovative urban agriculture projects and projects for adaptation to climate change.

Detailed information and an interactive map are available on the City Hall website, showing the location of the chosen spaces and a short description of the planned projects.

Photo credit: Mairie de Paris

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