Paris is home to a complex mosaic of ecosystems, which can be categorised in four key types depending on how artificial they are. Paris’s biodiversity remains significant, but the number of animal and plant species has considerably fallen: Paris faces threats such as habitat destruction and fragmentation, climate change, pollution, excessive use of phytosanitary products and chemical fertilizers, and invasive species.
Greening Paris is one the main pillars of the city’s sustainability strategy. The strategy was further developed by Mayor Hidalgo, with the support of Parisians, as shown in the participatory budget: 80% of Parisians support initiatives aiming to green the city locally.
Throughout 2010, the City of Paris brought together citizens and the professional community to contribute to its Biodiversity Paris Plan. Workshops were held for these stakeholders to pool their knowledge and aspirations for biodiversity in Paris, resulting in 95 proposed actions to preserve and enrich Paris’ biodiversity. More calls for public input were made in 2014 and 2015, through social media and online platforms.
Creating more green spaces in one of the densest cities in the world is both a challenge and an opportunity to tackle the urban heat island effect, grow food, and create new social spaces. The new ‘licence to vegetalise’ allows Parisians to play a greater role in the plan: if a Parisian wants to green a public space in front of their building, and if there is no competing urban interest, this ‘license’ authorises citizens to move forward and propose a plan to redevelop the space. They will then receive help from the city’s parks department in terms of choosing the right species and set up.
Other actions include:
The project’s co-benefits include higher quality of life, greater opportunities for social interactions, improvements in air and water quality, and cooling surrounding areas. Paris is sharing the project experience through local/regional networks and with other peer cities. The city has taken part in international meetings (in discussions over the Nagoya protocol) and large regional meetings (500+ participants). The Greening Programme covers all of Paris.
Photo Credit : Mairie de Paris