Sustainable Paris: The Green Revolution

Sustainable Paris: The Green Revolution
Paris at its core is a traditional city with a fondness for rules and regulations. Until recently it was a keep-off-the-grass metropolis of grand boulevards, manicured pea-gravel parks, and the honking and sputtering of traffic gridlock. But that’s changing. France is no stranger to revolution and one is happening right now in Paris. With a goal to transform Paris into Europe’s greenest city by 2030 and the Plan Climat commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, no segment of daily life remains untouched by the initiatives underway. There are massive new municipal policies, not to mention the neighborhood activism. From urban rooftop farms and vegetarian restaurants, it’s all green. In 2007, Paris was one of the first cities in the world to adopt a climate action plan, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions above and beyond the targets outlined by the European Union at that time. The Paris Climate Change Conference of 2015 put further impetus behind the city’s green profile. Cities create 60% of the world’s carbon emissions and use 78% of its energy. Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, recognizes the importance of making her city a green one and has introduced broadly sweeping plans and policies for a sustainable Paris. Paris is on the road to being an environmentally green city. Paris Green Policies To help Paris turn the corner, the quayside Seine has already been pedestrianized. Traffic is barred on certain roads such as the Rue de Rivoli, in favor of pop-up bike lanes dubbed coronapistes during the first lockdown. These new lanes have been permanently added to the already 1000km of bike access throughout the city. Paris has been a pioneer in public bicycle sharing since 2007. What’s more, the city is dotted with electric car-share depots. There are other initiatives to make the core of Paris permanently car-free by 2024. A new “tranquil” zone will include the first four arrondissements of Paris and parts of the 5th, 6th and 7th. Privately owned vehicles using these boulevards as a through lane will be subject to a fine. From 2024, all diesel vehicles will be banned from the city, and by 2030 gas-powered cars as well. Public transit is on the road to being emission free by using electric vehicles or those powered by Bio-gas. Coronapiste Avenue de Saint Ouen Presently only 9.5% of Paris is covered by green space. Hidalgo’s municipal government has boldly pledged to increase that to 50% by 2030. To make up for this distinct lack of green, 170,000 trees will be planted across the capital with plans in place for four new urban forests – islands of urban freshness to moderate the city’s heat. A pine grove will be planted in the currently barren square of the Hotel de Ville. Blossoming cherries and lindens will be introduced around the Opera Garnier and the Gare de Lyon and swaths of shrubs and grasses will line the quays of the Seine. By 2030 the lanes of cars of the Champs-Élysées will be reduced from four to two, facilitating the addition of more trees and turning the famous boulevard into a CO2- breathing tree tunnel. Clichy-Batignolles develoment. A school with a carbon capturing green wall © Sergio Grazia

Lead photo credit : Champs Elysee 2030 plan © PCA Stream

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.