Greening Paris: The City of Light

Urban agriculture plans will help Paris, France, become a more resilient and environmentally-friendly city by the year 2020.

Green wall

The living wall on the MuseƩ du Quai Branly in Paris, France, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

Photo by Fotolia/production perig

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Paris, France, is planting the seeds for a significantly more resilient and environmentally friendly city by 2020. It became the first city in the world to ban plastic plates, cups, and utensils as well as plastic shopping bags. The city also declared the first Sunday of every month as a car-free day in Paris. Now, Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has announced a goal to cover 247 city acres with living roofs, vertical gardens, and native pollinator plants. To achieve this initiative, which is called permis de végétaliser, or “license to vegetate,” the city is calling for gardeners, landscape designers, architects, artists, and any other interested residents to become Parisculteurs.

The city plans to dedicate one-third of the 247 acres to edible urban agriculture, and interested participants can propose anything from traditional food gardens to aquaponic setups to mushroom farms. The first public workshop is scheduled to take place on March 8, 2017, and by mid-April the city will unveil a list of 40 proposed green sites that will be made available to selected Parisculteurs (based locally or abroad) who will then be assigned the task of showcasing the exciting possibilities available for green space innovation.

Any resident can apply for a renewable three-year permit to start their own gardening project. The city has promised to provide a gardening kit complete with topsoil and seeds to anyone who applies. None of the gardening projects are allowed to use pesticides, and the planning committee has asked that organizers plant only native species, try to encourage pollinators, and keep the city’s overall aesthetics in mind.

According to EcoWatch, this initiative will also help create 74 acres of public gardens, plant 20,000 new trees, plan 200 revegetation projects, and spearhead the development of educational farms, orchards, and school gardens across Paris.

The city’s goals are to create a more resilient local food supply, mitigate the effects of urban heat islands, improve air quality, manage water consumption, and encourage biodiversity. Learn more about the city’s innovative climate action plans by reading its adaptation strategy.