Sustainable Cities: Paris, France

The host of the 2015 Climate Summit that led to a vital agreement on combating climate change, Paris has a number of plans to not only become more sustainable but to lead the way. The creation of a development plan for Paris that encompasses the principles of sustainability has already and will continue to have a positive effect on Paris and those living in and around the city.

The view from Notre Dame in Paris skyline.

Recently, France has been doing some great things in terms of tackling climate change and developing a more sustainable capital city and country. The French leader, Emmanual Macron recently announced that every coal power station in the country would be shut down by 2021, opening the door for clean energy production in the country.

But looking back at Paris, there are 2 key areas that have been identified in the development plans and other documents relating to city sustainability that could be vital in taking the city forward into a sustainable future. These are urban planning, transport and waste.

Sustainable Urban Planning

This includes both new building design and retrofitting existing buildings. New buildings are being designed with energy efficiency in mind with plans to limit the consumption of energy to 50 kWh/m2/year, as well as promote renewable energy sources on building rooftops and develop green spaces around and on buildings

Paris is already encouraging owners of existing buildings to retrofit them and become more energy efficient. As they already exist and were not originally built with efficiency in mind, the limit for existing buildings is 80 kWh/m2/year and, like with new builds, encourage green spaces around and on buildings.

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Paris is also looking to capitalise on its rooftop solar and geothermal capabilities to supply energy to its many buildings. The move away from coal that I mentioned early is just one way to force a transition to renewables, but the cheap energy that can be produced from solar and geothermal sources is the future that Paris is chasing.

Getting Around Paris

The main objective for Paris transport is to reduce transport greenhouse gas emissions in the inner-city by 60% by 2020 and make dramatic improvements in air quality in the city. Discouraging the use of the car by improving public transport in the city and using ‘parking diets’.

Extended metro train and tram lines are allowing more people to use the trains to move in, out and around the city. The number of cycle routes and parking spaces for bikes has also increased, making it much safer and more convenient for cyclists on the road. In the last decade, Paris has also monitored and invested in electric vehicles, with the city supporting the manufacture of 100% electric vehicles. Like many cities around the world, charge points for electric vehicles are also popping up in places all over the city, allowing people to charge vehicles away from home.

Paris_Tram_T2.JPG

One way Paris is looking to reduce the number of cars on the road is by going on a ‘parking diet’ and reduce the number of parking spaces around the city. This discourages people from using their own cars and using public transport in and around the city. Cities around Europe are implementing similar schemes designed to make using the car less attractive compared to alternative transport methods.

Paris In A Nutshell

Paris is one of the most populated cities in Europe and it is becoming increasingly sustainable under its 2030 development plan. Improving the energy efficiency of city buildings is one quick way to reduce Paris’ carbon footprint whilst the city transitions to more renewable sources of energy.

Getting around the city is important no matter where you are in the world, and improving the attractiveness and convenience of using public transport instead of private vehicles is important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The combined approach of improving accessibility to public transport whilst simultaneously putting the city on a ‘parking diet’ is a very effective way of speeding up a transition away from cars to public transport and it’s an approach that cities all over the world should employ.

 

 

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