A short time after I posted last week’s blog on vertical gardens, a friend of mine shared a news article with me out of Paris which I thought related, and was honestly quite inspiring. I hoped it might also be of interest to you all.
As a city, Paris is know for it’s fashion, food and culture, as well as romance and art, and now, the forward thinking hub will also be known for being one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world.
Did you know that the first Sunday of every month in Paris is Car free day?
Did you know that Paris recently banned plastic plates and cutlery? They are the first country to do so.
PLUS any new commercial buildings constructed are required to be partially covered with plants or solar panels. Wow.
Paris has recently passed a new law allowing anyone to plant an urban garden within the city, whether it be on the exterior of their home or office, in fact upon receiving their permit they are free to grow their garden on walls or in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. The new law, effective from July 1st was passed quietly, and has only just started making international headlines- crazy, as I think we should be singing this news from the mountain tops!
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, has encouraged Parisians to create living walls and green roofs, with a goal of 100 hectares by 2020! And out of that, she would like to see 1/3 dedicated to agriculture. Parisians are encouraged to be creative with their gardens, and are able to apply for renewable 3 year permits, and even supplied with a gardening starter kit which includes top soil and seeds. Whilst they are encouraged to be creative and use their imagination to green the city in many ways, they are required to plant only local species, and maintain the city’s visually appealing aesthetics. It has also been suggested that they plant honey plants to assist with the worldwide diminishing bee population, which is believed to bring catastrophic affects for our futures. The new law also sees Parisians using sustainable methods to grow their plants and avoiding all pesticides.
The new garden program has many goals in mind, and as such has been designed to meet the city’s need for green spaces, improve air quality, improve building insulation and acoustics, mitigate the effects of climate change whilst also encouraging biodiversity. They also hope that the program will boost the beauty of the city, improve the quality of life for the city dwellers whilst improving relationships between neighbours by creating more social links.
I think Hidalgo has a beautiful big picture view, and this program is only one piece of her ‘green’ plan. In addition, there will be the creation of 30 hectares of public gardens, 20,000 new trees planted, 200 re-vegetation projects as well as the creation and development of educational farms, orchards and gardens within schools.
Imagine living in a city where you could choose to grow Espaliered fruit trees on your rooftops, or trellised tomatoes and beans up the front of your apartment building? Imagine living in a city where the aim was to add green to the landscape, not cut it down?
I think it is a refreshing vision for the world, and one that I for one would love to see adopted here. Lets add green back to our lives. Green is good.
Feature image from Inhabitat