The Clichy-Batignolles area of Paris is a former industrial wasteland which has been transformed into a model of sustainable development and the city’s first “eco-neighbourhood”.
Amongst other eco features, homes are equipped with solar panels and clean geothermal energy is used for heating. The overriding aim of this eco-effort is to address the city’s affordable housing crisis and ensure green benefits reach the poor as well as the rich.
Paris is one of more than 70 cities worldwide that have pledged to become “carbon neutral” by 2050.
The world’s cities, it is recognised, account for about three-quarters of carbon dioxide emissions and consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy.
Global warming is currently set to exceed the more ambitious limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) called for in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Paris adopted its climate action plan in March after public consultations. It aims to make the city carbon-neutral and entirely powered by renewable energy by 2050.
It has planned more than 500 initiatives to reimagine Paris as a zero-carbon capital. These range from swimming pools heated by sewage to ensuring the city is fully “cyclable” by 2020.
The Clichy-Batignolles area of 54 hectares (130 acres) is built around a 10-hectare park containing a skate park, deck chairs and wooden bridges. The park acts as a “green lung” and an “island of coolness” for the neighbourhood. Rainwater is channelled towards wetlands rather than discharged into sewers, and household waste is collected through an underground pneumatic system—removing the need for garbage trucks.
Buildings are heated by a new geothermal plant, and about two-thirds of homes are equipped with solar panels on their roof.
Half of the neighbourhood’s newly built flats qualify as social housing and can be rented for about 300 euros a month.Local residents have so far warmed to their new neighbourhood, and say they feel “more connected” to the rest of the city.
But many still await the arrival of a promised metro line, which should help reduce traffic and public transport congestion in the area.