Paris says “oui” to urban gardening
A new law has been passed in Paris encouraging local residents to plant their own urban gardens anywhere within the city limits.
Authorities hope that city residents will become “gardeners of the Parisian public space” and is inviting potential gardeners to apply for a renewable three-year permit to start their own gardening projects. Residents are free to be as creative as they like – growing plants on walls (i.e. vertical gardens) and rooftops. The city will provide gardeners with a planting kit which includes topsoil and seeds.
“Residents are free to be as creative as they like – growing plants on walls (i.e. vertical gardens) and rooftops.”
However, the law requires that residents maintain their installations and ensure that the greenery enhances the city’s aesthetic. The use of pesticides is forbidden and only local species can be planted. The city has also highlighted the need for “local honey plants”, presumably to help bolster the world’s dwindling bee population.
According to local authorities, the new urban gardening program is designed to encourage biodiversity, meet the need for green spaces, mitigate the “heat island” effect and climate change as well as improving air quality.
It is hoped that the latest initiative will not only ensure a greener city but will also improve the quality of life of residents while strengthening local relationships and creating social links.
The urban garden initiative is part of the Parisian mayor’s plan to create 100 hectares of living walls and green roofs in the city by 2020, with one third of that greenery dedicated to urban agriculture.
Urban gardens are only part of the local authorities’ ambitious plans for greening the French capital. The larger greening program also involves the creation of 30 hectares of public gardens, the planting of 20 000 new trees, 200 re-vegetation projects and the development of educational farms, orchards and vegetable gardens in schools.
France seems to be leading the way when it comes to innovative measures aimed at tackling environmental and community issues – with a range of green initiatives introduced in recent years.
In the fight against pollution, authorities have declared the first Sunday of each month a car-free day in Paris. In 2015, the government passed a new law requiring that the roofs of all new buildings constructed in commercial zones must be at least partially covered by plants or solar panels. France was also the first country in the world to ban the use of plastic plates and cutlery.
Posted by Rikus Geldenhuys
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