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#1 Quality of life in cities

Urban forests and wild spaces

From up here, the urban forests take on a whole new dimension: the gardeners moving about in their seemingly wild shared spaces look minuscule.

When forests grow in cities

When forests grow in cities

You’d be forgiven for smiling at the oxymoron, but urban forests are undoubtedly going to be part of the cities of tomorrow. Including in cities such as Tokyo, Paris and Milan, the projects are spreading. The positive effects of these forested areas in the middle of cities are carefully scrutinised in these times of global warming. It’s as if Alphonse Allais, who mischievously suggested that we “build cities in the country, the air is cleaner there”, were taken at his word.

Each species gives its own shade
80% of ground shade for a plane or chestnut tree
60% of ground shade for a maple or linden tree
40% of ground shade for a sophora tree

The first primitive forest in Paris

Between the ring road and the Bois de Vincennes nestles the very first primitive forest in Paris. A project led by the environmentalist organisation Reforest’Action alongside the City.
In the spring of 2019, 200 residents planted 2,000 trees from 25 different species on this parcel of 700 square metres.

When wastelands become gardens

When wastelands become gardens

93% of French people think that access to green spaces is a human right. This is a sign that they no longer want to simply “consume greenery” but that they want to commit to and co-manage these new common areas as responsible citizens.

On the rooftops, on former wasteland, or around buildings, it’s not only rose bushes and tomatoes that are growing. In these residual spaces, a new way of living together is being invented and is growing. A hybrid of allotments, family gardens from the industrial era and from the American model of community gardens, and new shared gardens are creating a convivial atmosphere on a human level: neighbourhood meals, forms of entertainment, performances, all fostering lively local exchanges. Children who grew up in the city and rarely leave their neighbourhood will discover the joy of the earth and hand-picked fresh vegetables. Novice gardeners will pick up tips and advice from more experienced ones.

These new spaces transcend age, culture, and social class. Around a flowerbed, hands in the soil, everyone has a place: the elderly, often with knowledge that they’re happy to share, children, fascinated from the off by contact with living things, lower-income groups, for whom access to nature is once again possible now that the garden is coming to them.