“Paris lacks green spaces”: how many times has this statement been made?! A strong need for Nature has become apparent among the citizens of one of Europe’s most densely populated capitals.
In response to these longings, Anne Hidalgo’s team is leading a proactive effort to increase (re)vegetation projects: “parisculteur” calls for projects, urban rooftop gardens, participatory budgeting, vegetation permits, plant donations, etc. Soon, a digital platform will enable individuals to promote their initiatives, share best practices, and develop a community of urban gardeners.
The Naturpradi* research project intends to support this effort while also examining it from different angles: first, from the perspective of the history of Paris and of the evolution in urban nature management; next, by studying emerging field practices in several current projects; and finally, by following the online conversations of various professional and amateur participants commenting on the issue.
The main goal is to produce an atlas of nature in Paris. The atlas will map the transformation of the relationship of Parisians to nature in order to help citizens and institutions craft new public policies. Chances are that this nature will not look anything like traditional “green spaces”: parks and gardens. Rather, the grand narrative of nature’s return to the city features innovation, the fight against heat islands, hydroponic fruit farming and digital applications.
What practices and dreams govern this movement? Which social actors support them? How do they operate through networks exhibiting diverse interests? What is the role of citizen participation in this effort? These are some of the questions that Naturpadi seeks to answer.
Finally, the project seeks to critically examine the idea that nature is “calming” by showing the disagreements and other possible visions of nature’s prospects in Paris.
Naturpradi – Urban Nature in Digital Practice(s) – is a 3-year research project funded by ADEME as part of MODEVAL-URBA 2015. It started in September 2016 and is led by the LAVUE Architecture and Anthropology laboratory (UMR 7218), which partnered with the City of Paris Office of Green Spaces, the Museum of Natural History’s Eco-anthropology and Ethno-biology laboratory (UMR 7206), the Paris Urbanism Agency and Sciences Po’s médialab.