For several years now, authorities have realised the importance of urban parks and gardens. Elected representatives, the general public as well as property developers and landscaping entrepreneurs all want to transform today’s towns into green, ecological cities. This aim and challenge permeates Paysalia 2017!
Parks and gardens have become “must” living spaces much valued by residents seeking to commune with nature and greener surroundings. To meet this need, communities have adopted “city greening” projects covering many aspects of urban problems and designed to federate locals.
Projects aiming to create or rehabilitate urban parks and gardens are a major concern for communities because of population growth and strong demand from inhabitants. A survey by « L’Observatoire des villes vertes 20171 », (The Observatory of Green Cities 2017) set up by the Unep in partnership with Hortis reveals that France’s biggest 50 cities have, on average, 2.854 acres of parks and gardens and invest an annual 5 million euros in the creation of new spaces on average.
Locals are increasingly involved in participative actions. The inhabitants, shopkeepers and members of associations have become players in the construction of the green and ecologically friendly
environment in which they want to live. Exemplary operations are organised to animate local life by creating social links and giving a new approach to urban spaces.
The prohibition of plant care products in January 2017 gave a new impetus to the debate on safeguarding biodiversity in several big French cities. The new challenges consist in the protection of existing plant and animal species and the creation of new species adapted to each city’s climate and environment. Killing off weed and shaving lawns are no longer current procedures. Now, communities have adopted management practices more environmentally and ecologically friendly using alternative techniques such as manual weeding and eco-pastoralism. 2 out of 3 cities have decided to use maintenance methods that respect plant diversity in public parks and gardens.
Much appreciated by local inhabitants, parks and gardens have an important place in urban environments as sources of wellbeing and health. In recent years, their use has increased significantly. According to « Green cities, breathing cities » study, 8 out of 10 French people choose a dwelling near a green space and go there regularly (30% once a week and 20% at least once a month).