Climate : Harvard students draw the Paris of the future

344 Last modified by the author on 07/02/2024 - 15:08
Climate : Harvard students draw the Paris of the future

Initiated by their professor and Belgian architect Bas Smets, students of the prestigious American university have imagined how France's capital could adapt to rising temperatures, with urban forests and underground life.

You may be wondering what the biospheric urban planning course at Harvard in the United States is all about. Don't take this as chauvinism, but the Americans spent their second semester thinking about the Paris of the future, the one where the thermometer explodes. The students and their professor, the architect and landscape designer Bas Smets, who is responsible for designing the next forecourt of Notre-Dame-de-Paris, based their work on the most catastrophic scenarios put forward by the IPCC, namely a rise in temperatures of 2°C in 2025, 3°C in 2050, 4°C in 2075 and 5°C in 2100.

Paris under the trees

After a week in the French capital meeting local urban planners, and several debates on the future of Paris, the students were able to present their projects, most of which were heavily tinted with green. The Place de l'Hôtel de Ville would be covered in green mounds, the Pelouse des Invalides would be enriched with trees and flowers, and the Place de l'Etoile would be a haven for new urban biodiversity. The objective put forward by these urban planners of the future: to demineralise existing spaces while respecting the architecture already in place, and to bring freshness and life through nature in the city.

To enable this vegetation to flourish, the students have opted for the installation of draining soils to store rainwater and prevent flooding, and to green up the main boulevards to create areas of shade and coolness.

To live happily, live hidden

Another idea for continuing to live despite the soaring temperatures in the French capital is to live underground. One of the groups of students shared the idea of creating underground walking maps, following the routes of metro lines 2 and 6, so as to tour Paris under the cobblestones.

It remains to be seen whether these projects will become reality in the years to come, or whether they will inspire the government as Christophe Béchu launches the "France adapts" initiative. The French Minister for Ecological Transition is due to present a plan for adapting to climate change in the spring.

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