Paris, France

Photo by CAUE de Paris.

Sustainability and Resilience

What efforts have been made to reduce the carbon footprint of the initiative?

The Oasis project seeks to permanently transform the way in which schoolyards are redesigned, by placing natural materials and a more ecological approach to urban environments at the heart of the projects. The carbon footprint of the schoolyards is reduced by the choice of ground materials (for example, wood chips instead of concrete), but also by a quest for reuse. In some schoolyards, stone, concrete paving stones or asphalt, have been reused to build mounds, benches, and small facilities.
Another challenge of the project is to move towards a greater sobriety and a greater valorisation of existing elements, and the reduction of the carbon footprint linked to the construction works. To face this, the technical teams carrying out the projects are trained and made aware of the issues, whilst being able to count on the expertise of other City departments and external partners.

Finally, this work provides an opportunity to promote awareness of the issues related to the ecological transition for the pedagogical teams and, through this, to encourage the implementation of more thoughtful behaviour on these issues, as well as to stimulate the deployment of ecological projects (integration of soft mobilities, for example, by installing shelters for bicycles in the schoolyard, including for the adults who work there).

How have the anticipated impacts of climate change been considered?

The Oasis project is a project to tackle the effects of climate change in cities. It integrates a minimum of 50 percent of indigenous plants (such as Cornus sanguineum, Thymus vulgare or Acer campestre) adapted to each zone and function of the schoolyard.  Other types of plants are also chosen for their resistance to climate change and their ability to provide shade. For instance, large trees are privileged.

Thus, different natural areas are created, like wetlands, conservation areas and pedagogical garden. Plants of all sizes (weed, bushes, threes, aromatics) have been integrated to the schoolyards, with no chemical treatments, with the aim of recreating a more resilient and functional natural ecosystem. Those actions contribute to microclimate creation by generation of semi-shadow spaces, increase on atmosphere humidity and CO2 retainers.

Water management and in particular rainwater management is also an integral part of the Oasis project. The aim is to restore a local water cycle by making the soil more permeable, and by disconnecting rainwater from the Paris sewerage system. It is also about allowing water to flow to the planted areas to feed them. Access to water for plants watering is also possible through rainwater harvesting systems. Pedagogical river systems that feed into rain gardens have been installed. Drinking water stations have also been integrated in some of the schoolyards, for children.

At least, recycled materials (asphalt, tiles) are used on new structures construction.

What processes does the initiative include for it to be considerate in its use of soils and other natural resources?

One of the ideas concerning this aspect is to be as virtuous as possible regarding the floor materials used and the reuse of existing materials. In that logic, local material provision is privileged. The aim is to increase the proportion of natural materials (particularly wood, with specifications that specify wood from sustainably managed forests).

The project specifications contain detailed requirements regarding the quality of the materials to be supplied by the companies. They specify standards to be respected, sources of materials and extraction. Inspections of these materials may also be carried out at the delivery of the materials to check the conformity of the products brought to the construction sites.
The aim here is once again to give impetus to new dynamics in public construction, in a collaborative public/private logic, and in a project at the service of the future of the young generations.