At a time when the Ile de France region is undergoing profound changes with the arrival of transport networks and Greater Paris, associations from several Ile-de-France cities are meeting to warn of the ongoing property speculation and the need to preserve green, public spaces and their surroundings from intensive concreting. Anger is running high against concrete work at all costs.
Douze Ile-de-France associations (1) met on Sunday 10 September in Gentilly for the first meeting of the Ile-de-France Green Spaces Preservation Coordination (CEVE). Bertrand Ducos, co-founder, denounced a "desire to hyperdensify the inner suburbs, with municipalities that do not have a vision or do not share it with the inhabitants". Today's watchword: take care! Taking care of our green spaces, taking care of "each other", as the sociologist specializing in green spaces Ginette Lemaître reiterated. This movement is not "neither a federation nor a trade union and leaves its identity to each association, she explains. It must allow citizen thinking to develop and green spaces to become everyone's responsibility once again".
No to the privatization of green and public spaces in Ile de France
In the suburbs, cities currently need quality urban planning that serves their citizens and is not dictated solely by the interests of private developers, who see green and public spaces and their surroundings as attractive available square metres of land, in a context of economic fragility of communities. These spaces of nature in the open air and breathing space in a dense environment are common goods, socially, economically and ecologically indispensable!
By making our cities more attractive, they effectively combat heat islands and the current rise in urban temperatures.
They are necessary in terms of public health and quality of life and cannot be sacrificed for immediate cost-effectiveness.
Under no circumstances may these areas, the wooded heritage and the species they shelter be replaced by plantations at the bottom of buildings, roofs or vegetated structures outside inaccessible ground, which do not have the same role or provide the same input to cities.
Wherever these open spaces exist, they must be integrated, protected and developed in urban planning and in the framework of the Île-de-France Region's master plan to deal with the climate and social changes that cities are already facing.
Many sites threatened, Greater Paris already sold off?
In Gentilly, the last available green space in the city, the 5147m² green island Paix-Reims, should be concreted in the name of the "Inventing the Greater Paris Metropolis" competition. In Romainville, the city has sold off its only market square and the nearby Corniche des Forts, a green lung and future park for the people of Ile-de-France. In Montreuil, the precious Peach Walls are still coveted despite their ecological and heritage importance. In Bagnolet, real estate projects are multiplying without coherence. In Bondy, the wash house is threatened. In Noisy le Sec, it is the square François Truffaut and several sectors which are targeted. In Pré St Gervais, shared gardens, in La Courneuve, the fringes of the pars. In Paris, the Parc de Bercy is in danger of being amputated to make way for an infrastructure dedicated to the Olympic Games. Not to mention the open-air agricultural areas that are coveted in the name of major projects in Gonesse and Saclay. Etc, etc.
Everywhere the citizen opposition is mobilizing to protest, to demand a better balance in urban programming, to demand effective citizen consultation, to develop nature in the city and thus promote a better quality of life for all, in the long term for the inhabitants and future generations.
For an architecturally, socially and ecologically ambitious territory
Elected officials and residents must take back control of development projects in order to promote the quality and architectural, social, natural and urban diversity of the rapidly evolving suburban cities. The viability and attractiveness of the metropolis is at stake. The heritage of Greater Paris must be protected and enhanced today to avoid repeating past mistakes and to create welcoming and resilient cities now.
Elected representatives must guarantee all citizens meeting and breathing spaces so that cities that are already very dense and lacking in green spaces do not become dormitory towns. They must design cities with real centres, squares and green spaces, cities where it is pleasant to live, move around and work, also to reduce commuting and the pollution it generates.
Elected representatives must have recourse to cross and independent expertise (town planners, landscape designers, architects, ecologists, etc.) in order to think with the inhabitants of cities as a whole, to imagine transitional spaces and to intelligently articulate built and non-built spaces, public, collective or private spaces.
The associations are calling for an ambitious plan for :
- The preservation and development of green, natural and public spaces and their surroundings in the Ile de France region.
- Recognition and appreciation of their social, educational and ecological benefits.
- Simplification of the reference texts and legislative frameworks concerning them in order to be able to protect them.
- Effective representation of citizens in urban development projects
- Define a unified national rate for the ratio of construction to open ground planting.
- Establish a minimum national rate of green spaces per city and per inhabitant that cannot be compensated for on other remote sites.
- Reinforce green and blue frames and ecological continuities in connection with these spaces.
- Promote soil permeability and re-establish the complete water cycle in cities
- Knowledge, preservation and development of the tree heritage and biodiversity in the Paris Region
- Systematic integration of these green spaces in the plans for adapting cities to environmental challenges.
- Fighting against soil artificialisation by counting each year the number of hectares of open land authorised to disappear and evaluating the CO2 emissions generated by concreting in the Ile de France region.
(1) Collectives, Federations and Associations :
Association of Fishing Walls (Montreuil),
Association Gentil'îlot Vert AGIV, Association Mieux Vivre Sur le Plateau and Collectif Coeur de Plateau (Gentilly),
Association Spoutnik Dal Romainville (Romainville),
Bagnolet in Green (Bagnolet),
Bondy Ecology (Bondy),
Collectif pour la défense du Parc de la Courneuve - Georges-Valbon (La Courneuve),
Collectif de défense du Haut Goulet against concrete (Noisy-Le-Sec),
Pantin Patrimoine (Pantin),
Heritage and Environment/Romainville South (Romainville),
Collectif de défense du square François Truffaut (Noisy-Le-Sec),
Société des Jardins ouvriers des Vertus (Aubervilliers)
Federation of environmental and nature associations in the Hauts de Seine region, which brings together more than 50 environmental protection associations in the Hauts de Seine region.