Story | 14 Jun, 2024

Greening Paris

The City of Paris is becoming greener and more biodiverse for the benefit of people and nature. Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor in charge of urban vegetation, green spaces, biodiversity and animal welfare, tells us more.

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Place Sarah Monod


A time of change

Over the last 20 years, Paris has been undergoing a radical transformation of its urban model. The aim is to reverse the massive ‘macadamisation’ of the city that began in the 1930s. At a time when 2050 projections show that 70% of the global population will live in cities, Paris recognises that allowing biodiversity to thrive in cities like ours is of paramount importance.

The challenges we face

Some of the environmental challenges we face are long-standing: protecting Parisians from heatwaves, anticipating the risk of flooding, preserving biodiversity, preventing the growing scarcity of water resources and tackling air pollution. But some are new: for example, the recent health crisis has revealed the necessity of reinforcing green spaces in the city, so everyone can have access to a breathing, natural space less than 15 minutes’ walk from home.

Our plan of action

To anticipate and adapt to these numerous challenges, the municipality has implemented several dedicated action plans over the past few years: the ‘Paris s’adapte’ Refreshment Plan, a Resilience Strategy, a Biodiversity Plan and a Tree Plan. By imposing requirements on builders, the local urban plan provides an invaluable tool for shaping the development of tomorrow’s city.


Planting trees

Paris 3 100,000 trees have been planted since 2020

More than 100,000 trees have been planted in Paris since 2020, including 40,000 over the last winter – almost twice as much as the previous winter. It is the first time since the era of Baron Haussmann that Paris has planted trees in such quantities. The goal is that Paris becomes a true ‘garden city’- replacing circulated roadways and parking spaces with bicycle paths, plants and trees. This means that all Parisians gain access to nature, focusing on local species to welcome local flora and fauna, and to adapt to the effects of global warming.

Our garden city

A garden city is one where there is no longer any distinction between squares, parks and public space, but where nature overflows into the streets. This year, there’s almost 100 streets with planters, replacing parking spaces. It’s a revolution in the urban landscape of Paris. Since 2020, 6,000 parking spaces have been removed and more than 1.3 hectares of asphalt have been removed to enable streets to be greened.

These transformations will be simplified and become the norm thanks to the future bioclimatic Local Urban Plan (PLUb), which sets in stone Paris’s evolution towards more vegetation and nature, working towards the goal of 300 hectares of additional natural spaces in the city.


To achieve this, agreements are also being signed with private and institutional partners to open gardens that are currently inaccessible. They are part of Paris’s heritage, and soon everyone will be able to enjoy them.

Paris City Council has also identified school playgrounds as important levers: they represent over 70 hectares of area and are equally distributed across the Paris territory.

Now, asphalt surfaces are being replaced with innovative, permeable materials adapted to heatwaves.

More green spaces are being added, along with the installation of shaded areas, fountains and water features.

Proud Members of IUCN

Paris was among the pioneering cities to become full Members of IUCN at the Marseille Congress. Currently, together with other champion cities, we are involved in multiple initiatives with the UN Environment Programme, the World Bank, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability through the Berlin Urban Nature Pact.

We now call upon other cities to join IUCN, because reaching a critical mass is essential. The more numerous we are, the better equipped we will be to influence the course of events. We are convinced that being part of IUCN will aid us in this endeavour.