Parisian playgrounds to become ingenious climate oasis
by Will Roderick
What's Going On Here?
Paris has recently announced Project Oasis, its radical plan to convert the concrete playgrounds of all of its 800 schools into either green spaces or ‘islands of cool’ by 2040.
What Does This Mean?
Paris has the lowest percentage of green space of any European city, which contributes to what is known as the ‘urban heat island effect’, whereby urban areas are significantly warmer than their rural surroundings. Many school playgrounds in Paris are surfaced with asphalt, which acts as a radiator. Last June, school playgrounds reached temperatures as high as 51 degrees, causing school activities to be postponed for 3 days. (Did someone say inset day?!).
Project Oasis aims to tackle heatwaves by building green infrastructure like green walls, vegetable planters or trees into schools. These not only provide cool, shaded areas but also reflect solar radiation and remove heat-absorbing gases from the air.
Why Should We Care?
As our planet warms due to climate change, heatwaves like those we’ve experienced in recent weeks are set to become more frequent. Project Oasis is therefore a welcome to strategy for adapting to climate change and if successful could be implemented in cities elsewhere!
Whilst London has significantly more green space than Paris (33% to 9.5%), encouraging schools to implement more green spaces in playgrounds could have the added impact of improving the city’s dire air quality around schools.
Don’t want to wait until 2040 for the government to buy you some plants or provide you with shade?
Got the power? Planting a green roof or green wall on your office block will not only cool the building but also reduces the need for air conditioning (less waste heat released!).
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