Green space in every schoolyard: the radical plan to cool Paris

It’s only 10am but the heat is already radiating off the asphalt at the École Riblette, a primary school on the outskirts of Paris. Sébastien Maire, the city’s chief resilience officer, points to the school’s lower courtyard, a classic heat trap: surrounded by concrete walls that reflect sunlight inside. Last June, the courtyard hit 55C (131F).

“For three days, school activities stopped,” Maire says. “It was not possible for the children to study, nor to go into the schoolyard. We would forbid them because it’s 55 degrees – you can fry an egg on the ground.”

The École Riblette is now a guinea pig for Project Oasis, a plan to convert the concrete schoolyards of Paris into “islands of cool”. The goal is to provide respite in periods of extreme heat, and perhaps even bring down temperatures across a city with a desperate shortage of green space. Just 9.5% of Paris is given over to parks and gardens – the lowest proportion of any European city. (By comparison, London boasts 33% green space and Madrid 35%.)

Maire explains how the courtyards at this school will be transformed: a green wall here, a vegetable planter there, expanded areas of shade and special drainable concrete surfaces that can absorb water when it rains.

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Autor / Fonte:The Guardian