In this inspiring interview, the Vice-Mayor of Paris explains how the new edition of Reinventing Paris contributes to the city's COVID-19 recovery strategy, supporting public and private office owners to convert their unused properties into housing for residents. He also presents the city's strategy to transform the construction industry in Paris.
By changing the way people live and work, the COVID crisis has brought into question the future of offices and commercial buildings. The quality of our urban life is at stake, and many cities and stakeholders across the world are looking for concrete solutions in the context of their recovery strategy. With this initiative, we want to be proactive and pragmatic. This new edition of Reinventing Paris builds on this momentum with a call out for projects that will help public and private office owners to convert their unused properties into new housing that is deeply needed in Paris.
The outbreak also showed us how to be more resilient and adaptive in our approach to urban development. Paris and many other cities have quickly repurposed their public spaces to increase access to outdoor spaces for inhabitants and to foster walking and cycling during the pandemic. We want to encourage similar approaches to the built environment. Making the most of existing public spaces and buildings is extremely relevant in this context. This is also aligned with the 15-minute city model we are developing in Paris.
How does this competition fit with the climate objectives of Paris?
Repurposing buildings can play a significant role in mitigating the impact of climate change by supporting city regeneration while limiting GHG emissions associated with construction. To avoid climate breakdown, we know that we must move from linear to circular approaches. This is true for goods, and must also be true for buildings and construction materials.
While doing this interview, I learnt that the French architects Lacaton & Vassal have won the prestigious Pritzker Prize. These architects have put readaptation and respect for the existing built environment at the heart of their architecture. This new Reinventing Paris initiative pursues the same goal.
Tell us about the new Pact for Parisian construction
Thanks to several initiatives and especially to the successful Reinventing Paris competition, we are seeing many changes in the built environment sector in Paris. The health and climate crises have acted as a wake-up call and businesses are showing willingness to change their model and to collaborate more closely with the city to accelerate the implementation of new environmental and social practices. The Pact defines ten objectives for a model of construction that respects both the environment and the Parisian heritage, striving for a resilient and inclusive urban development.
With this Pact, we defined the vision of construction we want for Paris and we created a reference framework that the city can share with the built environment actors. The next step is the new bioclimatic urban plan that we are currently developing through a participatory process.
We are progressing step by step and with the collaboration of everyone!
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