Circular Paris

Circular economy in France

In France, the national government provided strong institutional support for the circular economy. By 2018, it had published a national strategy (Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition and Ministry of Economy and Finance, 2018). The strategy focussed on increasing the efficient use of resources in production systems and supply chains. The design, supply, production and distribution of goods, materials, services and to an extent infrastructure are included in the strategy. It focuses on organic, plastic and construction waste streams. The ultimate aim is to reduce waste going to landfill. Other resources - water, energy and land - are not mentioned. The strategy does support industrial and territorial ecology (a closing of resource loops in industrial parks, at a city-regional and regional scale). Thus, it acknowledges the importance of the spatial, scalar and sectoral dimension of circular processes.

There are three key motivations for the circular transformation in France. First, moving to a circular economy would assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and delivering the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Paris hosted the 2015 Climate Action talks which produced the Paris Climate Agreement. The climate commitment underpins the implementation of the SDGs. France is keen to show its leadership in delivering both.

Second, after the recession of 2008, France wanted to reinforce its economic recovery and growth. It was estimated that the circular economy could create 300,000 additional jobs nationally and broaden the economic base (Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition and Ministry of Economy and Finance, 2018). Thus circular economy could generate growth. France also wished to reduce its dependence on imports of raw materials and its vulnerability to global economic uncertainties. Through the reuse, recycling of resources and energy recovery France could begin to reduce its imports of goods and oil.

Third, the French government was also keen to address issues of social injustice and inequality. The circular economy potentially otfered an opportunity to do this. Circular economy could be a source of social innovation and could offer a range of employment opportunities to the most vulnerable. It would enable the entrance of new players into the market (including social enterprises) who prioritised societal goals. It could provide a vehicle for the redistribution of resources, which would help to deliver social solidarity goals. The French government also thought it was important to demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity in the process of creating the national circular strategy. Thus, a wide range of actors (including social enterprises and community groups) were engaged in the process.

Circular Paris

Paris’s population is predicted to remain stable at 2.23 million until the middle of the century (French National Statistics Agency, 2020). However, the ecological footprint for the average Parisian (4.8 gha/capita in the He de France) is growing. Food accounts for 50% and consumer goods 30% of the region’s footprint (IAU, 2016). Currently, the footprint of those living in the He de France is nine times greater than the region’s bio-capacity. Thus, taking a circular approach to development will be crucial for Paris’s future resilience.

There were a number of motivations for moving towards a circular economy in Paris. The first was Paris’s commitment to deliver zero waste, particularly to tackle organic and construction waste in the city-region. Paris committed to the zero waste target in 2014, which was reinforced by winning a national call in 2015, for projects to create a zero waste territory. The Paris Urban Planning Agency (IAU) suggested circular economy could deliver the zero-waste goal. The adoption of circular economy principles in Paris was further supported by the national “Energy Transition for Green Growth” law, which was adopted in 2015. This sought to reduce waste going to landfill, largely by increasing reuse, recycling and energy recovery.

The second motivation was to become sufficient, through the local production and assimilation of resources. This led to the introduction of programmes to boost local agriculture and re-industrialise the region. Paris is highly dependent on its immediate and wider environment for resources. The region imports the equivalent of 12 tons and exports 5.2 tons of materials per resident per year (IAU, 2016). Paris intends to close resource loops within the city-region where possible by localising construction, food and industrial systems and encouraging looping actions.

The third motivation, Post-COP15, was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Circular actions were identified as critical to mitigating climate change. The climate action plan suggests a range of circular actions - energy and heat recovery from waste; renovation and energetic refurbishment of building stock; localisation of resource flows; reuse of goods; recycling of grey-water and wastewater - for tackling greenhouse gas emissions. It also highlights the importance of the restoration of urban ecosystem services, to sequester C02 and enable the city to adapt to climate change.

The fourth motivation was social solidarity. The aim was to redistribute “residual” resources (e.g. food, furniture, electronic goods) to those in need in the city-region, to establish community solidarity projects and social enterprises to support the process, to engage and empower excluded groups through the creation of new employment opportunities and thus to build resilience within communities. Also through temporary interventions to enliven, re-invent and transform urban spaces with citizens.

Paris adopted a plan for circular economy in 2017 (Figure 6.1). It produced a more holistic and territorially embedded view of circularity. Materials, water, energy, land and infrastructure were considered in the plan. Linkages between looping, adaptive and ecologically regenerative actions were also recognised. This approach more clearly reflected circular development defined in Chapter 2. The plan was produced through a highly inclusive consultation process conducted by the General Assembly. In total, 20 local authorities and more than 120 organisations (from the non-profit, industrial, government and academic sectors) took part in its creation (Marie de Paris, 2017).

The city has used several levers to implement the plan: incentive-based funding, public procurement, regulation, data platforms, skills workshops and experiments. The main source of public funding was through public procurement, which provided powerful leverage for a circular transition (Marie de Paris, 2017). Paris created a trans-national procurement group with several other European cities in 2015. It was the first to have its responsible public procurement scheme approved. One of the main goals of the scheme was to support the growth of the circular economy. Paris defined new resource efficiency criteria (both material and human) for its future public procurements, which would help deliver the most resource-efficient solutions for the region.

Paris is building capacity for implementing the circular economy. The highly inclusive, multi-stakeholder process, organised to develop the plan, began the capacity building process. It helped to create the social networks and reciprocal relationships between actors in the city required to encourage circular solutions. The municipality also set-up data platforms (e.g. Paris Urban Metabolism Platform) to enable actor learning and to identify opportunities for resource exchange (e.g. sol-dating).

A re-industrialisation strategy for Paris was introduced, with circular economy as a key focus. Networks of economic actors (such as the Paris Esprit d’En- treprise, the business and employment centres, and the GroupementJeunes Createurs Parisian) were established to enable the process (Marie de Paris, 2017). These projects were supported financially, technically and though property mobilisation (similar to London) to encourage their development and scaling-up. The initiative “Paris City of Makers” aimed to double the number of production spaces in the capital (fab labs, makerspaces, etc.) which could further reinforce the re-industrialisation process and enable new circular industries to emerge

Time-line. Source

FIGURE 6.1 Time-line. Source: Author’s own.

(Marie de Paris, 2017). Over time it will broaden the economic base of Paris, producing new employment opportunities, resulting in economic growth.

Experiments make it possible to explore the challenges to the implementation of the circular economy (in terms of the legal framework, economic model, networking of actors) in Paris. The Improvement of the Urban Metabolism Programme has produced a range of experimental projects focused on the reuse of property, materials or excavated soil; the collection of organic waste and raising awareness of wastage through education campaigns (ibid). The lessons learnt from these experiments have been disseminated through the innovation platform.

Circular development in Paris

The circular economy plan also provided a territorial context for the resource flows (i.e. the metropolitan region). It recognised the link between land-use (activities), the production and consumption of resources. Thus, it recognised the link between spatial planning and the circular economy. The main thrust of the circular economy plan was towards material reuse, recycling and energy recovery. It prioritised looping organic, food and construction waste. It also tackled plastic waste and waste goods (particularly electronic goods and furniture). It highlighted the importance of shortening production and distribution chains, whilst ensuring the visibility of the good supply chains. Strategies to close resource loops locally were prioritised.

Due to the large number of construction sites in Paris, vast quantities of materials are imported. Yet construction waste continues to grow. Construction waste represents 45% of materials exported from the region (Marie de Paris, 2017). This is a particular problem in the Ile-de-France which generates 30 million tons of construction waste per year. This is more than five times the production of household waste for the area. Of these 30 million tons, less than 25% is currently recycled (ibid). Reducing construction waste by encouraging the adaptive reuse of buildings and the local recycling of materials and components is central to circular development. It can also be encouraged through the planning process (as was the case in Amsterdam).

The municipality also seeks to enable the creation of local food systems by protecting farmland within the city-region. This creates a closer relationship between producers and consumers, which in turn raises awareness of the impact of consumption choices locally. Farming can help to protect ecosystem services and increase local sufficiency. Organic waste produced in the city can be composted and used as fertiliser, or converted to energy in the periphery (in bio-digesters). Many local authorities in the region still own significant parcels of farmland. However, these parcels are threatened by urbanisation. The regional plan (Regional Authority of Greater Paris, 2013) includes a protection and development objective for farmland. There are also plans to encourage urban agriculture and composting within the city-limits. Closing food loops locally offers a key circular development pathway, which can be supported by spatial planning.

Paris is attempting to re-industrialise the city-region. The localisation of industrial systems will increase resource sufficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport of goods and materials. The formation of regional industrial clusters may also enable resources to be shared, reused and recycled locally. The Ile-de-France is a potential producer of many secondary raw materials, some of which are already “rare” and essential for the development of future industrial sectors. If all waste produced in the territory was recovered, 9% of ongoing needs for raw materials within Ile-de-France could be met (Marie de Paris, 2017). Ile-de-France also has many assets to enable this transformation. It has a vast network of companies in key areas for the circular economy, including mature recycling schemes (for metals, paper, etc.), and developmental actors in the chemicals, energy and design industries. Networks for industrial symbiosis are more likely to form where industry is present and clustered. Spatial planning has a key role in encouraging the development of these clusters.

In Paris, the spatial plan determines infrastructural provision, urban form and land-use activities which directly impact on a city’s ability to loop resources locally. This is reinforced by an amendment to the plan which uses regulatory provisions to prioritise resource conservation and environmental quality. Thus, Paris has produced an extensive network of voluntary waste drop-otf sites linked with recycling centres. It has strengthened quality requirements and the standards governing green infrastructure, which improves rainwater management. It has led to the inclusion of decentralised, renewable energy systems in new development. Through its powers of provision, the municipality is also responsible for providing water, sanitation and waste management infrastructure and services. Thus, Paris can adopt new infrastructural systems or models of provision which could support grey-water recycling systems, anaerobic digestion of organic waste, waste-heat capture, recycleries, logistics centres and storage facilities.

Paris takes an integrated approach to circular development, where synergies between circular economy (looping activities), nature-based solutions (ecological regeneration) and climate adaptation are acknowledged (Table 6.1). Several plans encourage looping, regenerative and adaptive actions to operate together (e.g. local urban plan, the biodiversity plan). Equally, a transition towards a circular economy is promoted through many strategic plans (e.g. air quality plan, climate and energy plan). The recognition of these important interactions by government is materially different from the approach taken in London, where these actions are viewed separately. This integrated approach is operationalised strategically across the city and manifests in new eco-districts (e.g. Clichy Batignolles).

Land release is an important instrument for circular development. The Paris Reinvented, Parisculteurs and eco-district programmes help to deliver circular development. These programmes all rely on the allocation of sites in Paris. Land (publicly and privately owned) is released for projects which are innovative, conserve resources and improve environmental quality (e.g. Milles Arbres, Agripolis and Clichy Batignolles). Temporary planning permissions are also a powerful tool for circular development. Privately owned sites are leased (usually by land owners or developers) on a temporary basis for a range of pop-up circular activities (e.g. Les Grands Voisins, Bellastock). Three circular development pathways have emerged in Paris: city-regional (with a focus on construction and food waste, water and vacant sites), temporary-experimental (with focus on vacant sites) and eco-district pathways. All three will be illustrated below.

Circular economy

Ecological regeneration

Adaptation-resilience

Promote

transition to CE

Improve

environmental

quality

Promote

biodiversity

Mitigate and adapt to climate change

People

centred

resilience

Urban form and infrastructure centred resilience

Mobilising

collective

intelligence

Climate & energy plan

X

X

X

X

X

Local urban plan

X

X

X

X

X

X

Air quality plan

X

X

X

X

X

Noise prevention plan

X

X

X

X

Environmental health plan

X

X

X

X

X

sustainable urban logistics

X

X

Biodiversity plan

X

X

X

X

X

X

Blueprint for the

ecological restoration of waterways

X

X

X

Paris rain-plan

X

X

X

X

X

Blue-print for recovery of non-potable water

X

X

X

Urban agriculture development strategy

X

X

X

X

X

X

Sustainable Paris actors network

X

X

X

X

('Continued)

Circular economy

Ecological regeneration

Adaptation-resilience

Promote

transition to CE

Improve

environmental

quality

Promote

biodiversity

Mitigate and adapt to climate change

People

centred

resilience

Urban form and infrastructure centred resilience

Mobilising

collective

intelligence

Local housing programme

X

X

X

X

X

Sustainable food plan

X

X

X

X

X

Plan urban agriculture and food

X

X

Zero-waste plan

X

X

X

X

X

Compost plan

X

X

X

Plan food waste

X

X

X

X

Innovation arc

X

Responsible public procurement

X

X

X

Participatory budget

X

X

X

X

X

X

Local waste and recycling plan

X

X

X

X

X

Circular economy roadmap

X

X

X

X

Flood prevention programme

X

X

X

X

X

Smart and sustainable city

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Source: Adapted from Marie de Paris (2017).

Circular construction (looping actions)

Paris’s approach to construction waste demonstrates the city-regional, circular development pathway. Construction and renovation projects generate large flows of materials which have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. To minimise the environmental impact, the City of Paris is encouraging renovation. It also requires that all construction projects adopt circular economy principles in order to attain the target of 50% construction waste diverted from landfill by 2030 and 100% by 2050 (ibid). The use of materials with lower embodied carbon, such as locally produced wood, or recycled materials from sites in the city-region, is also encouraged.

Deconstruction sites are emerging in Paris, which enable the recovery of construction materials from refurbishment projects and demolition. Two logistics centres have been funded on the periphery of Paris, to enable materials to be stored and re-distributed in the region. Through contracting arrangements, public works are beginning to adopt circular construction practices and use locally sourced, recycled components or materials. Intelligence is being gathered to establish local supply chains. Various events have been organised to stimulate regional networking, to optimise the reuse and recovery of materials at the local level.

Experimental projects are also emerging to determine how locally sourced materials can be reused in construction projects. A particularly innovative experiment is being conducted by the students from the Architectural School of Belleville. They have developed a festival and research platform called Bellastock, which aims to test innovative methods for reusing construction waste. Bellastock holds an annual construction festival, which promotes experimentation in architecture (adaptable buildings) and construction material reuse. Architecture students from across France build an ephemeral city with salvaged materials (e.g. pallets, plastic and earth). This experience helps the students (future architects) to understand the challenges to construction and operation.

Bellastock also run the Actlab experiment. This is a laboratory for the reuse of construction waste, located on the construction site of the Ile-Saint-Denis eco-district. The site is currently undergoing a transformation, as part of the Olympic development for 2024. The former industrial uses are being replaced by residential and commercial uses. The structures which were on site, including a warehouse for Printemps, have been deconstructed. Actlab has used the components and materials collected from the warehouse to experiment. The Actlab is complemented by the REPAR project (also developed by Bellastock) which aims to produce a guide for integrating reused and recycled materials into architectural projects and a catalogue providing technical solutions.

Soil excavated from building sites is another issue in Paris. A soil exchange service - SOLDating - launched in 2014, acts as a broker for the supply and demand of inert soil between project sites. It facilitates soil traceability, and thus enables soil exchanges between sites via a simplified platform. The platform recovers and reuses building and public works soil that is not contaminated. It has already recovered more than 30,000 m3 of soil in the Ile-de-France region (Marie de Paris, 2017). It is estimated that decreasing these flows could result in a 50% reduction in inert soil management costs (ibid). The establishment of a mixing platform to build fertile soils (from demolition waste, cleaning sludge and green waste) further limits the volumes of inert site waste and sludge discharged into storage centres. In the long term, the proposed fertile substrate may be an alternative to an increasingly distant supply of topsoil.

Circular food (looping, ecologically regenerative and adaptive actions)

Paris adopts a city-regional approach to creating circular food systems. The aim is to grow, reuse, compost and recover energy from food-waste, within the city-region. Urban agriculture (in all its forms) has been present in Paris for more than 150 years. “La culture maraichere” (market gardening) accelerated in Paris during the second half of the nineteenth century and peaked during occupation in World War II. Urban agriculture was carried out in collective workers and family gardens on leased plots. The tenure of these gardens was secured by national law. The value of urban farming to increase food security, improve Parisian’s health and enhance the urban ecosystem was understood by the government.

Post-industrial landscapes in the Parisian suburbs afforded plenty of opportunities for urban agriculture (Demailly and Darly, 2017). The expansion of family gardens followed the gentrification process into the suburbs. Today, Paris is an extremely dense city. Only 17% of the land area is green space (ibid). It is in this context that temporary forms of urban farming have emerged and now contribute to the diversity of institutionalised gardening and guerrilla gardening projects in vacant spaces throughout the region. Since 2000, the sites available for agriculture have become smaller, more dispersed and ephemeral (ibid). Thus, increasingly urban agriculture is becoming a temporary (rather than sustained) activity.

Several new forms of urban agriculture have emerged: permanent collective gardens and farms, temporary gardens, nomadic animal herding and off-the ground gardens. Unsurprisingly, most urban agriculture initiatives can be found in interstitial spaces left vacant by the urban economy (ibid). If urban agriculture of this kind is not to be threatened by land scarcity (and the low-value nature of this activity) it needs to be protected. Alternatively, the relocation of agricultural projects needs to be planned more systematically.

In response to this, the Parisian government is supporting urban agriculture through the “Parisculteurs” initiative. The goal is to cover the city’s roofs and walls with 100 hectares of vegetation by 2020 (formalised by the “100 hectares charter” in 2016). One third of this space will be dedicated to urban farming. Land owners and managers of public and private spaces (currently a 30:70 split) can nominate their space for conversion to agriculture. A web platform is used to link farmers with space owners/managers. Often, financing for projects comes from crowd-funding, for which the returns are good. However, in practice, farming in and on buildings is still almost non-existent in Paris. It is expensive in terms of capital and operational costs. Nevertheless, 33 “greening” projects in and on buildings have been supported and are now in the early stages of implementation.

One such project is the largest roof-top, urban farm in Europe (Figure 6.2). It is being constructed in the 15th arrondissement. The farm will cover 14,000 m2 once complete. It is located on the top of a major exhibition complex (Paris Expo Porte de Versailles). The site will produce 1,000 kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season, using entirely organic methods (Harrap, 2019). The project is being developed by Agripolis (an urban farming company) as a commercial venture, which will protect it from the constant competition for space in the city.

Food waste presents a major problem for Paris. Parisians discard three times as much food still in its packaging compared to the average French citizen. Despite efforts to reduce food waste, around 37% of the food served is finally disposed of as bio-waste, most of which is being incinerated (Marie de Paris, 2017). The City’s objective is to reduce Paris’s greenhouse gas emissions from food by 40% by 2030.

Food reuse is one strategy adopted in Paris. This approach tackles the food waste problem, whilst building social solidarity, by feeding the urban poor. Food reuse schemes have been reinforced by the law introduced in 2016 (Perchard, 2016), which made it illegal for supermarkets to dispose of good quality food in

Paris Expo Porte de Versailles Rooftop Farm. Source

FIGURE 6.2 Paris Expo Porte de Versailles Rooftop Farm. Source: Artistic impression produced by Sally Williams.

France. The law forced supermarkets to seek alternatives to landfill. The City of Paris is providing some support to non-profit organisations for the collection of unsold food items from commercial enterprises including supermarkets.

As part of new public service contracts for the management of Paris’s food markets (2015—2019), contractors have been required to develop partnerships with local non-profit organisations in order to organise the redistribution of unsold edible fruit and vegetables (Marie de Paris, 2017). Ten markets are now part of the scheme. One recipient is the non-profit Freegan Pony restaurant which reuses discarded food from the wholesale market. Other recipients are the 50 to 80 gleaners in the Joinville market (19th district) who collect 300-400 kilos of unsold food every Sunday (ibid).

Some non-profit organisations have received a subsidy to equip themselves with logistical means or kitchen equipment in order to recover unsold food from supermarkets and prepare meals for those most in need. Another innovative, solidarity project enabling food reuse is Les Frigos Solidaires. These are fridges placed in the community where businesses and households can deposit surplus food for those who need it. The fridges are located in or close to local businesses which maintain them. Paris gave a grant in 2018 to finance 15 fridges across the city.

Composting food waste offers another option for closing the food-loop locally. The City of Paris encourages collective composting in all its forms. However, it is difficult in a city with many high-rise buildings. Nevertheless, there are 422 household composting sites at the foot of buildings and six neighbourhood compost bins and there is still significant growth potential (Marie de Paris, 2017). The Paris Compost Plan, adopted in 2017, sets a target of 500 household composting sites in collective housing (twice the current number) and 400 sites in public facilities (twice as many as in 2016) to be met by 2020 (ibid). These can be linked with the urban agricultural projects across Paris.

Finally, food waste (unsuitable for reuse or composting) can be converted to energy. Paris currently imports 95% of the energy it consumes. Organic waste provides the opportunity for energy recovery, reducing energy imports and increasing energy security in Paris (ibid). Since 2014, Paris has been deploying solutions to generalise the collection of food waste produced by municipal canteens, schools and food markets. The food bio-waste is then valorised in an anaerobic digestion plant in Paris, to generate biogas, which is reinjected into the city gas network or used as a bio-fertiliser for green spaces in the capital (ibid).

The City has set itself the target of establishing medium-sized biogas production by 2030. It is also planning to develop organic waste recovery facilities (biogas production and industrial composting) in the metropolitan area, including the installation of a high-capacity biogas plant. This will enable Paris to process waste flows, whose volumes will inevitably increase with the obligation to implement separation at source by 2025 (imposed by the Law on Energy Transition for Green Growth).

Circular water (looping, ecologically regenerative and adaptive actions)

Paris takes a city-regional approach to the development of a circular water strategy. Water cycles can be assisted by looping and optimisation actions. Improving cycles increases water security in cities. In 2013, Paris used 176,000,000 m3 of water annually (Tabuchi, Tassin and Blatrix). Consumption has reduced by 25% since 1985. The network is very efficient (only 5% leakages) and more recently the use of water metering has helped to reduce potable water consumption further. In 2010, water was re-municipalised in Paris. Thus, the city has direct control over the provision of both the service and infrastructure (potable and non-potable). This is useful in enabling its circular transformation.

Paris is one of the few cities in the world equipped with a dual network water system: the drinking water network is duplicated by a totally independent non-potable water network which possesses its own means of production, storage and distribution pipes (Nguyen, 2003). In this second network there circulates non-potable, grey-water. The grey-water system has existed in Paris for two centuries. Grey-water is very inexpensive and is used in large quantities. Most of the grey-water (98%) is consumed by the city of Paris and used for hydrants, fountains, street cleaning, watering of public gardens, flushing of the sewers, etc.

The grey-water network will require replacement in the near future, and there are some questions surrounding whether this is economically or ecologically prudent (Nguyen, 2003). Ecologically having one system would reduce the water lost to leakages. Also potable water is more expensive and metered, so moving to a solely potable water system should reduce overall water consumption. Economically, the cost of removing the grey-water system is extremely high, but it would release valuable land for development.

Paris is now investigating replacing existing grey-water reuse systems with blue-green infrastructure. These systems have other added advantages, for example, in adapting the city to climate change. Thus, more localised, blue-green, grey-water reuse systems are beginning to emerge in Paris in existing and new developments. The Climate Adaptation Plan (Marie de Paris, 2018) and the Blueprint for the Non-Potable Water (Marie de Paris, 2015) sought to upgrade blue-green infrastructure in Paris to cool the city, reduce water scarcity and adapt to climate change.

Rainwater gardens, permeable surfaces, swales, reed-beds and retention ponds are being used to create sustainable urban drainage systems across the city. This will help to regulate the retention and flow of water. Reflecting ponds, temporary swimming pools and cool pathways are being used to regulate the urban heat island effect. An additional 20,000 trees will be planted, 100 hectares of green roofs and walls and 30 hectares of green public space will be provided in Paris by 2020, which will enable grey-water storage and reuse.

The potential to capture heat from the waste-water and non-potable water network is also being explored (looping action). Heat is already being recovered from waste-water experiments in Paris. For example, the experiment in the Wat- tignies School which recovers 70% of its heating needs (reducing ССЬ emissions by 59%) from the waste-water system, by the combined use of a heat exchanger and heat-pump (Marie de Paris, 2017). Another example is the Chevaleret experiment. This is an innovative waste-water heat recovery facility coupled with a mini-gas cogeneration plant. It saves more than 50% of the energy cost compared to a traditional gas solution (Marie de Paris, 2017). A study highlighted a further 13 sites with energy recovery potential from the wastewater and non-potable water network in Paris. This could save up to 250 tons of C02 each year (Marie de Paris, 2017).

Separated urine management is also being tested in eco-neighbourhoods in Paris (similar technology to that used in De Ceuvel). The installation of urine collection systems at the source can reduce the flows of nitrogen-rich and phosphate-rich nutrients entering wastewater treatment plants and the River Seine, and cut water consumption by reducing the flushing of toilets. Therefore, the separation of waste-water at the source is also a promising solution in terms of adaptation to climate change and the responsible consumption of water resources. If separated urine collection is implemented on a large-scale and it is processed appropriately, the recovered nutrients could be used as fertiliser. However, these open-air installations - uritrottoir - have become rather controversial in Paris.

Circular urbanism (looping, ecologically regenerative and adaptive actions)

Circular urbanism is critical to the reinvention and adaptation of a city. It allows the reuse of “wasted” spaces (sites and buildings) through a temporary, experimental approach to development. It is particularly important for low-value circular activities, which would otherwise find it difficult to compete for space, in a land scarce city such as Paris. Increasingly land owners or developers are searching for temporary uses on sites. This ensures land is used effectively between longer-term uses. During this time temporary activities occupy the space. These provide the opportunity for looping, ecologically regenerative and adaptive actions.

Temporary uses have become increasingly popular in Paris since 2012 (Figure 6.3). Amongst these temporary uses, circular activities have emerged, for example, The Freegan Pony (food waste reuse cafe), Friche Miko (an entertainment venue on wasteland which also demonstrates circular economy), Jardin d’ Alice (adaptive reuse of buildings for workshops and performance spaces, also with eco-projects in outdoor space) and Actlab (reuse of construction waste).

A particularly successful example of a temporary circular experiment is Les Grands Voisins, which occupied the site of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital in the 14th arrondissement (Figure 6.4). The developer decided to offer the site to temporary uses, rent-free until development began. The hospital’s buildings were turned into a hub of social and commercial enterprise. There was a hostel

Temporary Urbanism initiatives in Paris post-2012

FIGURE 6.3 Temporary Urbanism initiatives in Paris post-2012.

Source: Adapted from IAU idF, Lieux culturels ephemeres. Promenade cartographique en Ile-de-France.

providing 600 beds for the homeless, workshops for artisans, pop-up shops and start-ups. The former ambulance bays and car parks were converted into allotments, a boules court, a makeshift football pitch and an urban campsite. As many as 1,000 visitors came daily to its market or cafes or to see live performances. The aim of the project was to tackle social exclusion and encourage social solidarity.

Preparatory building works began in 2018 which threatened the temporary uses on site. The developer suggested they move to an abandoned area along the Avenue Denfert-Rochereau (adjacent to the site). This further extended the lifetime of the project through a secondary temporary occupation. Les Grands Voisins demonstrated an alternative development trajectory for Parisians. It illustrated how buildings and materials could be reused and recycled. It also demonstrated demand for some circular activities (e.g. sale of second-hand goods, repair and upcycling, urban agriculture and composting). It built social and human capital amongst communities using the site, which increases adaptive capacity within these networks. It also ecologically regenerated and reinvented the area.

Many temporary experiments have emerged across Paris since its inception in 2011. The key actors involved in the project (L’Association Plateau Urbain, Yes We Camp, Aurore) have also been engaged in the scaling-up of the practice. For example, L’Association Plateau Urbain has become a broker for temporary urbanism. It links organisations in the cultural or social sectors with owners of unoccupied buildings and sites to enable reuse. It was a small association before Les Grands Voisins project, but now it is an important player, often partnering with the municipality, to deliver sites for temporary uses. Yes We Camp is a social enterprise, whose purpose is to create meanwhile spaces which engage the local community and support vulnerable groups. This group has successfully implemented a variety experimental projects in Paris1 and Marseille since the creation of Les Grand Voisins. Aurore is a charitable association which was founded in

Les Grands Voisins - meanwhile space in central Paris. Source

FIGURE 6.4 Les Grands Voisins - meanwhile space in central Paris. Source: Artistic impression produced by Sally Williams.

1871. It accommodates and supports vulnerable people. It also has many temporary projects across Paris.2

These examples inspired the Paris Reinvented initiatives, instigated by the Mayor’s office in 2014. It formalised the process of the strategic adaptive reuse of sites and buildings in Paris. It is another example of the city-regional (strategic) approach to circular development. Disused public sites were leased or sold to developers and architects competed with innovative plans for their redevelopment. However, these were not temporary projects. They were transformative. Requirements were placed on the projects to offer flexible land-use, anticipate new lifestyles, use wasted spaces and engage with communities. This created more resilient urban form and built adaptive capacity amongst key actors.

The first 23 sites selected were diverse but were rarely in iconic locations. The city gained approximately €565 million through the sale or lease of the sites (Pilsudski and Koh, 2019). Many innovative projects were proposed, of which three - Morland,3 Mille Arbres4 and Massena3 - clearly demonstrated examples of circular development. They incorporated looping, adaptive and ecologically regenerative actions. The success of the initiative encouraged Paris officials to embark on new projects: “Reinventer la Seine” with the City of Le Havre at the mouth of the Seine River; “Inventons la Metropole” with the Metropolis of Greater Paris and “Subterranean Secrets of Paris”. Thus, Paris combined city- regional and temporary experimental pathways to enable the circular transformation of redundant urban spaces.

Circular Clichy-Batignolles

Clichy-Batignolles is an eco-district which materialises all the circular actions. It is constructed on a 54 hectare, contaminated, brown-field site. The site was the railway yard next to Saint Lazare train station in the 17th arrondissement (Marie de Paris, 2015b). The redevelopment of the site began in 2001. The intention was to create a village that would serve the 2012 Olympics. The bid was unsuccessful, but it led to the redevelopment of the site as an eco-district (loop). The district addresses the climate objectives identified in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is a demonstration project for a low carbon neighbourhood, which is also climate adapted (adapt).

Clichy-Batignolles provides an example of circular urban development. Infrastructure incorporated into the development enables grey-water recycling, waste-heat reuse, material waste recycling and energy recovery from waste (loop). The inclusion of the green infrastructure also helps to ecologically regenerate the urban system and adapt to climate change (regenerate/adapt). The neighbourhood when complete will provide accommodation for 7,500 residents and provide jobs for 12,000 people (Rouge, 2015).

Essentially, it comprises a 10-hectare park (Martin Luther King Park) surrounded by resource efficient, climate-adapted buildings (adapt). The buildings are extremely energy efficient (optimise). Energy consumption is restricted to

50 kwh/sqm/year (compared with the Paris building code which requires 70 kwh/m2/year). For space heating passive house standard (15 kwh/m2/year) has been set. Some buildings also have green roofs (covering 16,000 m2) that offer insulation and a habitat for wildlife (regenerate).

Much of the district’s heat and electricity comes from renewable sources (substitute). A local geothermal heating system taps into a warm water-table beneath the park, thereby reducing energy needed for heating. Nearly 4,000 tons of C02 are saved every year (compared to a heat network using natural gas). Some buildings also use heat from outgoing grey-water to heat incoming tap water (loop), saving 58% of the energy typically required for water heating (Marie de Paris, 2015b). More than 35,000 m2 of solar panels have been installed on roofs and facades. These will generate 3,500 MWh per year, which is around 40% of the electricity used in the development (ibid). The layout of the development encourages walking and use of mass transit while limiting space for cars (substitute). To further improve air quality in the district, deliveries are restricted to a fleet of electric vehicles that cover the last kilometer from a central drop-off site.

At the heart of the district is the Martin Luther King Park, which is the largest green space in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. The park has been designed to increase biodiversity, accessibility to green space and water management. It also acts as a cooling space within the urban environment (regenerate). The two community gardens on site also give residents places to grow their own food and compost food waste (adapt and loop). The park and other green infrastructure in the neighbourhood reduces the volume of rainwater entering the sewage system (loop/regenerate). It includes wetlands and subterranean tanks that collect rainwater for reuse (loop). This reduces the volume of waste-water being treated and contamination problems from overflow. It also captures rain, which can be used to water the green infrastructure in the district. Of the parks watering requirement 40% is met by the rainwater recycling systems.

The district’s waste management system uses underground pneumatic tubes, for transporting waste to the sorting centres (like Hammarby). Recyclable materials are then transported to reprocessing plants by train. The remaining waste is compacted and taken to the Saint-Ouen incinerator. Only three to four trucks are needed to remove waste per week, making a saving of 1,872 km in transportation per year (ibid). This reduces greenhouse gas emissions (42%), carbon monoxide (98%), nitrogen oxide (86%) and particulate emissions (90%), when compared to a typical waste collection system (ibid).

Summary

Paris has a circular strategy, which offers a more holistic and integrated conceptualisation of circular economy, closer to this book’s definition of circular development. It recognises the linkages between looping, ecologically regenerative and adaptive actions. It also territorialises these activities. Motivations for adopting this strategy are economic, environmental and social (solidarity). The social benefits are extremely important in this case. Paris demonstrates three pathways for circular development. The first pathway encourages a city-regional approach to looping construction materials, food and water. It also co-ordinates the strategic reuse of sites (e.g. Paris Reinvented). The second pathway adopts a grass-root, temporary-experimental approach to circular development (e.g. Les Grand Voisins, Bellastock), through the adaptive reuse of sites. The third pathway demonstrated by Clichy Batignolles uses a planned eco-district to demonstrate and test the application of the three circular actions in a new build development. The greatest challenge to circular development in Paris appears to be the cost of land and lack of available land. Nevertheless, circular development benefits from considerable government support in Paris, through regulatory and funding mechanisms. The spatial plan, public procurement and government funding (e.g. eco-districts, “Paris Culteurs”, “Frigos Solidaire”) are successfully leveraging circular development.

Notes

  • 1 For example, the Cinq Toits Project (a former police residence, repurposed as a shelter for the homeless and refugees) and the Parmentier (an electricity substation now used by an art collective).
  • 2 For example, the Archipel, a former nineteenth-century convent, which was converted into an emergency accommodation centre in 2012 for vulnerable women and children.
  • 3 Morland was previously an administrative building. The architect David Chip- perfield proposed a vibrant, multi-use building which connected to the river. The multiple-uses ensured that space was occupied 24-7. Thus, the space was fully utilised but also flexible and adaptable. The rooftop was urban farm, which helped to create a local food system. It also helped to begin to restore ecosystem services in the local environment.
  • 4 Mille Arbres was built over a ring expressway to connect two disjointed areas of the city, while retaining a long-distance bus station on an adjacent site. Architect Sou Fu- jimoto and Oxo Architects created a structure connecting both sides of the city with a public park and restaurant street. It integrated green infrastructure into a heavily trafficked urban environment, helping to reduce air pollution and regenerate the local ecosystem.
  • 5 Massena project was planned for a vacant site with an existing, historic train station (protected by the City of Paris). The winning bid proposed to create a “short food cycle” through the provision of an urban farm and cafe on the site. All three projects demonstrate facets of circular development (site reuse, adaptive design and ecological regeneration).
 
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