Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30 percent complete and is slated to be finished in 2020.
In 2007, Paris became one of the first municipalities in the world to adopt a climate action plan, setting goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions above and beyond those outlined by the European Union. Employing virtually all the tools in the green builders’ toolkit, Clichy-Batignolles aims to be tangible evidence of the city’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint as well as an experimental laboratory for testing what’s possible in climate-sensitive redevelopment. What used to be a train yard is being turned into an urban park surrounded by energy-efficient buildings that will house 7,500 residents and provide places of employment for more than 12,000 people.
Clichy-Batignolles’ naturally landscaped park and eclectic modern architecture contrasts sharply with historic Paris. But what makes Clichy-Batignolles most significant cannot be seen with the naked eye. The complex planning process it pioneered involving disparate stakeholders working in concert to maximize building efficiency and minimize resource use offers other cities a road map to achieve a low-carbon future. The development’s contribution to sustainable urban design was recognized in 2016, when it won the Sustainable City Grand Prize in the international Green City Solutions Awards competition.
Maximizing Space, Minimizing Emissions
According to a brochure for the project, the City of Paris sought to make Clichy-Batignolles “a model for sustainable urban development.” Architects, urban design experts, government officials and environmental engineers worked together for years to plan the project, and the project’s…