Transforming schools into authentic cooling islands in Paris – Resilient Cities in the Word!

France is improving its characteristics to face climate change. The idea is to implement a cooling program for schools by replacing asphalt with vegetations.

Resilient cities: Paris, France, transforming schools into “oases,” authentic cooling islands

Schoolyards cover more than 600,000 m2² in Paris, paved over with impermeable asphalt, and closed to the wider population even outside school hours. Furthermore, very few Parisians live more than 200m from a school, thus priming them to be local “oases” for cooling and well-being in the city.

The ultimate goal is to implement a cooling programme for all schools, by gradually replacing asphalt with vegetation and/or testing new materials and new methods to cool schoolyards and dormitories. Through this, schoolyards will become places for learning and well-being, as well as “cool refuges” for community members vulnerable to heat waves. These are currently being piloted in 2-3 schools with the potential for replication
in 700 schools throughout Paris.

A wide range of stakeholders in Paris are already involved in the project, and several research labs (Ecole des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris, Université Paris Diderot, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées) are interested in supporting the monitoring and evaluation process. Further expertise is needed around benchmarking best practices, technical innovation, and participative design with children. Furthermore, the initiative has generated funding from the city up to €150K, corresponding to a “classical” schoolyard renovation; additional
funding will be necessary for technical innovation and evaluation that fall outside of the renovation mandate.