11e arrondissement. Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. (imagined in 2100)

Many people think of climate change in the mode of skepticismor despair, but a group of architects called Collectif et Alors has teamed with the Mairie de Paris to introduce another response: optimism.

This group of architects has imagined how Paris would respond to a rise in temperature of 2 degrees Celsius in the next hundred years.  This work is displayed in the outdoor exhibition “+2°C… Paris Invented! ” (« +2°C… Paris s’invente ! ») in Parc de Bercy, Paris through 31 January 2011.

The results of “+2°C… Paris Invented! ” are presented through a series of twenty postcards, one for each district (arrondissement) of Paris.  The exhibition is based on an optimistic scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the world in the year 2100 with an increased average temperature of 2°C.  This particular projection is based on the assumption of a world facing economic viability, greater equity, the introduction of clean technologies, and the efficient use of resources.  To this point, there has been minor criticism, warning that it may provide too much optimism, especially to individuals who are not well-versed in the potential gravity involved with other ICPP scenarios, which are equally or more likely.

To the surprise of many, Paris has become a much greener city in recent years.  The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, is known for his green outlook.  In his first inaugural address he summed up the opinion of many Parisians when he said << L’air de Paris est si mauvais que je le fais toujours bouillir avant de respirer>>

4e arrondissement. Hôtel de Ville. (imagined in 2100)

– “the air in Paris is so bad that I always boil it before breathing.”  In the near decade of his tenure as mayor, his efforts have served to drastically improve this situation.  He has introduced a city bicycle system and has gone so far as to suggest that automobiles be banned from sections of the city.

The images comprising “+2°C… Paris Invented!” encourage investment and inventive thinking to transform the city to a calmer and greener place by 2100.  From the Seine to the Tour Montparnasse is redesigned to provide renewable energy to the city.  There are green spaces welcoming pedestrians and cyclists around the Hotel de Ville.  Many tower blocks are planted thickly with greenery and some buildings are cooled by greenery as well.  Many residences have large terraces on top of buildings to allow families to enjoy green spaces.  Huge water tanks are installed on roofs for the re-use and consumption of each building.  Tramways and barges replace street boulevards to allow for deliveries to shops.   And private automobiles have all but vanished.  There are even vegetable gardens in the 8th district, recalling the royal nurseries that were cultivated there through the 18th century.

See the full slideshow here.

This work fits well with recent creative tasks by the French that bring awareness to climate change.  Prime examples are Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s 2009 film, Home, and the popular exhibition, “6 Billion Others” (<<6 Millard d’autres>>).

No matter one’s feelings about climate change, “+2°C… Paris Invented!” is enticing as a projection of what is possible should a city take up the opportunity to reinvent urban lifestyles in a “green manner.”

The exhibition is on show until 31 January 2011 at Parc de Bercy – 1, rue François Truffaut – 12e arrondissement

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