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Exploration of new plantation sites: the City is transforming car parks into micro-forests

In light of the lack of planting sites available, the Parks and Gardens Service is exploring new avenues. The referencing of private plots of land belonging to the City has identified 104 potential plots suitable for planting. Three car park transformation projects are currently under way, involving the removal of 1,200 m² of tarmac and the disappearance of 82 parking spaces. 

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espace vert avec des dessins en blanc d'arbres

Against the backdrop of climate emergency and seriously diminishing biodiversity, the City of Geneva has made strong commitments with regard to ecological transition with the aim of significantly increasing the tree and plant cover within its territory.

“In a city as densely populated as Geneva, where there is precious little space available, it is essential to explore new plantation sites in order to take action at the very heart of the districts where the need is most urgent. We have to find space where it exists, in particular in areas currently occupied by cars,” notes Alfonso Gomez, Executive Councillor responsible for the Department of Finance, Housing and the Environment (DFEL). 

Plantation of 800 seedlings on 18 parking spaces

With this in mind, a project of transforming a car parks into an urban micro-forest has been launched at Rue de Villereuse 8. Meeting a number of objectives of the municipal climate strategy, it will involve

  • removing 18 parking spaces;
  • stripping 360 m² of tarmac;
  • reconstituting the soil;
  • organising the participatory plantation of an urban micro-forest following the Miyawaki method, in partnership with the company  Forêt B, from the end of March. It will consist of about 800 seedlings of some thirty different species.

The materials present in the sub-soil will be excavated and reused on a building site in Vessy. In exchange, the building site will provide the topsoil necessary for the micro-forest, thereby making it possible to undertake the work in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. As it is a private car park belonging to the City of Geneva, no compensation is required. A relocation solution has nevertheless been put forward for anyone renting one of the parking spaces concerned.

A similar project has been envisaged in the district of les Grottes, on a car park with 12 spaces (165 m²) which has been freed up for the occasion. The start of work is scheduled for the coming summer.

The Miyawaki method

Known for its efficacy in replanting projects in towns and cities, the Miyawaki method aims to create small areas of resilient forest boasting a rich biodiversity, with a view to: 

  • helping combat heat islands,
  • making the soil more permeable,
  • ensuring better infiltration of rainwater
  • improving the quality of life of the local residents.

The trees and shrubs selected include a wide variety of indigenous species, thereby strengthening their resistance to disease and pests while creating a prime habitat for wildlife. The participatory dimension is an integral part of the procedure, both with regard to the planting and the necessary maintenance during the first two years, with the aim of strengthening social ties within the districts and increasing citizen awareness of the importance of biodiversity. 

Parc des Eaux-Vives: combating the presence of permanently parked vehicles

In Parc des Eaux-Vives, a parking rescaling project aims to remove 52 of the existing 149 parking spaces, to be replaced by 52 bike stands. Stripping some 680 m² of tarmac will result in the creation of a new, green relaxation area and the planting of five trees with extensive foliage.

A management mandate will be granted to the Fondation des Parkings, which will install parking meters. Changing the area into a fee-paying zone and increasing parking controls will also serve to resolve the issue of cars parked for long periods on this site.

This rescaling project meets several of the City’s objectives, in particular encouraging a modal shift in favour of soft mobility. With this in mind, the management policy for parking spaces belonging to the City of Geneva is an effective lever for action. Work is scheduled to start in March, with implementation in April.

Plantations: 104 new plots identified

The policy adopted at the beginning of the legislature period, involving the planting of three trees for each tree that needs to be felled, will have resulted in over 2,000 trees having been planted over a period of three years, compared to between 150 and 200 per year before that, primarily in parks and green areas.

To pursue this ambitious policy in light of the lack of sites available for planting, the Parks and Gardens Service (SEVE) has studied a number of different levers for action with a view to increasing the plots of land where trees can be planted. The potential provided by private plots belonging to the City of Geneva, in particular the car parks it owns, is one such lever. A survey of all the plots of land managed by the Municipal Property Management entity (GIM) was conducted, identifying some 104 potential plots for planting or revegetation projects. Following an in-depth analysis of these sites, and in line with the Villereuse, les Grottes and Parc des Eaux-Vives projects, further proposals with be submitted.

Contact

Vaucher Anna

Département des finances, de l'environnement et du logement

Collaboratrice personnelle

5, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville

1204

Genève

Suisse

Tél. + 41 78 760 97 97

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Article modifié le 24.01.2023 à 16:28