Pedestrians are back !
The redevelopment of the Place de la République has reduced the flow of traffic at what was previously a very busy intersection. This has offered pedestrians a much larger area to use, as well as better access to environmentally friendly modes of transport: bicycle, metro, tram and bus. Each day, tens of thousands of people take the metro at République station. The Vélib’ station has been enlarged and cycle paths have been added around the square. An Autolib’ station is also available here.
Le Plan de Prévention du Bruit dans l’Environnement (PPBE) en cours d’élaboration a pour enjeux de réduire globalement les émissions sonores, diminuer la population exposée au-delà des valeurs limites réglementaires, rendre Paris exemplaire en matière de lutte contre le bruit des transports, définir et mettre en œuvre les modalités de préservation et de développement des zones calmes. Pour cela, la Ville s’appuie notamment sur les cartographies du bruit à Paris évaluant l’exposition des populations aux bruits des transports.
Le PPBE concerne les bruits routier, ferroviaire, aérien et les bruits industriels. Il ne prend pas en compte les bruits de voisinage, au travail ou à l’intérieur des moyens de transports.
More natural shade
The denser canopy cover provided by the addition of 30 % more trees means that the southern side of the square offers pleasant, naturally shady areas, whatever the season. This also limits the urban heat island phenomenon. The Place de la République now offers a leisure space where residents can relax and play board games borrowed from the games kiosk, in the shade of the trees.
This large square has become a place to reflect and remember, where a 10m (30feet) oak tree has been planted. Chosen for its longevity, this memorial tree is a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks of January and November 2015 from the people of France.
Trees are “natural air conditioners”, in that they offer a cooling system by means of water evaporation and thanks to the shade cast on the ground by their foliage. Many factors contribute to heat storage on hot summer days: facades and roofs, densely packed buildings, asphalt sidewalks and streets, as well as the narrowness of certain streets which prevent air currents. For all these reasons, the average temperature is 2 to 3°C (3.6 to 5.4 °F) higher in Paris than in rural or suburban areas. The air is also drier and more polluted. Stored up during the day and released at night, this heat prevents nocturnal cooling and causes uncomfortably high temperatures for city dwellers during heat waves. Green spaces and trees play an important role in the fight against extreme city heat. Surveys of summer temperatures at midday on the edge of a wooded area confirm that water loss from plants cools the air nearby.
An economical and eco-friendly square
Architects and landscape architects have redesigned the space so that the statue is the focal point, at the center of the composition. Simple and contemporary urban street furniture decorates the square. The street lighting has been entirely redesigned, and is now more economic and eco-friendly, avoiding wastage and negative effects on local biodiversity. The energy saved by the new lighting system is in line with the objectives set by the City Climate Energy Plan which includes a 30 % reduction of energy consumption in public lighting by 2020, compared with 2004. The new lighting designs also work to reduce light pollution.
In Paris, the energy sector--comprising energy production and consumption by buildings and vehicles--is the main source of the greenhouse gas emissions which are responsible for climate change. The main aims of the City Climate Energy Plan are: to reduce energy consumption by improving building facilities and public lighting, to reduce fossil fuel travel, and to develop renewable energy.
The bright halo over urban areas is a threat to biodiversity. Nocturnal lighting disrupts biological clocks, benchmarks, natural rhythms, as well as reproduction, feeding and hunting modes. It disturbs many species including bats, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic species, and particularly insects as well as humans. Excessive lighting is the primary cause of the disappearance of pollinating insects and nocturnal species. Attracted by the light, some are eaten by their natural predators, which spot them with greater ease. Excess insect mortality consequently modifies ecosystems and endangers the stability of the entire food chain. Common starlings - diurnal birds - are normally calm and silent at night. However, street lighting makes them much more agitated and nervous, causing them to fly about at any hour and sleep much less. The night time is also a time which conditions the proper functioning and development of plants. Over-exposure to artificial light disrupts photosynthesis and can affect germination, leaf growth, flowering and fruit development. Humans also suffer from intrusive light. Beyond being deprived of the sight of the stars, and the annoyance felt by too much light, nervous disorders and hormonal imbalances can also occur.
As part of the fight against climate change, this Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% from the Paris territory by 2050 compared with 2004, and anticipates the impacts of climate change. This Action Plan will be implemented in numerous areas: transportation, housing, urban planning, resource and waste management, food supply, and so on. The targets for 2020 compared with 2004 within the Paris territory are: 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 25% reduction in energy consumption, 25% of energy consumption produced from renewable sources Duty bound to set an example, the City of Paris has adopted voluntary commitments for its administration with the targets set at 30% reduction (buildings, vehicles and street lighting).
Improved water drainage
Some of the rainwater on the square is drained by a system of infiltration wells to avoid waterlogging the sewer system and an overflow onto the streets. Water is filtered before being returned to the ground to avoid pollution. It is also diverted to a storage pool before being returned to the sewers.