Green space in every schoolyard: the radical plan to cool Paris

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Playground oases could benefit students and city alike, but will making them public prove too controversial in a city on high alert?

It’s only 10am but the heat is already radiating off the asphalt at the École Riblette, a primary school on the outskirts of Paris. Sébastien Maire, the city’s chief resilience officer, points to the school’s lower courtyard, a classic heat trap: surrounded by concrete walls that reflect sunlight inside. Last June, the courtyard hit 55C (131F).

“For three days, school activities stopped,” Maire says. “It was not possible for the children to study, nor to go into the schoolyard. We would forbid them because it’s 55 degrees – you can fry an egg on the ground.”

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