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Sarah Marquet

Sarah
Marquet

Engineer at the Urban Organizations Services, ADEME

 

Sustainable cities expert
Sarah Marquet

Helping cities and regions improve resource conservation and quality of life.

Cities consist of the majority of the world’s population today, and face numerous challenges. Urban planning, as well as city management, is one of the most powerful tools in making the concept of sustainable cities a reality. A multi-disciplinary, systemic approach is essential, as the issues are diverse: energy management, greenhouse gas emission reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation, mobility, landscapes, quality of life, biodiversity, and ecosystem services, to name a few.

Biodiversity provides us with goods and services worth twice the value of what we produce each year. Urban nature can help maintain and develop urban biodiversity if correctly implemented. Examples of this include limiting soil sealing and preserving ecological continuity, notably through plant selection, and revegetation on available surfaces, among others.

Nature in urban settings can determine the quality of life a city fosters, as well as its attractiveness. Green spaces are a key criteria for more than 7 out of 10 Europeans who, when choosing their place of residence, feel that proximity to these areas is important[1]. When it comes to neighborhood upgrades or social cohesion, green spaces usually play a key role, through collective gardens, for instance. Urban nature contributes to the quality of the city, promotes better health among residents, allows for physical activity and playing areas for children, and can support better mental health through its calming effect.

There are many approaches when it comes to sustainable urban planning, with each one offering unique qualities. In France, the environmental urbanism approach (AEU2), formalized by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, seeks to bring the focus to stakeholder participation as well as the content, analysis, and prioritization of the issues at hand, the setting of objectives, and the means of implementation. Whichever approach is used, it must ensure a high quality of life and the conservation of resources.

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