Paris' Pilot City Activity: NEAR (Neighbourhoods' Engagement for Accelerated carbon Reductions)

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Background

For over 20 years, Paris has been acting with ambition and determination as part of its Climate Action Plan. To meet the objective of the Paris Climate Action Plan, the city aims to act FASTER, MORE LOCAL, FAIRER.

With the implementation of the NEAR pilot activity, the City of Paris wants to investigate at the scale of the neighbourhood to implement climate action, responding to the new local and fairer approach of the Climate Action Plan. The aim is to create granularity in the ability to contribute to Paris’s ecological transition, enabling every one of us to participate in the transformations enshrined in the Climate Action Plan.

NEAR is based on the definition of a neighbourhood’s collective carbon footprint, enabling the implementation of ecological transition projects, supported by multi-actor governance (citizens, local players, local authorities).

The methodology will focus on the collective appropriation of shared spaces and link individual, collective and territorial levels of commitment. With an experiment carried out in two neighbourhoods, one of which is a deprived district, this project enables the realisation of a key climate justice action included in the Climate Plan for the reduction of climate inequalities: “fostering ecological transition by and for neighbourhood residents”.

The pilot activity will tackle the main barriers of citizen engagement, where existing participatory democracy bodies are facing low participation rates, difficulties in mobilising people over the medium and long-term, participation by the same socio-professional categories, and insufficient “accountability”.

Description of Activities

The goal is to determine the main consumption behaviours of inhabitants based on their carbon footprint, creating pools of citizens grouped together according to their lifestyles, among inhabitants of the same urban space.

  • Establish the NEAR methodology: A new open-source, free-to-use tool and a training kit will be created to allow replicability of the project in other territories and, more broadly, in other European cities. From raising awareness and mobilising people against climate change to calculating a representative and statistically accurate carbon footprint, the NEAR pilot activity will build a new governance system upon which local authorities and citizens will be able to act cooperatively in accordance with the Paris objective to become carbon neutral.
  • Implementation of citizen-led transition projects: After a benchmark of comparable projects and an evaluation of potential actors who could be involved and the implementation costs, the pilot will develop at least two transition projects, one that will allow analysis and learnings about the technical aspects and governance related to the implementation of transition projects, and a second one where the goal is to learn and build innovative processes for financing transition projects at the scale of the neighbourhood.

Objective

To experiment with data analysis of the carbon footprint and lifestyles of the population of two Parisian neighbourhoods to facilitate a collaborative change to reduce GHG emissions.

Are the pilot activities building upon or part of a previous and/or existing activity?

The Réseau des Quartiers en Transitions association has already tested a methodology, from which the NEAR methodology will be derived, in 3 neighbourhoods outside of Paris (including a smaller, low-density metropolitan suburb, a semi-rural city centre, and an urban eco-neighbourhood). These neighbourhoods were different from each other regarding several criteria: buildings, socio-economic conditions, cultural diversity, and diversity of usages. Some of the lessons learned include:

  • If the core structure of the diagnosis can remain the same, the tools and formats to engage citizens need to be adapted to each neighbourhood’s context.
  • Events must be organised near to the citizens, preferably outside (diagnosis phase and the participative phases are preferably not carried out during the winter season).
  • To collect data, if digital versions of the inquiries may be helpful to reach more citizens, direct inquiries in person allow to reach a greater diversity of people, including those who are not comfortable with technologies, isolated ones, and/or those who do not feel concerned by environmental issues.

Which emissions domains will the pilot activities address?

  • Consumption of electricity generated for buildings, facilities, and infrastructure

  • Consumption of non-electricity energy for thermal uses in buildings and facilities (e.g., heating, cooking, etc.)

  • All vehicles and transport (mobile energy) 

  • Multi-sector waste management and disposal 

  • Land use (including agriculture, forestry, and other land uses) 

Systemic transformation – levers of change the pilot activities will exploit

  • Governance & Policy

  • Social Innovation

  • Democracy/Participation

  • Finance & Funding

  • Learning & Capabilities 

  • Data & Digitalisation 

Stakeholder types that the city would like to engage in the pilot activities 

  • Citizens

  • Business

  • Local NGO, Associations

  • (Other specified in application, replace or remove this accordingly)

Transferable features of the pilot activities to a Twin City/ies 

A new generic version of the NEAR methodology will be developed, including a library of tools differentiated for several neighbourhood categories, to be able to implement in other contexts beyond Paris and France.

  • While the emission factors used to calculate the carbon footprint must be adapted to each country, the other tools in the method are independent of the political and legal context.
  • To design and develop an online platform for automating the diagnostic tools (stages 1 and 2 of the method, and production of the graphic content required for stage 3). A training kit to easily use the platform and know better the different steps of the project, from the diagnosis phase to the elaboration of citizen-led projects will be developed to facilitate deployment and to share the lessons learnt from the experimental project.
  • Finally, a guide with funding aspects will identify sources of funding for different projects to cover the entire process, from ideation to implementation, and therefore with or without the implication and financing of the city administration.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

Enabling conditions that will support the successful replication of your pilot activities in the Twin City

  • The NEAR methodology will be conceived to be replicable to any neighbourhood, whatever its typology (size of the city, socio-economic context, type of buildings, history, local actors).
  • In any given neighbourhood, the participative steps of the NEAR methodology can be iterated several times, for different subjects identified in the diagnosis, then implement citizen transitions projects on several emission domains.
  • Although a part of the carbon footprint of an individual is dependent on systems and decisions that are at greater scales (energetic systems, long distance transportation of goods and people, carbon efficiency of industrial processes), a significant part is related to daily usages that take place within the very local scale of the neighbourhood.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

What does the city want to learn from Twin City/ies?

  1. Linking global challenges with local action: Experience the NEAR approach in another European city context within the framework of a climate action plan.
  2. Focusing on climate justice: Improve learning on how to engage all citizen groups, focusing on vulnerable communities that are often not reached by city’s traditional communication channels or events.
  3. Enhancing Community Engagement and Participation: Examine innovative approaches for fostering meaningful community engagement and participation in pilot initiatives. This could involve learning from successful community outreach programs, participatory decision-making processes, and communication strategies to ensure that projects reflect the needs and priorities of
  4. Transferability of NEAR methodology: improve replicability to any neighbourhood by comparing typology of cities and neighbourhoods (size of the city, socio-economic context, type of buildings, history, local players).

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.