We’ve been watching the new apartment buildings surrounding Martin Luther King park take shape since we’ve been here. On Friday workmen began attaching live plants to the north-east facing wall of the “green building”. These seem to be modular slabs of pre-planted sacking containers that are attached onto metal holders on the wall and a watering system built in behind the slabs. I’m looking forward to seeing how this grows.
These new buildings are all part of a huge development project for Clichy-Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement. The apartments all have interesting design features – there’s one that looks like its made of sticks! They are very different from the typical Haussmannien apartments that define Paris for tourists.
This park is a wonderful green space in our very busy and population dense area. Every day you see joggers and walkers; I come here most days either en route somewhere, or for my self-conscripted “boot-camp” exercises early in the morning, or sometimes just to sit outside and do some French “homework.” The gardens are lovely and this is where I have watched the spring emerge slowly and tentatively and now the whole park is a glorious green sanctuary.
There’s a lovely area set aside for people to have a tiny garden plot and grow a few flowers and vegies. There are play areas for pre-schoolers and bigger kids, and bold kids can launch themselves into orbit on the skateboard ramps. The current craze seems to be riding the ramps on scooters; called “trotinettes” here. Everyday the park is a buzz with kids playing after school. Today being a warm sunny weekend day, it’s packed with people. The sight of all the people occupying every inch of picnic space makes me realise how much space we have in our NZ cities for our relatively small population.
I think this park is a great example of how important and valuable green spaces are for big city communities and the mayor, councillor and project team of the 17th deserve a pat on the back for this. Its lovely and there’s more to come!