Uncertain until mid-May, and after several months to imagine and to design them, the implementations of 9 of the 10 transformations works occurred this summer. These transformations were led by the combined action of the City of Paris and the Council of Architecture Urbanism and Environment of Paris (CAUE 75), partner of the project.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the transformations is the integration of more nature and green areas in the projects. The study tour which was carried out in Belgium in October 2019 widely contributed to renew the perception of what a schoolyard should look like (read more here)
These transformation works were also a chance to improve technical solutions and continue to support the changes in terms of professional practices.
At the beginning of July, the works started. The first de-deconstruction activities took place: ground demolition, old play areas removals... In July and August, contractors continued by implementing new technical solutions selected during the co-design phase. Pedagogical rivers, hills, wood chips grounds, tunnels, laying tree trunks, wood planters... were set in the schoolyards.
The CAUE 75 created and updated 9 websites about the implementation of the works and you can observe –week by week- the changes: https://www.caue75.fr/content/les-chantiers-des-cours-oasis
Continuation of the transformation during school time
Plantations, which are important part of the projects, cannot be done during summer time. In addition, play areas and amenities were also “tailored” and required more time to be set.
This is why the works continued in September… till now, while school is ongoing. But, no worries! The situation is considered as an opportunity for children to learn more about transformations works and even to… participate through volunteer construction work!
Indeed, teachers used the transformations as a pedagogical support: vocabulary, mathematics, job knowledge… a lot of academic activities were possible and performed. In one school, children also took the role of journalists to interview workers about the wooden play area they were setting in.
Participatory construction work will be the last part of the transformation and we hope them to allow many benefits: adapted amenities for the schools, self-esteem increase for the participants, better uses and respect of the constructions by all.
If the sanitary situation allows it, parents can also be involved in participatory construction works. These events would be the chance to implement concrete examples of activities which reinforce the intergenerational and social ties, in the schoolyards. Schoolyards which aims to become in Paris “capitals of the neighborhoods”!