‘Green City Days’ 2017: an interview with Lyon’s Public Parks and Gardens General Manager

With Paysalia’s 2017 trade show fast approaching, it’s time to take a closer look at their ‘Green City Days’ initiative. The event, which takes place across four days, offers a glimpse into what really goes into maintaining Lyon’s green spaces, with a focus on health and wellbeing. Daniel Boulens, General Manager of Lyon’s Public Parks and Gardens and co-organizer of the event, talks to us about what Green City Days 2017 means to him.

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With Paysalia’s 2017 trade show fast approaching, it’s time to take a closer look at their ‘Green City Days’ initiative. The event, which takes place across four days, offers a glimpse into what really goes into maintaining Lyon’s green spaces, with a focus on health and wellbeing. Daniel Boulens, General Manager of Lyon’s Public Parks and Gardens and co-organizer of the event, talks to us about what Green City Days 2017 means to him.

What are the main draws of this year’s trade show?

Paysalia works in partnership with the french national union of landscape companies (Unep) as well one of France’s leading professional associations, Hortis, of which I’m a member. For the last several years, Hortis has worked alongside several organizations both in France (the FNPHP, the FFP) and elsewhere, like Unep, to ensure that industry leaders are in a position to contribute to the success of this important event. The landscaping industry also has close ties with local and regional authorities, making Paysalia’s trade show an unmissable opportunity to learn about key issues related to landscape gardening, including the major challenges facing industry professionals when it comes to the upkeep of green spaces.

What about its aims?

By hosting this year’s trade show, Paysalia is looking to bring together representatives from across the landscaping industry, from gardeners to architects to urban planners. As an organization, we’re in constant contact with these experts, so we’re proud to host an event that shines a light on the latest legal, technical and administrative developments affecting the industry.

Can you explain the Green City Days initiative?

Urban living has changed significantly in the past few decades, particularly as a result of the increased attention being paid to climate change and the environment. Today, creating and maintaining green spaces is a major issue. This can take place in a variety of innovative ways, spanning buildings, parks and public spaces, but the ultimate goal remains the same: reducing, as far as possible, the impact of global warming.

Green spaces and 'living buildings': key rules and regulations

Is public health affected by climate change?

We know that global warming is changing the way we live in cities, particularly large, densely populated urban areas with multiple transport networks. Creating ‘living buildings’ - where habitable buildings and structures are transformed into ‘greenhouses’ for a variety of plants, flowers and trees - will give urban populations a chance to appreciate nature’s fascinating biodiversity, while (practically speaking) offering shade, refreshment and food for thousands of other species. We came up with the idea of Green City Days in order to emphasize the very real health and wellbeing benefits of urban green spaces, not just how visually attractive they look - although it has to be said, they do look great!

As Lyon’s Public Parks and Gardens General Manager, what can you tell us about how this city is embracing green living?

Since the early 2000s, Lyon has been going above and beyond when it comes to ecological development. In 2005, we were awarded environmental standard ISO 14001 for our commitment to green living, and in 2007, we began removing agrochemical products from the market, a full ten years before they were banned by law. For over a decade, we are committed to create and manage green spaces across the city. Back in 2007, we launched an online platform where industry leaders, from landscapers and horticultural schools to the regional directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry, could share their ideas.

Can you tell us more about how you work to achieve this goal?

As I said earlier, we realized very early on how important green spaces are to urban living and health. Today, our role has expanded into teaching and informing others about how to transform the urban space. For example, during this year’s AGM, which takes place in October 2017, Hortis will be exploring the links between green spaces and improvements to public health. From transforming the city’s shipping ports and quaysides to innovative landscaping designs, Lyon is always looking for ways to remain at the forefront of environmental innovation.

Finally, what can we expect to find at Green City Days 2017?

Green City Days will take place from 6 December to 9 December 2017, during Paysalia’s annual trade show. Participants will be able to choose between ‘technical tours’ or a series of conferences centring around key themes affecting the industry.

  • The event will open December 6 with a discussion on security and safety (“Recognizing and preventing risks”), as well as guided tours dealing with health and soil regeneration.
  • On December 7, industry professionals will be giving the chance to ‘build their own future’ during a series of on-site visits, followed by a conference on improving prevention.
  • December 8 sees the launch of a themed mini-event, ‘Fête des Lumières 2017: Lyon’s green spaces meet the Festival of Lights’, with participants visiting a working pruning site in Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or. The visit is followed by a tour of the city’s famous botanic and zoological gardens, before concluding with Lyon’s iconic Festival of Light (la Fête des Lumières).
  • Finally, Green City Days wraps up December 9 with a series of events entitled: ‘Lyon, UNESCO World Heritage Site’.

The final two days of the event take place independently from Paysalia’s annual trade show. As such, participation is limited to those who have already attended at least one trade-related event, as well as public and private businesses and organizations.

Click here to find out more about Green City Days 2017.

Launched as a response to the changing needs of the landscaping industry, Paysalia’s annual trade show focuses on health, wellbeing and safety in an urban environment. Green City Days offers the industry’s leading professionals a chance to reflect on these intriguing questions in an expert environment.

With thanks to Daniel Boulens.

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in co-production with

UNEP
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Since its launch in 2009, Paysalia has been organized in co-production with UNEP which supports landscape contractors on a daily basis through its 13 regional unions. UNEP defends for the interests of businesses in the landscape and garden sector, develops social standards for the profession, and leads the creation of professional guidelines for the industry.