Our Tier 1 cities - 



Adaptation development

The City of Paris, the regional government of Ile-de-France and a number of public and private actors are active in designing and contributing to plans in which adaptation and critical infrastructure protection play a role.

The City of Paris adopted its Adaptation Roadmap, an annex of Paris Climate and Energy Action Plan, in September 2015. The four main targets of this Strategy are: 

1. Protect Parisians against extreme climate events
2. Ensure the supply of water, food and energy
3. Live with climate change: more sustainable city planning
4. Foster new lifestyles and boost solidarity

Within these four main parts, the Adaptation Strategy has stipulated 30 objectives, which are underlined by 35 actions. Some of these 30 objectives are, for example:

  • Facilitate access to refreshing areas in the summer
  • Cool off the city during peak temperatures
  • Manage the amount of water consumed
  • Enhance free access to drinking water in public spaces
  • Turn 33 hectares into spaces for urban agriculture in Paris by 2020
  • By 2020, no Parisian more than a 7-minute walk from a place to relax with water or greenery
  • Conduct a vast greening programme to cool the city
  • Develop alternative storm and rainwater management 
  • Integrate adaptation recommendations into urban regulations

Parisian context

Paris is one of Europe’s largest cities by population, and one of Europe’s smallest capitals in terms of area. At only 105 km2 in size, it is one of the densest cities in the world and has grown continuously in recent decades. While this growth will continue in the wider Ile-de France region, the population of the City of Paris is predicted to stagnate or show a slow increase up to 10% by 2050.



Like in many dynamic European and international, capital cities, the majority of the City of Paris’ population is between 25 and 39 years old. Paris has a high birth rate and attracts many young people to study and work, but also has a large elderly population, which could be attributed to its high life expectancy.



Paris has around 1.32 million housing units. The city is planning to retrofit 55,000 social housing units by 2020 to make the housing stock more energy efficient and keep buildings cooler in summer and better insulated in winter. Significant numbers of new housing units are planned to be built in the next decade including 7,000 new homes for social housing in Paris. It is necessary to keep climate change impacts in mind in order to protect this (critical) infrastructure from disruption and damage.



Paris’ GVA was around €549,000 million in 2012 across the Ile-de-France region. In the same year, the regional economy grew at an annual rate of 0.3%. The services sector is the largest employer, and almost 439,000 people are employed in public administration. The biggest employers thereafter are in the scientific, technical and administrative support services; commercial, transport and logistical services as well as in finance, insurance and real estate services.



Cars are becoming less important as a mode of transport in the city, like in other major European cities. In inner Paris, over half of the inhabitants walk or cycle and around a third take public transport.


Adaptation challenges

Finding sustainable means of cooling

The City of Paris during heat wave episodes to protect its citizens, particularly vulnerable social groups. Based on climatic projections, longer and more frequent heat waves will probably occur. Therefore refreshment will be the challenge, particularly for vulnerable people.

Protecting the City of Paris against flood risk

A major river flood in Paris would have important socio-economic impacts in the urban area and even in France and Europe. Punctual floods are on the other hand expected as a result of more intense rainfall events.

Promoting the local production of energy and food supply

This challenge is becoming increasingly important in light of the risk of resource scarcity.

Preparing for future droughts and related water scarcity, on the longer term


Critical infrastructure protection challenges

Establishing Continuity of Activity Plans

These will ensure that all basic services and infrastructures continue to work in the wake of an emergency or disaster. 

Being aware of and limiting dependencies

Dependencies amongst stakeholders and urban networks need to be taken into account when working on critical infrastructure protection. These dependencies must be known in order to minimize cascading failures in case of a crisis.

Promoting coordination

Coordination is needed between all relevant municipal and private stakeholders as well as network operators. 



Adaptation opportunities

Reviewing current efforts

Efforts implemented so far include greening by planting, use of specific cooling materials and insulating buildings. Such efforts can be further developed, integrated and streamlined into the overall Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Adaptation measures

Although the Paris Adaptation Strategy has only been adopted for a year, the City of Paris is already implementing measures. Amongst the activities underway are for example:

  • Public space greening by inhabitants authorised by “Green Licences”
  • Use of non-drinkable water for watering parks and for cleaning the streets
  • Urban agriculture
  • Installation of passive cooling solutions in Paris’s buildings
  • Implementation of the Heat Wave Plan

When it comes to protecting the City of Paris’ critical infrastructure, each network operator and urban service provider has its own protection strategy in case of a flood event. Depending on the type of network or service, measures can be the following:

  • Protecting key technical facilities from water
  • Sheltering movable critical equipment
  • Halt the supply of services 

After the heat wave of 2003 a registration system named “Chalex” was created, for which people vulnerable to increased temperatures and heat stress can register upfront. After registering, people vulnerable to heat are contacted by telephone every two days during a heat wave by a mandated telecom operator. If needed, the city can collect people to bring them to a cooler environment in times of heat stress. In 2015, around 100 people were relocated. 

Paris's needs

1) for improving adaptation efforts

  • Sound data availability
  • Better forecasts of extreme weather events
  • Improved knowledge
  • Higher budget

2) for improving critical infrastructure protection

  • Improvement of knowledge
  • Improvement of knowledge regarding human resources
  • Higher budget
  • Better coordination amongst stakeholders