Paris hopes Summer Olympics will change city forever

The so-called eco-district is built primarily with recycled materials, low-carbon wood and glass and runs on geothermal and solar energy. In addition to economically and environmentally sustainable accommodation, the village will provide locals with 17 acres of green space, new bike paths, residential offices, around 30 shops, a daycare center and student accommodation.

Additionally, funds flowing in from both public and private investment have made possible the renovation of two local schools in Saint-Ouen, as well as the renovation of existing swimming pools throughout the nearby town. In addition to the new aquatics centre, two temporary pools that were used at the Paris-La Défense arena for Olympic competitions and warm-ups will be relocated to Seine-Saint-Denis in the months after the Olympics. The pools, constructed with a modular wall system using stainless steel and white laminated PVC surfaces, will be repurposed for residents, sports clubs and students.

“Practically, this means building infrastructure in the regions of France that have the fewest community facilities, where 50 percent of children entering secondary school can't swim,” said Tania Braga, head of the IOC's legacy department. With support from Paris 2024, the French Ministry of National Education has also launched a daily 30-minute physical activity program in more than 1,000 primary schools across France.

Saint-Ouen's mayor, Karim Bouamlan, sees the Olympics as a catalyst for change that would otherwise have taken decades to achieve: “Seine-Saint-Denis is the poorest department in France and is chronically under-resourced in terms of public services and sports infrastructure, making it difficult to inspire hope in new generations. The Olympics will strengthen our ability to foster that hope.”

Olympics-related investment in the neighborhood is also indirectly attracting commercial development to the area: Tesla is relocating its French headquarters to Saint-Ouen, Tony Parker's Adequa Academy is opening a site nearby, and the new Saint-Ouen Grand Paris Nord Teaching Hospital is due to welcome its first students by 2028. The H4 Hotel Wyndham Paris Pleyel Resort, a four-star, 700-room megahotel in La Tour Pleyel, Seine-Saint-Denis' tallest skyscraper, will open on July 8 with a rooftop bar, pool and 16 different event rooms, targeting business travelers and corporate conventions.

Saint-Denis mayor Mathieu Anotan sees the hotel project as part of a broader municipal strategy to put the Pleyel district, as it is affectionately known, on the tourist map. “This new positioning will [new] “With the metro and the Olympics, we will be able to establish ourselves in the Paris ecosystem,” Anotan told Le Monde.

Images may include city architecture, office buildings, condominiums, homes, urban apartments, skyscrapers, etc.

The Olympic Village, a 128-acre site built on former industrial land surrounding three towns along the Seine, is set to be transformed by the end of 2025 into 2,800 affordable homes, 25 percent of which will be set aside for social housing.

Jean-Baptiste Griat/City of Paris

Can Paris deliver the most sustainable Olympic Games ever?

Local development and the Olympics' wider sustainability ambitions, including cutting carbon emissions in half compared to past Games in London and Rio, sound great on paper, but whether Paris 2024 lives up to its ambitious title of the most sustainable Olympics ever will depend largely on what happens after all the delegates go home.

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