Since the early 2000s, the city of Paris has launched several greening initiatives with the scope of, among many, strengthening its green infrastructure (henceforth, GI). With the support of the municipality, citizens actively participate in this transformation, for instance by reactivating and managing former wasteland sites, making the streets blossom, covering walls and roofs with plants and creating new micro-ecosystems.

But what is their impact? Citizens engaged in selected participatory initiatives along the local GI have been questioned and interviewed to find out more about their projects.

Citizens – either alone, in small groups, organised in local associations, start-ups or companies – act for different reasons and do not always know the concept of GI. Questionnaire respondents value their project first of all because it improves their living environment, but also because it facilitates reconnecting with nature and promotes biodiversity. However, their actions are not coordinated as to effectively reinforce GI. In other words, people’s projects spread everywhere and not particularly where they are most needed.

Through the revision of local planning and policy documents, as well as interviews with key actors, this work also highlights contradictions between definition, strategies, maps and meanings of the GI in Paris. Some recommendations are provided to expand the ecological and public GI of today into a veritable multifunctional GI through multidisciplinary and participatory approaches.