On the other side, the article suggests part of the disagreement with the mayor is because she is a woman. Well, that is a bad excuse, I don't think anyone has a problem with her gender.
Then it mentions the piss smell. Yes, it is there, it is terrible, but greening and piss have no relationship. There are some obvious causes for the piss smell in some neighborhoods, but they are not even mentioned because it does not match the political color of the newspaper. No comment.
But then it jumps into the Airbnb problem: while this is a real problem, it has nothing to do with "greening" the city. It should be discussed separately, not thrown in the pot and stirred just to put more words in the article or put more substance in the list of problems, even if there is no link to the subject.
As Germans would say, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. Or in this case, probably bad infrastructure. Only visited once, but Paris didn't seem to have all that many protected bike lanes and paths compared to even Munich -- which definitely still favors cars over bikes -- let alone compared to Dutch cities.
I currently work in Bucharest and the average high is higher, from May to September you have 30 degrees or more, while in the winter you have snow on the road and it is illegal to ride a bicycle. Not Finland and not Cairo (Egypt), but good enough to make cycling unpleasant.
How exactly does that help you get grip on snow and ice? Combined with less light (harder to notice bikes) and generally more rainy days, biking just isn't an all around the year thingy here in central Europe. I do try as much as possible, though. And Paris might not be as bad as well.
On the very rare day where there's enough snow on the roads to make biking impossible, just don't bike on that day. Take the subway, or work from home, or whatever.
Less light in the winter can also be addressed: put lights and reflectors on your bike and/or on your person. One can get wind-breaking bike jackets in bright, high-visibility colors, and covered in plenty of reflective material. Wicking and warming layers can be worn underneath. A well-focused, reasonably-bright-for-your-circumstances light on the front makes it easier for you to see, and also be seen. A red light on the back also helps with being seen.
It is okay-ish when you live in Paris and go work in Paris. When, like most people, you have to live outside Paris and go work there or worse: go work on some other side of Paris the public transportation system is shit.
I had no problem riding every day of the year in Paris. Loved it. The cobblestones were worse than the weather.
I'd much rather bike the same distance than walk it, in both extreme heat and extreme cold. When facing extreme heat, you get the nice breeze which cycling generates that you don't get when walking. In extreme cold, wear the right clothing and the heat generated from cycling will make you warmer than walking will.
An example, Paris has now public piss boxes on every major cross-roads to avoid people pissing in small streets so now you have smelly pissed over boxes in the highest foot traffic areas and people openly pissing there.
Good idea, poor implementation, the net value is negative i.e. the situation is worse.
So you have a woman with no track record in life in an office surrounded by other people with no track record but ticking the political, sociological boxes. And if you're 50 and you haven't built a track record of any productive work with your own resources at your own risk, you're not likely to suddenly build one with other people's resources (money) at their risk ... your incompetence is likely going to show up.
I bet all the residents who used to have pissed filled building corners consider it a net good. I caught one guy pissing in the stairwell RdC of our building. Now, there is just no excuse for that, pissoirs are plentiful.
> you have a woman with no track record in life
I get it, you simply don't like Hidalgo and that is okay. But she does have a long career in politics. It's not like she sent an applied for the Marie as a gag.
Sure, but now there are more people inconvenienced by that problem than before. So it's a net loss.
A more intelligent solution, there used to be metal instalments in Amsterdam that redirected the stream right on your pants ... it least the net value isn't negative as offenders were forced to carry some of those liquids home.
I live in Paris. I can confidently say, no, that's absolutely not true.
Do you have any example on this ? I often go to Paris on a lot of different places and I've never seen anything like this. There are public toilets but I think they are pretty similary to what you can find in every big cities in the world and definitely not open.
Only 4 of them at the time of this article though.
That's also the only example you took to prove your point of politic's "incompetence in implementing nice sounding ideas."
>So you have a woman with no track record in life in an office surrounded by other people with no track record but ticking the political, sociological boxes. And if you're 50 and you haven't built a track record of any productive work, you're not likely to suddenly build one with other people's money
I obviously do not follow Paris municipal politics, but why would it flow that never having help public office means you'll never be able to hold off and "build a track record"? That seems a bit circular.
When they then decide it's time to be productive the lack of competence and disparity between ideas and skills show up. You'll get the case of industrious idiot.
For such people a creative task is like a school activity with no personal risk other than bad grade ... but in reality the risk exists they play for other people's money and livelihoods. I've personally observed such tendencies and attitudes among eurocrats.
We had a good example under the last administration, with an employment minister who could even answer a basic question on how many times a duration-limited contract can be renewed (after reaching that number of times, the employer has to hire with a non-duration-limited contract (CDD => CDI)). And that's the people who are writing the work code!
I think parent is complaining about the ones that are just for men to urinate into (hrmmm, seems like those were never brought back).
Now I'm confused. The public toilets shouldn't smell from outside.
You're talking about the (finally free to use) public toilets. They're great, but just not enough imo: 400 in total with 75% closing late in the night.
While the article only tangentially talks about micromobility vehicles, the core argument of this article is the creation of infrastructure that enables micromobility.
I just spent yesterday walking through parts of Brooklyn and Queens in NYC (14 miles, 33K steps - a record for me). I saw people actually talking to each other on the street, and based on my deliberate route, very little traffic. That's a stark contrast to my usual suburban lifestyle on the eastside in Seattle.
I really hope to see more infrastructure creation happening in the US. It will likely need to start in dense places like NYC with good transit infrastructure.
What's the pro-auto solution to the traffic jams and pollution? You can't physically fit more cars in the space. Bikes, scooters and public transit are all so much more efficient and truly practical for city transportation that it feels hard to argue with.
There isn’t really much “tech” there, just a small subway tunnel with car-sized cabs instead of trains. Personal rapid transit systems have already been demonstrated decades ago and there isn’t really reason to believe they could be cost-effective at replacing personal car use.
Let’s not pretend that transit can solve for the needs of every single city resident. If the city has any ambition to be a melting pot for all, it needs to allow everyone to coexist. Some people will choose to drive, others will take transit, but to push one group out in favor of another will leave the city a hollowed out core once again... just like it was before the urban renaissance which began in the 1990s.
PS: If your main objection to cars is pollution, we’ll mosey on over to electric cars as soon as charging infrastructure gets off the ground. There’s only a smattering of Teslas in Manhattan, but soon enough there will be enough charging stations to get our gas guzzlers off the road for good.
Which is an excellent argument for public transport, the point of it is to serve everyone rather than those who can afford to own and run a car and those how have the ability to drive.
I can't comment to NYC public transit but there are plenty of cities around the world with reliable and effecient public transport, don't write it off completely because NYC's is subpar. The idea is not to ban cars completely but to make taking alternatives easier and better than taking a car, in doing that we need to divert some of the money and land that cars have historically dominated.
I'm certainly not writing off public transit as a concept. I'd love to be able to step out of my building, step into a magical conveyance that I didn't have to drive myself, and step out next to my destination.
It's great that other cities managed to solve this problem, but I don't live in those other cities. Yes, NYC could right itself, and build more subway/tram/BRT lines, but this tends to take forever. I need to get places now. My life won't wait for the city to sort itself out.
And the thing about driving is, the city is simply too dense for everyone to do it. Everyone actually cannot choose to drive; there's simply not enough room to do so. And the same amount of street space can serve way more people as sidewalk, bike lane, and bus lane as it can travel lane for single occupancy vehicles, so we need to prioritize the former and deprioritize the latter. See e.g. the 8th Ave redesign by Penn Station: https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/8th-ave-cb4-jun2...
In particular, pay attention to page 9, which shows that 85% of the users of the space are pedestrians, yet 70% of it was given to vehicles. If more of those 85% of people "chose" to walk, it'd be complete standstill gridlock for hours long. Hell, it was already close to that bad already with just 15% of users driving.
They aren't banning cars in the city, just slightly deprioritizing them in favor of other modes of transport on certain routes. That's what it means to allow different modes of transport to "coexist". The fact that you equate building 200 miles of bike lanes to "pushing drivers out" when tens of thousands of miles of road already exist for cars says something about the entitlement complex that you and your fellow drivers possess.
I haven't actually said that, so please don't put words in my mouth. I myself am an "intermodal" traveler, in that I do use bikes when I travel solo; I simply can't transport my 11 year old daughter by bike with two backpacks. I'm in favor of installing more bike lanes, as these tend to get cyclists out of the way of cars. Mixing slow cyclists with fast cars couldn't have been a worse idea, so shunting the two modes of traffic into separate spaces makes a lot of sense for us drivers. Likewise, when I ride a bike, I find myself relaxing more in a dedicated lane than when I'm forced to weave between cars to get anywhere.
How Parisians use e-scooters is going to give you a heart attack.
I have a folding scooter that I take with me on buses and trains here in Munich, and while it's certainly dorky, it's also super useful.
This reminds me of the London Underground. It really seems like no matter where you are in London it is going to take roughly 40-60 minutes to get from A to B.
How often do you meet people in the town centre because it is the only place you can both get to by public transport?
> And how will that fix plastic pollution you leave everywhere from the tires on your car?
You literally just found out about this with the rest of us. Buses and bicycles are afflicted by the same problem, since tire technology is the same everywhere. I’m sure a new material can be found; there’s no need to forever condemn ground transport just because the current implementation of tires is faulty.
Glad to see they're realizing those things.
People should never forget how the car industry lobbied so that cars own most of the street. Biking and walking have become marginal things. How often do you realize you can't go from point A to B because it's impossible to street walk anymore? I've walked around cities many times, and I could not go in a direction because of how roads could not be crossed.
The "1-person car " meme is a real, real problem. Most people think that driving is a right, but we soon realize it's more a privilege and a source of problems.
There were nearly 1400 serious injuries to pedestrians in 2017, 250 of which were children . That means life altering injuries, like losing a limb. If you compound that with the health effects of air pollution, the only conclusion is that cars are disastrous in cities. Worse, most of these cars aren’t local and the majority of locals take public transit. So it’s a minority of people inflicting their personal convenience on everyone else. If you complain about this in public, you are seen as a crazy person.
I wish to go back there someday, especially if it gets greener.
Already, it is pretty easy to commute around Paris without a car in most cases. I actually had to buy a last mile vehicle only when I arrived in the USA.
If a large city gets serious about banning/severely restricting car presence, I would immediately consider moving there.
That will give me a good reason to learn Spanish :)
On the flip side, I keep hearing about some software companies opening development centers in southern Spain, so check out job offers around Malaga, if you are really interested in the Mediterranean thing.
Never. Literally never. I live in a European city though.
In the City I live in there are literally no cases where I can't walk if I have time and inclination. Norway has taken a different approach to city planning to the US.
Case in point, here's a 30 minute walk (5 minutes by car) for someone to literally cross the road in Oslo: https://goo.gl/maps/PFTnTrprKjiDrE7y8
Sure you can walk that if you have time & inclination, but unless you're willing to spend an hour just on crossing the street you're going to drive there.
This wasn't even hard to find, I just zoomed in pretty much the first freeway in the Oslo area I could find and saw what it would take to cross it for someone living on the other side.
Nobody is talking about banning cars from areas like that, just from the city center.
That's shitty planning. I've never seen such a place in Europe.
This sort of thing exists in Europe too, try walking out of an airport sometime, you can in some countries, but e.g. in Malaga I had to run across a highway because there was literally no way to get out of there otherwise, there simply aren't any footpaths.
Please stop with the conspiracy stories. I hate cars more than anyone, but all this "Big Auto" stuff just discredits the entire thing as a bunch of fanatics.
The idea that everyone hated cars and the evil car lobby came in and forced it upon them is flat out incorrect.
This idea is not present in the article and is a wild exaggeration of your own.
What the auto industry accomplished was to push the government to favor cars to the eventual exclusion of almost every other form of transit.
Even if people didn't hate cars, this still wasn't a fair fight in an open market. It was an industry co-opting consumer and voter power.
Even Paris discussed in TFA is 10 times better than 99% of American cities... and most of European cities are even better walkability wise...
It's also, and that's totally real and extremely common, big business interests, politicians, etc, working together to further their profits in covert ways, with under the table deals, bribes, trusts, price fixing, and several other ways...
Ever head of "conspiracy to commit fraud"? The real courts punish tons of cases of very real conspiracies every year...
Just because you've been conditioned by pop culture to associate conspiracies with aliens and illuminati and crazy people, doesn't mean actual conspiracies involving big car lobbies, big petrol, big pharma, big food, etc, don't happen every day...
Adam Ruins Everything - Why Jaywalking Is a Crime
To spell it out, the alternative theory is that maybe cars won fair and square.
There is always lobbying in all directions. That doesn't mean it's always the decisive factor when something that was lobbied for won.
And their municipal bike-sharing system probably won't survive the triple whammy of drop-bikes, e-scooters and a contract change.
My prediction is it wont go away because :
- too much branding associated, velib = Paris
- too much (taxpayer) money invested. Competitors are X5 in prices due to muncipal money distortion.
Still, at 0,20€ / minute on Lime, that's the same price as five half-hour Lime rides.
This has more to do with Uber than a war on the car. If you thought your taxis were bad, Paris' were worse.
It feels weird to the rest of us, living outside Paris, to see so much media noise over 500 m of asphalt...
Having lived in Paris for 4 years (and I guess I could be accused of being a bobo since I am an engineer and I care about mitigating climate change), I wonder what the situation of these 35% is.
I sold my car as soon as I moved in Paris. The subway is just as efficient in almost all cases without having to drive.
And driving in Paris is just the worst..
Easy. Live in Paris, work in the Banlieue somewhere inconvenient to an RER station...
I do know that there are cases where you still need a car.
I did dig up some info : https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/1285604
Interestingly, it looks like the current mayor is just pushing the city in the direction where it is already going.
>“There are fewer cars, but there is more congestion, and that can affect pollution levels,” said Paul Lecroart, an urban planning expert at the Paris regional planning agency.
I think this is what makes people angry. There is no evidence that this actually reduced pollution, in fact, it seems like it increased pollution. In addition, it has greatly inconvenienced a lot of people. So, unless you are a die-hard bike fan, this mayor’s program seems like a net negative to you.
I've been a "die-hard bike fan" for a few years now (living in Paris for 10+ years, but commuting with bikes for only the last 2-3). However, most of my friends (especially girls/women) are only now considering buying a bike because the infrastructure is just starting to look safe enough for "prudent" people
That's why bike usage rising fast in Paris. But it will still takes a few more years to switch like Amsterdam.
Of course, many are still riding Ubers but they're changing mind right now. Be patient.
The job of elected officials is not to please everyone. The job of elected officials is to improve stuff, and leave the region in a better state than when they came into office.
In the coming years and decades we're going to need a lot of elected officials to "make enemies" as they work hard to improve the unsustainable world we've built.
This is basically a PR piece. The mayor has enemies because of the attrocities she inflict on parisian citizens ie: http://belairsud.blogspirit.com/archive/2016/04/03/du-style-...
All of this while tripling the deficit and turning some districts into crackheads theme parks (you can google "la colline du crack").
Several other miscelanous issues:
- rat problem
- bad planing in street renovation projects causing huge jams (and thus polution spikes...)
So she now plays the victim cards saying her vocal opponnents are nasty car addicts. And some people believe it.
well breathing clean air and not cooking the planet is about as non-subjective as it gets. We're not really talking about sophisticated moral quandaries here, the bar for improvement in our societies is actually surprisingly low.
Not having everyone of the billions of people living in our cities carry around two tons of steel wherever they go ought to appeal to anyone who can do a bit of napkin math about energy consumption.
Elected officials doing whatever people tell them like a sort of walking strawpoll is a nice fiction but at the end of the day letting the inmates run the asylum is a bad idea. If we want to make necessary improvements it's going to come at the cost of going against the often short-sighted interests of citizens.
Again I think it's important to state that this isn't the case for all issues. On many fronts majority opinion may be useful, but on some issues it's glaringly obvious that people are unwilling to bear the costs for their lifestyle, and ignore the long-term harm they cause.
In fact there's another democratic majority that is completely ignored by this appeal to the people, and that is future citizens. As Chesteron once said about the dead
“Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.” Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death."
I think more importantly than the dead are the countless of people who have to live with the mess we've left for them and in which they didn't have a say.
She didn’t decide. She said what she wanted to do and then the city elected her. The city decided.
This will still happen -- on every issue -- if you have pure direct democracy on every issue. It's not a problem that direct democracy improves or even addresses.
> The Greening of Paris Makes Its Mayor Make More Than a Few Enemies
It costs a lot of fuel to keep a large apartment comfortable. So your typical American, 800sqft, 1/1 simply would not work in Paris. Micro-apartments are just becoming a thing in the US and even then there is a lot of pushback from inhabitants and developers.
Finally, Paris sits in a valley. The trees aren't just an aesthetic, they help keep the inhabitants sane and clear the air. New York City on the other hand turns into a miserable, swamp during the summer. It's hot, humid, and with no breeze the air actually feels gross.
Paris’ density is from the lack of building: instead units just get sub divided ad finitum, instead of building up. Still, density isn’t high, it just feels that way, especially with Paris proper's small size: not even 2 Manhattans.
Then you have larger units 95% unoccupied kept as pied-a-terres/investments.
Those Haussmann buildings don’t do a good job of insulating or HVAC. Even 1970s multiunit buildings in the burbs are all single-pane windows with cracks to the outside.
When you have a weak radiator-based central heating system, you don’t dare turn it down or off when you leave: your unit may never recover and be warm again.
Meanwhile in North America, I turn off HVAC whenever I leave for a few hours: I know it can get back to human temperatures quickly.
Though the French do a good job in summer: every window has shutters, so you can block out the sun very well.
Some of my darkest days have been in Paris in summer because my hosts kept the indoors in total darkness :)
That's factually incorrect. And even assuming that it isn't how do you propose to deal with even more people in the capital when all the streets are gridlocked at rush hour and the public transportation is more than saturated? Are you seriously proposing that we raze the city and rebuild it New York style? I mean I suppose Haussmann sort of did that but I think it would be quite a loss to do it again now.
I think it's much better to work on decentralization and developing other French cities. We're not Singapore, Monaco or Honk Kong, we don't need to fit everybody in the same metropolis.
>Paris isn’t very breezy at ground level because the streets are all short and keep turning.
I don't even feel like digging into this frankly absurd take (and again, are you proposing that we simply rebuild the city as a grid?) but it's also clearly not the only factor at play. Yew York is near the ocean, meanwhile Paris is in an inland basin which usually gets very little wind. Maybe very high rises could get above the smog at the top levels but would that really solve the problem?
>Those Haussmann buildings don’t do a good job of insulating or HVAC. Even 1970s multiunit buildings in the burbs are all single-pane windows with cracks to the outside.
>When you have a weak radiator-based central heating system, you don’t dare turn it down or off when you leave: your unit may never recover and be warm again.
That much is true, many buildings in Paris are very old and have terrible isolation (on every level).
> I don't even feel like digging into this frankly absurd take.
Microclimates are a thing. If you're ever in NYC/Boston/$NE_City/Toronto/Montreal in January/February, you won't forget arctic winds compressed through small passages.
Maybe the metro/RER is saturated at rush hour, but I can assure you there is plenty of capacity left when you look at the whole picture. And you can always run more buses and create an environment that makes them fast through signal pre-emption, bus-only lanes/roads/hours, frequent runs, express buses, etc. A bus system can never be saturated unless they're running bumper to bumper.
And work on the demand side: Work-From-Home, compressed work weeks, staggered schedules and not forcing people to take vacation in the same month.
If you won't change supply, the goal should be to reduce transit demand, not increase it.
Finally, tabulate how much a new metro line costs. Send inspectors to every workplace with more than X employees. If it appears that any of the above could be done but isn't, send them a bill for their proportionate costs for a new metro line.
Could also send bills to employers for each employee-day they compel to arrive between 8 and 9. And/or give a discount to businesses that don't. You could achieve similar with dynamic pricing.
> That's factually incorrect.
I'm not sure that be stated as factually anything without an accepted definition of "high density" for a city. I'm not aware of one.
Those Haussmanns (actually Belle Epoch, most visitors would not recognize an Haussmann) are quite average in efficiency (~C) if they have been maintained and had the glass replaced in the last 20 years.
Those same Haussmans are individually heated. Only the modern apartments (60s,70s,80s) have central heating. And they almost all radiators have a mechanical thermostat. So I'm not sure what you mean by turning it off. The building guardian will turn on the central heat and then it's up to you to find a comfortable temperature.
> Some of my darkest days have been in Paris in summer because my hosts kept the indoors in total darkness :)
Ahh, here we agree. My last flat we left the shutters closed until sunset. Then when we did open them the music, wine, and cigarettes came out :-)
My experience was that the radiators could maintain a temperature (with some prayer), but don't pump out a lot of heat. I still disdain the mechanical thermostats: you have to turn them up and down as the outside temperatures/sun/winds change.
It didn't help that my hosts put things in front of the radiators, preventing them from radiating.
> Then when we did open them the music, wine, and cigarettes came out
That didn't stop my hosts!
Our apartment, a 60s era building, had central heating. It put out plenty of heat. I would say far too much heat. We ran into the problem that central heating isn't distributed evenly. Some apartments get lots of heat and some get far too little. Apartments at the top and near the bottom floors were the worst. We've actually had to crack the windows during the winter or we would have roasted.
> It didn't help that my hosts put things in front of the radiators,
I assume they were using them to dry clothes? If that is the case we are also guilty of this as well. Clothes dryers still aren't common in the city. It appears the problem wasn't central heating but your hosts.
Radiators don't pump out heat they radiate it. I would bet the building pipes weren't being maintained nor were the radiators. Paris water is really hard. If you don't descale them regularly the pipes will get blocked with lime. And it is really evident when water comes out in a trickle.
At least I would aim a fan at it to actually heat a room.
Then those people move to North America and set the thermostat to 29C thinking it’ll make it warmer faster. It won’t.
Manhattan: 60km2. Density: 26k/km2, and that's with a bias toward commercial buildings.
NYC: 783km2. Density 10.7k/km2.
Compare apples to apples please.
Also Paris is small but it's not like it's rolling fields as soon as you cross the Périphérique. Many of the suburbs have densities as high, and sometimes higher, than the capital itself. I wish I could compare the densities of NYC and Paris+suburbs but I can't find the numbers for that. All I could find was a density of ~1k/km2 for the entire région but that's 12000km2 so it's not a very good "apples to apples" comparison.
Most of NYC is 30000/km2 to 20000/km2
http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/largest-cities-density-... (this one puts Paris pretty far down but as Hong Kong is not on the list it's pretty suspect)
Also see animation showing Hong Kong density dwarfs cities like even Manilla and Mumbai which are clearly much much more dense than Paris
Manhattan - 33.58 mi2 (87km2)
- 72,918/mi2 (28,154/km2)
Paris - 40.7 mi2 (105.4km2)
Meanwhile the five boroughs are 468.484 mi2 (1213.7km2), so literally an order of magnitude larger than Paris as a whole.
Keep the height restrictions inside of the city and continue to keep high rises near La Défense and serve them with efficient and effective mass transit.
Go visit Hong Kong and you'll see it's easily 5x as dense as Paris. Maybe more. The same is true of many other cities in Asia. Visit and you'll realize the stats that show Paris in the top 10 are complete BS.
The same thing comes up NYC vs LA. By the land / people they are about the same density but anyone who's been to both knows NYC is more dense than LA. Using population weight density shows NYC is up to 3x more dense than LA
With poulation weighted density Paris is not #1 in Europe
And if the same was applied world wide Paris would not even be in the top 100
Reducing car traffic also helps to improve the "climate" of the city on a hot day.
High towers cannot be put everywhere
It is true that the main limitation still is the construction code, which preserves the global proportion of the city.
I believe you can take the catacombs under Montparnasse station, so it’s a solved problem ( I hope ).
Paris does have areas which have high rise office buildings tho, it is just not the zones people know much about because they are not the touristic areas
> Paris does have areas which have high rise office buildings tho
Then maybe more buildings should be built in this area.
The problem is basically everyone thinks the solution to all of this is to buy an EV (I know I'll get a lot of hate from EV owners/fans for this one; still true for those who fit the rest of the description above) instead of seeing all the other ways with far bigger impact. Like not needing a car at all, for one. This would slowly reduce traffic to the point where cutting a lane doesn't cause any severe inconvenience.
While these low density suburbs definitely provide more comfort for their inhabitants much like cars provide comfort for their drivers, it's a very inefficient use of that land to everyone else's disadvantage and guarantees those people have to drive to the city. Public transport wouldn't be anywhere near as efficient when you start spreading tens of Km from the city in every direction.
And there are far bigger offenders out there like in this random pic. 
> they never have to water the lawn
That sounds like an anecdote but I drove through plenty of suburbs (Paris or otherwise) and most lawns were green even after heatwaves and droughts. I'm pretty sure so many still generously water their lawns. Pools just add to that.