Paris is a city of more than 400 gardens, and CityGardens is a smartphone app born from a walk in one of those parks. While out on a family gathering at the Buttes Chaumonts park in Paris, app co-founder Philippe Pujau says he had a spark of inspiration. He wanted to include information for different people who use green spaces and parks--from the little girl who is in search of playgrounds to a tourist who needs a bathroom.
New Cities Foundation, a global platform for innovation and exchange on the future of urbanization, selected CityGardens as the winner of the AppMyCity! Prize at the inaugural New Cities Summit held in Paris a few weeks ago. The app works for both tourists and natives to the city. It guides users to parks and gardens closest to their geolocation and helps them discover and share areas of unexpected greenery in their neighborhood.
Pujau and co-founder Eric Boisselier, the developers of CityGardens, will use the 5,000 Euros prize to further develop the app. “We hope to provide an opportunity for urban full advantage of this rich and misunderstood heritage,” says Pujau.
“Paris has 440 parks and gardens, which works out to an average of five parks within 500 meters around each Parisian. In many of them you can find play areas for children, water points, WiFi hotspots and entertainment.” In addition, many parks have long and storied histories that reveal something about the context of the neighborhood, say the founders. The app would help spread that information.
The app was designed to be as simple as possible. The creators harnessed smartphones’ geolocation abilities, so users can easily find parks. Once in the park, people are also informed of geo-tagged places, operating times and other practical details.
With the prize money, Pujau and Boisselier plan to improve the app. They say they’ll set up a way to navigate by geographic location, neighborhoods, and from a specific address. They are making the application a privileged channel of communication about events happening in parks and gardens, summer concerts, and exhibitions. The French Ministry of Culture organized an event called the “Rendez Vous aux Jardins” over the past few days. The app helped inform people and let them know details for the event’s programs. The app will soon be available on platforms outside of the iPhone, and they also plan to expand the scope of the application to the whole of France and then abroad to other garden-filled countries, like this one