Project: Urbalia

Paola grew up in the Basque Country and was inspired to act on climate change at a young age by an exhibition at Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie of Paris. She studied environment, urban ecology, and urban farming at AgroParisTech, the Paris institute of technology for life, food, and environmental sciences. Whilst working at MakeSense, a world-wide organisation aiming to build an inclusive and sustainable society, she realised the power of citizen involvement and design thinking.


This project, Urbalia, aims to support city planners and designers in integrating nature. It is a consulting start-up in the fields of urban biodiversity and urban farming. Maintaining nature in the city is vital to mitigate the impacts of climate change; it is also a great tool through which to reconsider city food systems and activate regional cooperation. Paola’s goal is to build links between the goals of protecting the environment, and the development of agriculture and urban food systems. The Women4Climate program will support her in this goal, and she hopes to connect with other inspiring women committed to the fight against climate change.

Recently, Paola and her colleague Fanny Provent wrote an operational and technical guide to help urban planners, property developers and owners, local authorities to develop urban farming rooftops. Urban agriculture is spreading on cities' rooftops and terraces as a reaction of buildings co-owners who want a greener city. It is a reaction of innovative startups, associations and local authorities who encourage short food supply chains, and a reaction of urban planners, property developers, and builders who adapt their buildings to new uses.


Through the years, I realised that all the challenges we need to address are linked: climate change, biodiversity loss, restoring social cohesion… And all the changes we need to make need to start from where we live. But how can we protect the environment when we are so disconnected from it in huge, concrete cities? That’s why I started to work to help creating greener; more sustainable and resilient; and truly inclusive city thanks to nature-based solutions.

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