Innovation - July 2016

Published on by Celine Junius Gombert - updated on

Smart cites

The concept of the smart city seeks to resolve social, cultural and environmental concerns with a participatory aspect for citizens, companies and regional authorities.

What defines a smart city ?

According to Rudolf Giffinger, an expert in analytical research on urban and regional development at Vienna University of Technology; it is a city with: a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living and smart governance.

How do the cities we know become smart cities?

  • In terms of transportation and mobility: one of the challenges involves the integration of various modes of transportation – rail, driving, cycling and walking to reduce environmental impact. Consequently, city dwellers will be offered a variety of electric mobility solutions that meet all their needs.
  • In terms of sustainable environment: cities must take action on waste (reduction, elimination, implementation of effective waste recovery and collection systems) and energy (development of low-energy street lighting, local energy production)
  • In terms of responsible urbanisation and accommodation: by reinventing urban forms which simultaneously maintain essential privacy, ensure sufficient sunlight, enable developments and encourage peaceful coexistence. The buildings should also be smarter in order to facilitate and improve energy management, or even reduce consumption.

What are the challenges of this transformation?

The number of stakeholders! The city is, therefore, the place of integration for stakeholders and multiple and interdependent systems.

Because all stakeholders do not assess the contribution made by digital tools and because the approach is not always global, the initiative is now, after the enthusiasm of 2010, almost moving in slow motion.

Yet in France, the number of third places dedicated to tests for innovative uses of cities is growing: Paris with Numa, Lyon with Tuba, Aire 38 LBA in Nantes.

At a European and worldwide level, platforms for exchanging good practice and reflections on smart cities have been established: World Smart City forum for the UN, European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities for the European Union.

The world’s top 5 smart cities

1 – Singapore (programme launched in 2014 by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong)

2- Barcelona

3 – London (initiative launched in 2014 with a smart car park in Westminster)

4 – San Francisco (programme launched in 2011 with SFpark)

5 – Oslo (considered one of the world’s smartest cities)

For more information, visit the complete explanations here on 

What is our role in all this?

Citizens are key stakeholders in smart cities because, as Guillaume Buffet (founder and President of U - a digital transformation platform) says:

« Pressure from citizens on social networks has increasing impact. Service users are no longer simply users but they become stakeholders. In the future, with blockchain, large organisations will risk being bettered by their users if their services are not up to standard »

Here is Charlotte’s dream about what cities of the future, her city, could be (content in English):

For more information

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