Paris Vox – In the wake of the future Grand-Paris Express public transport network, the French capital is constantly reinventing itself. And to simply reinvent the city. Through digitalization and innovative projects, Paris is experimenting with a wide range of new approaches, and is paving the way towards zero carbon.
Paris is not only the most beautiful city in the world. It is also one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the world, according to the Finom ranking : ranked 8e in the Top100, it is second only to London in Europe (4e) and by the unmissable American cities (San Francisco or New York) and Asian cities (Tokyo or Shanghai). And the years to come could well allow the French capital to climb even higher in this ranking. Because on the ground, Paris is indeed experiencing several technological and organizational revolutions, without common measure.
The GPE, a locomotive in more ways than one
The Paris region is changing rapidly: Greater Paris, with its future public transport network called Grand Paris Express (GPE), is the most telling example. The largest construction site in Europe – and certainly the construction site of the century in France – involves a great deal of know-how and has also generated numerous innovations, all linked to sustainable development. This is particularly the case in the construction sector, with all the major French companies being involved. ” In 2019-2020, for example, we developed fiber-reinforced concrete [ndlr : qui réduit par deux la quantité d’acier utilisée] as part of the GPE, Advance Christian Clergueat the time Director of the Materials Representation Innovation Department at Eiffage Génie Civil. We have succeeded in having this fiber-reinforced concrete validated in industrial production and in application. This is an important subject because there was no specific outline for this technique and for the application to segments intended for tunnels. It was a first in France. » Eiffage’s strategy now revolves around the low carbon, eco-design and preservation of biodiversity : “Our strategic plan is based on three points: ecological transition, innovation and digital transition, explains Valérie David, Director of Sustainable Development and Cross-functional Innovation. We must be proactive in this area because our businesses have an impact on the territory and the climate emergency requires us to act here and now, and to reduce emissions across the entire value chain. The construction industry is changing. »
In the wake of eco-design and the completion of major works, new urban centers are currently emerging from the ground around the 68 new GPE stations and will play their role in the territorial rebalancing of the region. With this in mind, many companies have drawn their innovative ideas or relied on flourishing start-ups. Also involved in the GPE, Demathieu Bard has thus developed the circular economy around its activities thanks to the start-up Cycle Up, for the reuse of deconstruction materials, including in its hyper tourist areas. ” We joined the CircoLab programexplains Jonathan Chemouil, director of technical innovation for the group, from which we obtained the label dedicated to ‘pilot operations’ with the major restructuring for all trades in Paris of the office and retail building at 100, avenue des Champs-Elysées, delivered last February. The company is also involved in the construction of the media village for the 2024 Olympic Games, for which it is experimenting with wood-concrete mixes.
The new, smarter city
The city of tomorrow will also be smart. Promised since 2000, the “smart city” is taking on its full meaning. This “intelligence” is mainly based on the digitization of many services and functions, with a dual purpose: to give inhabitants their full place and to decarbonize human activity as much as possible, knowing that, by 2050, 70% of the population live in urban areas. As France has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the objective of decarbonization has become the alpha and omega for public authorities as well as for the business world. So there are no more alternatives: digital must play its full role. ” The digital sector represents 3% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsunderlines Prune Esquerre, responsible for the Digital community and environmental transition at Idate Digiworld. With IT for Green, it’s the opposite: it’s digital technology that will help decarbonize cities. We are going to have to go from 10 tonnes of emissions per person to 6 in 2030 and 2 in 2050. ” L’It for Green indeed promises new organizations for companies in the Ile-de-France region with, as objective nº1, the reduction of energy consumption.
This digital intelligence at the service of the preservation of the environment will be translated in a transverse way, in particular thanks to telecommunications. All the major French operators are developing what will be the networks of tomorrow based on 5G which consumes eight times less energy than 4G. According to Emmanuel Pugliesi, CEO of SFR Business, 5G is a “ lever to develop the smart city by obtaining better traffic control with the deployment of sensors to measure nitrogen dioxide “. The uses of digitalization are legion, and still promise many developments. ” In five years, virtual twins, robots and artificial intelligence will develop rapidlyassures Franck Bouétard, CEO of Ericsson France. In France, some manufacturers will have automated 90% of their processes in ten years. »
If it still stirs up some fantasies, artificial intelligence alone is an inexhaustible source of innovations for urban life. Many start-ups are working in this direction. Tactis, a consulting firm in digital planning, is for example convinced that digitalization will make it possible to ” build a transversal and shared infrastructure which will aim to disrupt the connectivity of the territory”, as explained by Benjamin Fradelle, associate director at Tactis. This connectivity will be based on all existing networks, wired, optical or wireless, thanks to sensors and objects connected via data centers. The applications of this connectivity are numerous, especially in the field of public lighting and light signaling. Last November, for example, Citelum (EDF group) and Eiffage Énergie Systèmes signed a 10-year contract worth 700 million euros with the Paris conurbation for the renewal of light sources (LED technology), but above all for their control. And, aimed at the general public, these major groups also offer solutions for better living in the city of tomorrow, such as thePhosphoreCity app : users can discover the main directions of sustainable development as well as tips for better adapting their uses to eco-mobility and energy savings.
In this redesigned urban space, logistics will also play a major role. Here too, French entrepreneurs are jostling, projects are developing, for the transport of goods for example. According to the APUR association (Parisian urban planning workshop), ” logistics, essential to the functioning of the city, is a sector in full development and is at the heart of current issues: development of e-commerce, scarcity of land in dense areas, reduction of the environmental impact of the transport of goods and merchandise and modal shift. The organization of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games represents an incomparable logistical challenge which must be integrated into this context and into an inhabited and active metropolis. “. The APUR offers several lines of work, such as mobile and temporary storage, modal shifts to river and rail, or cyclo-logistics for the last mile. Some are even working on drone logistics, such as the Hardis group which is developing, together with the two start-ups Squadrone System and Darwin Drones, its inventory drone Eyesee.
From the Grand-Paris Express construction site of the century to new technologies for the service sector and the 2024 Olympics, Paris – which was designated “Capital of Innovation” in 2017 – and its region are in the process of taking over new. With an air of science fiction, the lives of Ile-de-France residents will indeed change in the next ten years.
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Paris, innovative capital – ParisVox
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