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“Cities are the lever for innovation” – Valentine Agid-Durudaud

Sustainable mobility
07/12/2014

Cities, territories and mobility, such are the areas of intervention of Valentine Agid-Durudaud within the Innovation management of GDF SUEZ. On the occasion of the Innovation Day -on November 6, 2014 – she disclosed her reflexions on the challenges of innovations serving cities.

Cities are often subject to heavy constraints linked to a massive influx of new inhabitants and a scarcity of resources. More than one person out of two now lives in a city, a movement that foresees 19 megalopolises with more than 10 million inhabitants by 2020. Other main tendencies are observed whatever the country:

1.The role of local authorities is reinforced compared to that of central governments. This is clearly evidenced in the spread of initiatives led by cities to coordinate or facilitate the administrative steps (e.g.: smart cities) – even if, on numerous subjects, governments have the final word (e.g.: on CO2).

2.In a global world where competition among cities is fiercer and fiercer, they have to be attractive from an economical, social and environmental point of view.

3.New relations arise between the different parties at stake, the role of each party being blurred (production delocalization, producers outbreak, citizens’ impact through social networks, etc.)

4.Needs and expectations of citizens may be globally summed up as the search for a better quality of life and well being.

5.Finally, the difficult issue of financing cities and sharing revenues between local and central authorities still bears heavily on the agenda and asks the corollary question of the role of private companies in the construction of cities.

As a world leader in energy and services, for over 150 years, the core business of GDF SUEZ consists in delivering essential services to cities, companies and people, while preserving natural resources. GDF SUEZ and their customers work on building smart cities. “Smart” meaning green and connected -the former being inseparable from the latter. Information management must allow cities to become more attractive. It results from two main tendencies: the circular economy and the economics of use. Therefore, beyond its classic “energy company” role, the Group should learn and integrate new models and supply its customers, as well as its customers’ customers with the exact right service.

Today, cities are the most active protagonists of innovation. They support SMEs, offer new services to citizens and program demonstrators on their territories. By working hand in hand with cities we will uncover and clear the cities of tomorrow!

Source: Hugo Whitemore