Together go further and faster
This “open innovation” approach allows VINCI to think out of the box and propose specific responses to the new challenges of the city of the future.
Eco-design Chair: bring together researchers and operations staff
An intellectual adventure based on economic and environmental pragmatismVINCI and three ParisTech Schools (MINES ParisTech, École des Ponts ParisTech and AgroParisTech) entered into a five-year partnership in 2008 involving the creation of the Eco-design Chair, through which VINCI’s subsidiaries offered pilot sites for researchers and interns. The Chair operates on the basis of mirror groups that bring together VINCI researchers and operational staff. The research conducted is thus directly applicable to the Group’s activity and can be quickly disseminated among its different entities.
“Our contact persons at VINCI are very receptive and enthusiastic. But there were confrontations, in the beginning! Ultimately, these groups have helped us to better understand the company’s objectives. We have chosen to review our priorities to produce immediately useful and operational work.”
Nathalie Frascaria-Lacoste, professor of evolutionary ecology and ecological engineering. AgroParisTech and assistant director of ecology laboratory, Systematic and evolution.
Why eco design?City stakeholders such as designers, builders and users need new design tools in order to properly integrate the ecological challenges associated with the sustainable development of cities. VINCI, which designs, finances, builds and manages infrastructure and facilities, considers itself to have an obligation to finance and facilitate progress in new tools designed to boost eco-design, energy performance, infrastructure sustainability and new mobility services.
For Nathalie Frascaria-Lacoste, professor of evolutionary ecology and ecological engineering AgroParisTech and assistant director of Ecological laboratory, Systematics and Evolution, the reintroduction of biodiversity in the city entails better citizen involvement, by enabling city dwellers to reconnect with nature and help re-develop urban space.
VINCI projects, experimentation laboratoriesIn creating a Chair dedicated to the eco-design of buildings and infrastructure, VINCI made its own projects available to researchers for their experiments. Between 2008 and 2013, the Chair focused primarily on eco-neighbourhoods, refurbishment of built structures, materials life cycle analysis, biodiversity and sustainable mobility. On these different subjects, VINCI subsidiaries have fostered experiments by offering pilot sites and welcoming researchers and interns. Group employees have also participated in the design of modules intended for students, and these projects have been made available to city stakeholders.
An innovative tool boxThe VINCI Paris-Tech Eco-design Chair has brought about the existence of some 15 customised eco-urbanism and biodiversity tools and methodologies, which now serve as a reference.
Olivier Genelot, VINCI Facilities IdF (VINCI Energies).
This building life cycle analysis (LCA) tool assesses a building’s environmental footprint using 10 environmental indicators (energy consumption, materials, water consumption, construction procedures, waste, etc.) and avoids the substitution of one form of pollution by another throughout the life cycle of a project (from construction to demolition). Nova Equer covers many buildings and public spaces within a district and includes landscaping, public lighting, etc. This makes it possible to assess the influence of a master plan on the energy and environmental performance of a “piece of the city”.
This tool for evaluating biodiversity in an urban setting establishes a diagnosis of the areas propitious for biodiversity. Based on surveys of representative species (nesting birds, reptiles, butterflies), the team in charge of a project can propose appropriate developments.
This model for simulating parking within a local area shows the transport capabilities of different resources (vehicles, traffic infrastructure and parking spaces) and compares them to the mobility needs within a study area. Simulations are used to draw conclusions about travel times, traffic flow, quality of service rendered to the user and even the environment. ParkCap specifically simulates the process of searching for a parking space in a very busy area in order to assess parking needs and prices.
A new cycle of researchIn 2014, VINCI extended the partnership for a further five-year period and increased the funding of the Chair from €3 to €4 million. In this second research period, the work will be even more rigorous, and will cover an even broader international scope, thanks in particular to the presence of English and Swiss European expert governance bodies. The main themes in the new period will be energy performance, urban agriculture, smart grids, smart cities, renewable energies, and recycling as well as more targeted topics such as the socio-economic impact of the Grand Paris light rail stations.
La Fabrique de la Cité, where the city of tomorrow is invented
A think tank dedicated to the city of tomorrowThe cities in which we will live tomorrow will be very different from those in which we live today. To encourage thinking about urban innovation, make the most of pioneering initiatives and prompt discussion among the various stakeholders, VINCI launched a dedicated think tank, La Fabrique de la Cité (City Factory). This interdisciplinary approach encourages urban development stakeholders to work together in a cross-sector process, on research projects and at meetings.
La Fabrique de la Cité illustrates the major urban trends and innovations around the world. It serves as an observatory of changing metropolises and helps produce vision shared by those who design, develop, build and inhabit cities.
A network of expert partners geared toward the futureIn a spirit of openness, La Fabrique de la Cité has built relationships between many research institutions in France and abroad and created an international ecosystem that brings together urbanists, local elected officials, geographers, sociologists, economists, entrepreneurs and innovators. It has launched a workshop with the MIT Mobile Experience Lab focused on the evolution of lifestyles and the impact of lifestyle changes on urban transformation.
La Fabrique de la Cité has also collaborated for a number of years with the team of urbanism researchers at Sciences Po. It is therefore able to assign research projects to students in the Urban Territorial Strategies (STU) and Governing Large Metropolis (GLM) Masters programmes at the school. Its partners also include the Grenoble Urbanism Institute, ESSEC, ENS and the London School of Economics.
Urban data, usage at the sourceTo capture new urban customs, cities now have an invaluable tool: urban data, otherwise known as digital data produced by all city stakeholders.
These data make it possible to analyse the demand for services by residents and their patterns of behaviour with respect to such issues as mobility, energy consumption and waste management.
For example, in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, citizens are taking part in an experiment designed to improve air quality in the city, in association with companies such as Axians (VINCI Energies), as part of the AiREAS programme. In order to measure air quality in real time, a unique network of sensors has been installed on traffic lights and buses, or worn by residents. These sensors feed into a platform that gives elected officials real-time information on the level of pollution and the temperature, and enables them to review traffic flows near public facilities and in public spaces.
To capture such data, cities are increasingly creating public agencies or equipping themselves with semi-public urban development service bodies. This is notably the case with Berlin’s Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH. Some municipalities, such as Grenoble, have opted for open data (data release), in which the city introduces a platform dedicated to open data as the first step toward the use of such data by residents.
With Startupbootcamp, alongside start-ups
What is Startupbootcamp?Startupbootcamp is an accelerator of innovative start-ups based in Berlin. It brings together talented young entrepreneurs and industrial investors and partners to promote and accelerate particularly innovative business projects. Currently operating in eight cities under 10 programmes (Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, London, Barcelona, Singapore and Istanbul), Startupbootcamp is integrated in a worldwide network operating in some 30 countries.
The choice of BerlinThe Berlin outpost of the Startupbootcamp platform specialises in sustainable mobility and non-polluting energy issues, two sectors at the heart of its activities. The VINCI group has thus chosen to support the start-ups selected by this outpost, alongside other major groups such as Deutsche Bahn, Cisco, Airbus or Mercedes. The goal is to stay in touch on an ongoing basis and to pool ideas that can provide input for the development of its own business units.
A decisive boost to the innovators of tomorrowEvery year, Startupbootcamp organises a campaign to identify new start-ups. Once the potential candidates have been identified, 10 projects are selected. They each are awarded a subsidy, access to free collaborative workspaces and support for a period of three months, known as “acceleration,” after which they are introduced to investors.
Targeted sponsorshipFor the 2015 edition, the selections took place in July 2015 in Berlin. VINCI now provides five mentors, alongside other partner companies, to coach the selected start-ups and help them prepare their strategy.
The start-ups receiving support in 2015 :
• coModule, an innovative young company in the electromobility sector;
• High Mobility, which is developing a digital device to connect your car to various online devices and specifically to transmit real-time information on itineraries and traffic status.