How to make a territory smarter?

22 December 2016

With the advent of industry 4.0, new digital technologies such as smart grids for energy and smart city concepts, are having considerable impacts on the organization of companies and territories. Geneva is taking active part in this evolution through various projects, that are not only limited to technological innovation but also creating smarter territories by stimulating co-creation and networking of actors at different levels.

Various ongoing projects in Geneva are the keystones of a smart city under construction. The State of Geneva clearly displayed its will to develop a «Smart canton», based on smarter and more sustainable management notably, through two pilot projects that apply new digital technologies regarding parking management and noise pollution.

Furthermore, business zones are meant to become smarter and more connected. The Industrial Land Foundation of Geneva (FTI), in collaboration with Sofies, pursues its ecoParc program, which is getting implemented gradually in the various zones of the canton. Through co-construction between public and private actors, this participative approach aims at creating synergies between industries, to optimize resource consumption and improve zonal quality. The FTI is also setting up a digital platform, enabling the development of an overview on business zones and their sustainable development performance.

This participative approach also applies to mixed and residential areas. For instance, in the Susette sector, a project in a a new neighborhood uses a consortium of experts in the process, including owners, inhabitants, craftspeople and nearby companies, aiming at an integrated development of the new neighborhood. Sofies contributes for example, in developing an energy concept that optimally integrates local renewables resources and the needs of the various actors.

On a broader scale, a French-Swiss Interreg project led by Sofies and Ocalia, aims at setting up a network of shared working places. On one hand, this project contributes to the rapid development of new, more flexible forms of working (teleworking, co-working) with positive impacts in terms of mobility, quality of life for commuting workers and revitalization of local economies in the cross-border context. On the other hand, thanks to the development of a digital platform, the project also aims at connecting its future users, creating a skill network both virtual and real, as users are able to meet in co-working spaces. This network will thus stimulate collective intelligence, giving space for new business and co-creation opportunities, sources of innovation.

These are some examples of actions realized on a territorial scale, and contributing undoubtedly to making it smarter. Thanks to a wise use of new digital technologies, to a networking process and to a multiplication of exchanges among actors, these initiatives lead to improvements in terms of quality of life, environment and economic competitiveness, which consequently enhance territorial attractiveness.


Luc Jaquet

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