The city of the future: the experts interviewed!

Demographic and political developments, a real competition for attractiveness is appearing between cities, leading to the creation of more ambitious urban projects!


What are the challenges for the cities of the future and what is GDF SUEZ’s policy in this area?

Stéphane Quéré, Director of Urban Development, GDF SUEZStéphane Quéré, Director of Urban Development, GDF SUEZ:

“Because of demographic and political changes, we are seeing real competition between cities in terms of attractiveness. So we are seeing the emergence of ever more ambitious and more global urban projects, simultaneously addressing economic growth, social equality and environmental protection. The Group is committed to offering an increasingly integrated approach: circular economy, reduced resource use, responses to social concerns. GDF SUEZ is also building a position in the integration of digital technologies, which help create new services for citizens and manage systems. Sustainable urban development is therefore a major challenge for GDF SUEZ, which is committed to helping local authorities design and implement their projects and then ensuring that they live over time.”


Joëlle Gitton, Director of the City of the Future R&D Programme, GDF SUEZJoëlle Gitton, Director of the City of the Future R&D Programme, GDF SUEZ:

“In order to tackle these challenges, GDF SUEZ has created within the Research and Innovation Division the Tomorrow’s Cities and Buildings Programme, which sets out goals in terms of research and innovation, but also in the implementation of innovative solutions for local authorities and their citizens. The programme is based around four scientific and technical priorities:

  • Analysis of the behaviour and expectations of the key figures in the city in order to design innovative solutions
  • The development of new approaches (to energy, water and waste management) to ensure high-performance, holistic design of buildings and neighbourhoods
  • The deployment of energy links with a view to the development of energy-positive buildings and areas
  • The creation of “connected cities” through the introduction of digital systems and interlinked services and applications for use by elected representatives, management services and citizens”


So what concrete solutions can GDF SUEZ offer?

Joëlle Gitton:

“In order to design and develop innovative offerings and services that meet the needs of the various stakeholders in urban environments, our Programme is running design exercises and pilot projects around five major themes: future cities, high energy and environmental performance buildings, the creation of low impact neighbourhoods, clean and easy urban mobility and lastly the ground-breaking development of a smart city dashboard to help local authorities manage their environmental and energy challenges.”


Stéphane Quéré:

“GDF SUEZ has recently signed three strategic partnership agreements with the cities of Barcelona, Bordeaux and Nice, in which the innovation component was key. These new partnerships demonstrate in very concrete terms the Group’s strong local links and its ability to design and deliver immediately applicable and innovative solutions in the area of the city of the future.”