Paris, France, December 10, 2020

Cities and the innovation fabric - The Urban, season 2 - Episode 2 with Pierre Veltz

In this second episode from season 2 of The Urban, Gecina’s podcast on urban lifestyles and the city, we discuss urban innovation with our guest, the economist Pierre Veltz. He observes with interest the evolving relationship between the public and private sectors in France, and sets out the conditions needed for a successful partnership between cities and businesses.


  • Pierre Veltz, engineer, sociologist and economist, regional business and business organization specialist, notably chairman and CEO of Établissement Public Paris-Saclay from 2010 to 2015
  • Luc Gwiazdzinski, geographer
  • Report from Nantes, the city where everything is possible?

To listen to the second episode in French with English subtitles, play the video:


“The basic assessment is that there is extensive unchartered territory for innovation: businesses need to move away from their mindset as ‘consumers of services’ and position themselves as ‘coproducers within the city’."

"Some time ago, we had a paternalistic city, a city where the private sector was taking care of everything. We’ve completely moved away from that model. Today, companies are more in a consumer position in cities. They want housing for their employees, efficient public transportation and city services."

"Today we have a vision of urban innovation that is, in my opinion, too technological. The real innovations are more social and organizational."

"Deep down, the city is life."

Pierre Veltz


To transform their citizens’ lives, take on board new practices and respond to new challenges, cities are outdoing one another with innovations.They are increasingly opening up to public-private partnership approaches, bringing together municipalities, university research laboratories and private businesses.

Pierre Veltz knows these issues well…He is the guest for the second episode of The Urban, which explores the new relationships between two worlds: that of industry and that of territories. And this urban fabric seems to be paving the way for the emergence of new urban business models, as well as new design, building and management models. To encourage middle classes to return, Pierre Veltz now proposes to rebalance the social fabric of cities by re-diversifying activities within dense areas and reintroducing physical production, modelled around the “urban manufacturing” seen in London or New York.

For this second episode, The Urban headed to Nantes: the city of experimentation, where everything is possible, named 2019 Innovation Capital. This episode also hears from the geographer Luc Gwiazdzinski, who advocates anchoring “the temporal approach at the heart of urban thinking”.


The Urban is available on all podcast platforms, Apple PodcastsSpotifyDeezer and on

To listen to the original episode in French:


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