City-as-a-service, the new urban experience
By Thibault Ancely, Executive Director Investments & Developments
While in Cannes at MIPIM 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable called "City as a service, the new urban experience". I share my vision on these topics.
As we’ve come to discover new technological horizons that have emanated from the advent of the Smart City, it’s clear that the unprecedented paradigms that it has given birth to are, for the most part, essentially focused on the systemic efficiency of urban ecosystems.
The concept of the “City as a Service”, born from a wave of relatively recent neologisms, brings a new perspective on this approach which tends to consider the city platform as a service matrix, evoking a vision focused more on the human aspect than on data itself. The “City as a Service” is in reality a concept born of the collaborative culture of the web. We can imagine that this city platform was conceived from a desire to re-found the general interest on a new connectivity.
The “City as a Service” or the collaborative city at the service of social innovation
Over the next 10 years, the collaborative economy, which underlies the concept of the “City as a Service”, could well become the model of performance benchmarking in a Europe that is seeking growth (PwC). It is a model already acclaimed by the French, with 75% of them expressing interest in collaborative consumption (TNS study, April 2017). Collaborative platforms should also see their revenue increase by 35% per year—versus 3% for the rest of the economy—to reach 83 billion euros by 2025.
In this context, the “City As a Service” describes the metropolis predisposed to creating connections, facilitating the life of citizens, improving mobility and supporting new ways of life. It works on the multi-functionality of buildings and their reversibility. The collaborative economy and real estate technology (or Real Estech) now allow us to facilitate the lives of workers. Examples include in-demand concierge service Bnbsitter, or Karos, with its shared car parks.
Within the “City as a Service”, goods and services are thus reinforced on all territories to facilitate life assets and access to work. This is the model employed by big “central districts” founded on University of Toronto professor Richard Florida’s “three Ts of economic success”: tolerance, talents and technology. Solidarity is a key driving principle, as well, and communities of neighbours are created within buildings in the spirit of the philosophy of Le Corbusier’s Cité radieuse in Marseille.
“City as a Service” : focus on attractivity
High-level service is an incontestable asset and an increasingly decisive one within the strategies deployed by metropolises eager to reinforce their attractiveness. The service capital of a city becomes a top-tier asset for the vitality of the urban fabric and of its talents.
Thus, as the APUR points out in a report on the business districts of the Métropole du Grand Paris, the « high-level service » model enables the revitalisation of Paris’s La Défense business district.
The challenges posed by Real Estech and the leveraging of data only make sense when they’re put at the service of this potential attractiveness for investors. The broad emerging market of real estate start-ups is building a new suite of services that create value for the inhabitant, the tenant, the owner and the company.
In this perspective of “City as a Service”, the collection and leveraging of data linked to multiple uses, which is now identifiable and measurable thanks to a movement for openness (Open Data), is an incredible resource for digital designers to invent the solutions and services of tomorrow on the entire scale, from buildings to cities.
Finally, for traditional real estate actors, it’s a way of reinventing their business models with more porosity between citizens’ lifestyles, the interrelations within living spaces and lines of business, like mobility.
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