Smart Cities and the Net-Zero Challenge: Insights from Paris Roundtable

Returning to France from Asia, I had the enriching opportunity to attend the 3rd Roundtable on Smart Cities and Inclusive Growth in Paris. The discussions delved into how smart cities can catalyze the net-zero transition, among other topics. The term ‘smart city’ has evolved, intersecting various influences and interests, and is now synonymous with sustainability. It’s essential to underpin smart city initiatives with a robust strategy for sustainable urban development, integrating SDGs as guiding policies. This approach will enable developing countries to forge their path in SDG localisation, moving beyond a top-down methodology to one that empowers localities and ensures devolution of power, aligning with the global sustainability goals.

After #Asia 🌏 🇲🇾 🇸🇬, back to #France 🇫🇷🇪🇺, and a few days in #Paris. Thanks a lot to Aziza Akhmouch and Soo-Jin Kim, respectively Head and Deputy head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development division at OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions & Cities, giving me the opportunity to attend the 3rd Roundtable on #SmartCities and Inclusive Growth.

Following my trip to #Malaysia 🇲🇾, I also had the chance to exchange about the Asian context with Curt Garrigan, Chief of the Sustainable Urban Development Section for the Environment and Development Division at United Nations ESCAP (in #Thailand 🇹🇭).

A deep dive into the topic « How can #smartcities boost the #netzero transition ? » but not only. ➡️ program.

Above all a #technocorp driven marketing term, #smartcity becomes nowadays a catch-all word at the crossroads of many influences and interests, from #technopush to #lobbying without forgetting #ideology. It has also and more recently merged with #sustainability, a step towards public policies (#KPIs driven evaluation).

A tool or a policy ? May be both … However, it would be better to start first with a sustainable urban development strategy (#SDGs policies with guidelines) and then consider the promise of digital tools (e.g. #opensource urban data #platform supporting integrated public policies, citizens and businesses) as well as the requisite and crucial #capacity building.

As a result, it would help developing countries (#globalsouth) go their own way in the spirit of #SDGs localization, and not only through a disconnected copypaste topdown approach. As Korean experts 🇰🇷 figured out, it will be difficult to get a positive and sustainable impact towards communities without empowering cities and regions, and eventually with a clear #devolution of normative power …

That is my own simple thought and #takeaway after this very rich and complex seminar. I guess OECD – OCDE is at the forefront of thought #leadership on these topics !

More information and documentation on the roundtable can be found with this link.

About Stéphane Péan

Freelance expert, Ker-Iz Consulting