Op-Ed

Data as a catalyst of urban innovations

As one of the powerhouse of the LORnTECH regional network, the Nancy urban community attracts many innovative companies and is developing a dedicated project for making its own digital transition.

Nancy and the digital challenge

Home to one of France’s longest running technology communities &
8211; the Nancy-Brabois technology park begun in the 1970s &
8211; Nancy is continuing its tradition of making information and communication technologies a strong and central plank of its development policy.
The regeneration of the areas bordering the river Meurthe is an excellent example of this simultaneously local and citywide strategy. Now almost complete, this urban project aims to create a new business park for Nancy, but this time at the very heart of the city. Known as ‘Renaissance’, this new district will eventually provide more than 7,000 new jobs, bringing the total number of jobs available in the city’s two technology parks to 22,000: approximately one-seventh of all the jobs within the urban community.
Startups here can rely on extensive local support. The PAPinière and the PADDOCK are networked startup centres dedicated to encouraging those young businesses thought to be the most promising. Each provides long-term support for projects at different stages of development, covering every aspect of business growth, from strategy and finance to human resources and other key issues.
The Lorraine Fab Living Lab platform also helps to support local innovation; coordinated by the University, its functional operation relies on input from right across the social spectrum. Primarily intended for students, but actually open to everyone, it helps to turn innovative ideas into reality. This Living Lab gives students the opportunity to prototype their concepts and plan for the future sales and marketing of their applications.

Making the transition to a more connected city

What was the background to the decision taken by the Greater Nancy Urban Community to release around 40 datasets? The answer is its commitment to bringing citizens together, at the same time as promoting the development of the urban economy and optimising urban management.
The release of these data has enabled the hosting of several hackathons on issues as varied as healthcare and sustainable development, thanks to collaboration with the Epitech engineering graduate school. A number of new applications have emerged from these events, including ez-city, which offers to facilitate dialogue between citizens and municipal service providers.
Based on all the mobility-related datasets, the G-Ny application (the name is an abbreviation for mobility in Greater Nancy) lists the addresses of all municipal and leisure services on a single interactive map. It then offers routes for every mode of transport, and also includes the facility to dialogue with the city authority to flag up road-related issues. At the same time as facilitating travel within the city, this application also makes it easy to gather new data on mobility in Nancy that can ultimately be used to optimise the network.
The public-private partnership that began with the Greenberry startup is another example of the efforts being made by Nancy to improve its network through the use of street furniture. Between now and September this year, the company plans to provide a total of 1,200 smart bikes. This new breed of two wheeler will suggest themed routes and offer geolocation services, at the same time as taking accurate measurements of air pollution indexed by time-of-day and location. The resulting data will be used by the city authority to target new health measures.

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La Fabrique de la Cité

La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank dedicated to urban foresight, created by the VINCI group, its sponsor, in 2010. La Fabrique de la Cité acts as a forum where urban stakeholders, whether French or international, collaborate to bring forth new ways of building and rebuilding cities.

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