What is a “sustainable city”?
Riding on the famous concept of sustainable development, a “sustainable city” proposes to bet on so-called “green” energies, to construct ecological buildings, or to use non-polluting public transport. The concept is of humanitarian and planetary interest, while a million earthlings are born every week, and more than half are destined to live in urban areas, all against a backdrop of global warming. France has been investing for several years in the “sustainable city” model, with several showcase city plans, including a spectacular digital project led by the city of Paris.
The ideal "sustainable city" produces its own energy
The solutions for transforming a city into a “sustainable city” are relatively obvious, if not easy to apply. Energy is one of the fundamental questions of sustainable development. The oldest dwellings constitute pits of energy losses, as do the methods of heating. Some European cities still heat themselves mainly with coal, an extremely polluting fossil and non-renewable energy source. According to the daily Les Infos de Poland , the latter country has five cities in the ranking of the ten most polluted European cities, including Krakow.
In contrast, Denmark is the best student by betting on the ultimate solution of sustainable development of a city: to produce its own energy - non-polluting. An ideal based on the concept of the positive energy building (BEPOS), capable of producing more energy than it consumes, thanks to the use of eco-materials, solar energy, heat pumps or more electric storage batteries. For more than 15 years, Copenhagen has been giving priority to BEPOS, in addition to the use of electric vehicles in the city; the Danish capital thus intends to soon become the first “carbon-free” city.
France is also interested in the principle of “sustainable city”. In line with the famous Grenelle de l'Environnement, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has proposed its “Sustainable City Plan” in an attempt to achieve this ideal. Among the actions proposed is the concept of "eco-district", promoting best practices tending towards energy self-sufficiency.
A recent example is the Lyon eco-district Hikari ("light" in Japanese "), designed by the architect Kengo Kuma. Inaugurated in September 2015, this urban block should eventually include only BEPOS buildings, whether residential apartments or commercial and office buildings. Nationally, several cities are showcases in their sustainable city projects, such as Lille, Strasbourg, Nantes, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nice and Marseille.
“Wikibuilding” and Paris, at the forefront of sustainable development?
For the city of Paris, the prospects for sustainability represent a major challenge, between historical heritage and the need for development. The Paris city hall recently launched a website called “reinventer.paris”, dedicated to calls for innovative urban projects. One of the many proposed projects is carried by the company Rei France, an expert in wooden construction in Paris. Light material, relatively economical, modular and very ecological, wood is one of the most efficient ecomaterials in ecological construction.
The other innovative interest of the idea of the company lies in its community and digital aspect: it is a project that can be carried out in open source, all plans being searchable and modifiable by Internet users. Based on the collaborative principle of the "wiki" mode, this project was named "Wikibuilding". Fully modular and scalable, this building should be able to accommodate shops, a restaurant, a nightclub, a restaurant, apartments, offices and even a hotel. The Paris Val de Seine school of architecture should participate in this unprecedented experiment, which if it happens, will take place in the ZAC Masséna along the ring road. The Parisian Wikibuilding thus symbolizes the union between sustainable and ecological construction with architectural audacity, combined with the formidable potential of the digital economy.