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Cities and territories

Bouygues Construction is actively involved in making cities more environmentally-friendly by creating eco-neighbourhoods. This commitment is part of our desire to improve living conditions and entitles us to be the leader in sustainable construction.

The eco-neighbourhood is the closest urban construction project towards sustainable development. Housing, offices, shops and services: the eco-neighbourhood stands out because of its multifunctional approach to a residential area. To cut down on journeys, soft modes of transport are prioritised e.g. pedestrianised streets, cycle lanes. Eco-neighbourhoods go hand in hand with social diversity to promote exchanges among residents. To improve living conditions, eco-neighbourhoods have green landscape designs that are adapted to the environment.

Urban agriculture: what economic model?

Under lockdowns, many French people started to cultivate their own garden, including in cities or on the outskirts of cities, confirming the success of certain forms of urban agriculture. Major cities are becoming visibly greener, but does urban agriculture have an economic model that will ensure it has a stable future?

What paradigm for Green Cities?

In June 2020, eight major French cities saw their municipal councils taken or held by a Green majority: Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Tours, Annecy, Besançon and Poitiers. What do these green municipalities plan for the territories?

Transforming a street with a brushstroke: what does the future hold for tactical urbanism?

During 2020, the term 'tactical urbanism' suddenly appeared on the front pages of the press to describe the arrangements being tested in the face of the COVID-19 crisis: pop-up ‘corona cycle lanes’ marked out in yellow on the streets or temporary terraces for restaurants and cafés instead of parking bays, for example. Light, low-cost, temporary and sometimes transitional, tactical urbanism has many advantages in the face of crisis. Do these facilities point to more permanent developments? How do you transition smoothly between two views of a street or a square? What are the social and cultural issues at stake, and what are the impacts in terms of use? What initiatives can come from the inhabitants of an area?

Setting up a regional resilience programme

In late 2020, Bouygues Construction, Banque des Territoires and Chronos (an urban innovation consulting firm), with the support of France Ville Durable, held a retreat to discuss the topic of setting up a regional resilience programme. Using an array of assessment tools and regional initiatives, the attendees identified the key factors needed to formalise a regional resilience programme. France Ville Durable, Cerema, AEME, the French High Committee for National Resilience, the Paris Région Institute and the Grenoble Urban Planning Agency spoke of the dedication shown by those involved in this subject, and animated discussions on how to formalise the concept of regional resilience.

Intensifying the use of existing buildings

How do we do more with less? Modern cities are faced with numerous challenges. They need to emit less carbon and halt urban spread into natural areas, while also having enough space to live in social harmony and in line with shifting trends (reconstituted families, telework, etc.). With these contradictory demands—acquiring more space with less sprawl—time becomes an unexpected resource. Some spaces in our buildings are used only for certain times of the day, week or year. For example, educational facilities are generally used around 20% of the time, while offices are used between 30% and 45% of the time. This means they can be used more, by finding new users and new ways to use them. Let’s look at a few concrete examples.

How will Île-de-France look in 2050 ?

Imagine it is 2050 in Ile-de-France. The effects of environmental disturbances and the reduction of energy resources have led to a profound transformation in the organisation of the region and life as it unfolds there. Half as many residents, virtually no automobiles, which have given way to low-tech transportation...plus local solidarity initiatives, breathable air and stronger ties to nature and biological rhythms. That is the revolutionary scenario described by Institut Momentum, a think tank specialising in degrowth, in its report Bioregions 2050.

Cities Are Taking Steps to Become Carbon Neutral

Responsible for 67% of global GHG emissions, cities are on the front line of this challenge. Two high-emissions sectors - transport and construction - are of direct concern to them. What are their margins of manoeuvre and trajectories to become low carbon and carbon neutral? What are the major assets of the local scale?

Air quality: housing’s new priority

We are what we eat, but we are also what we breath: more than 15 kg of air every day! And most of that air quality comes from confined spaces. We spend more than 80% of our time inside with many pollutants. New constructions could well bring a breath of fresh air…

How can we develop and build in the context of “Zero net artificialisation” ?

23,000 hectares: this is the average annual area of natural, agricultural or forest land reallocated to urbanisation in France over recent years, the equivalent of 2.2 times the area of Paris, 33,000 football pitches or 19 million parking spaces. A figure which makes France one of the worst European students with regard to restraining real-estate development. The impact on biodiversity and CO2 emissions are such that there is an urgent need to hold back this effect. Although the target of Zero net artificialisation (ZAN) was written into the national biodiversity plan in July 2018, the strategy, method and means of bringing this into reality remains to be specified. Likewise the search for a denser, viable and liveable urban development model in large conurbations as well as town centres and small and medium-sized towns.

Quai 22 – the city reinvented

This area will be a great place to work, take it easy and unwind. The location, known as ‘Quai 22’, with its mix of city life, water and nature, will be situated on the banks of the river Deûle in the European Metropolis of Lille.

Cities to be: “From aspirational metropolis to inspirational city”

Providing levers for attaining the goals of sustainable development, such is the ambition of Cities to Be. In concrete terms, this means pooling experiences, solutions and best practices, generating momentum among the territories, and persuading players of the building sector to commit to such goals. All in the aim of creating a denser, more resilient city that offers, quite simply, a pleasant way of life.

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