Toward Smarter Cities: Vision, Challenges & Early Solutions

A one-day International event at Berkeley-Inria-Stanford workshop
19 June 2014, CNAM, Paris

The world is in the midst of an immense population shift from rural to urban areas. Indeed, more than half of the entire world’s population is already living in cities, and it is expected that by 2050 this number will grow to nearly 6.3 billion people (i.e., nearly 70%). This unprecedented stress on the city infrastructure and resources has led governments, businesses and community to rely on technologies, and in particular the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to overcome the challenges posed by rapid urbanization.

From the more technical, ICT perspective, smart cities are fascinating systems of systems whose component systems and their integration greatly challenge current ICT due to the key characteristics of connected cities and especially their scale. Moreover, the vision of what smart cities should be about is evolving at a fast pace in close concert with the latest technology trends. It is notably worth highlighting how mobile and social Internet use have reignited citizen engagement, thereby opening new perspectives for smart cities beyond data analytics that have been initially one of the core foci for smart cities technologies. Similarly, open data programs foster the engagement of citizens in the process of government and overall contribute to make our cities more sustainable. However, while environmental and economical sustainability have been on the ICT research agenda for some time, there is another, equally important, form of sustainability that has so far been overlooked for smart cities, that is, social sustainability. Indeed, cities are first and foremost places for people, and thus building cohesive, inclusive and flourishing communities should be at the forefront of our research agenda. Without the right social infrastructure in place, problems of isolation, mental health, anti-social behaviors and crime are more likely to arise, spiraling communities into decline.

In the above context, the Inria Project Lab CityLab@Inria studies ICT solutions toward smart cities that promote both social and environmental sustainability. A strong emphasis of the Lab is on the undertaking of a multi-disciplinary research program through the integration of relevant scientific and technology studies, from sensing up to analytics and advanced applications, so as to actually enact the foreseen smart city Systems of Systems. Another strong emphasis is to collaborate with major actors in the smart city domain, both from industry and city, so as to nurture respective development and ultimately experiment at the urban scale.

The goal of this one day event is to bring together smart-city actors from industry, academia and cities to exchange about respective vision for smarter cities and related challenges, in particular introducing the research agenda of the Inria Lab CityLab@Inria (

Further, acknowledging the strong link of CityLab with the Inria@SiliconValley program, the event will be the occasion to bring together actors from both France and California, discussing ongoing and potential joint research opportunities in the area.

The event is organized around 4 sessions, each dedicated to a major smart city challenge, and structured into: lightning talks by major actors in the area followed by panel discussion with the audience.

09:00-10:30 The city vision about smarter cities (Chair: Hervé Rivano, Inria)

  • Advancity : The Smart Metropolis Hub, Florence Castel, Executive Director Advancity.
  • Sustainable San Francisco – Using Technology to Make San Francisco More Vibrant & Livable, Mark Palmer, LEED Fellow, Senior Green Building Coordinator,  City of San Francisco , Department of Environment.
  • The Paris vision of Smart Cities, George-Etienne Faure, Smart City Officer at Marie de Paris
  • Grand Lyon Smart City Strategy, Marie-Anne Serve, Smart City Project Manager.
  • Smart Cities: Between Neo-Cybernetic Temptation and Democratic Perspectives, Prof. Antoine Picon, Harvard and Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées.

11:00-12:30 The challenge of urban-scale sensing (Chair: Nathalie Mitton, Inria)

  • A Perspective on Internet of Things Networking, Sterling Hugues, Silver Spring Network.
  • Vehicular Networks and City-Scale Sensing, Prof. Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California.
  • Leveraging things and people as sensors for smarter cities, Dr. Animesh Pathak, Inria.

14:00-15:30: The challenge of urban-scale data engineering (Chair: Ioana Manolescu, Inria)

  • Oracle Smart City Platform: Closing the loop in urban data. Iemke Idsingh, Oracle Public Sector Solutions Director.
  • City Modeling: A Decision Support in the Process of Planning, Fabrice Casciani, Project Manager Sustainable Cities, EDF R&D.
  • Data Assimilation for Urban Air Quality Simulation. Dr. Vivien Mallet, Inria Paris-Rocquencourt.
  • Urban-scale Quantitative Visual Analysis. Dr. Josef Sivic, Inria.

16:00-17:30: The challenge of democracy 3.0 (Chair: Christine Morin, Inria)

  • Build and map our cities together, Gael Musquet, OpenData evangelist at La Fonderie – Paris Region public digital agency.
  • A Middleware Solution for Democratizing Urban Data. Dr.  Sara Hachem, Inria.
  • AppCivist : A Platform for Large-scale Public Deliberation and Civic Action. Prof. James Holston, University of California Berkeley.

Contact: Valérie Issarny, Inria@SiliconValley Scientific Coordinator

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