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Métropolisme Festival: making the city of tomorrow smart and welcoming

Information updated on 18/11/19

From late September to mid-October, the Métropolisme Festival at Tropisme Hall examined issues and technologies for the smart city of tomorrow. Here are some high points from the event in Montpellier that attracted 11,000 people.

La Halle Tropisme en action @david richard
From September 27 to October 13, the Métropolisme Festival brought together the people building tomorrow’s cities and the people living in them to meet with experts and artists. The idea was a success: in the presence of Montpellier Métropole president Philippe Saurel, the inauguration weekend attracted 3,500 visitors. According to event organizer Illusion & Macadam*, total attendance reached 11,000 people. The Tropisme Hall facility, a third space located at the former infantry school site, now dedicated to Cultural and Creative Industries, was the ideal host for the event.

“Our role is to support urban change,” highlights its director Vincent Cavaroc.

Architects, city planners, researchers, and project leaders, along with artists, gardeners, landscapers, and more, got together to focus on various challenges, from climate change and technologies to migration. As one of the event’s high points, the Tropisme Academy spent four days covering the scope and issues for cities to be inclusive, welcoming, and technological, while also taking climate change into account. The city could also be “reversible”, as described by architect Carmen Santana d’Archikubik, referring to Montpellier’s Saint Roch parking lot, which could include offices and housing.

A “novel” project that “distinguishes Montpellier in the digital world”

Researchers involved with the Human at Home (HUT) experiment revealed the first lessons from their ultra-connected apartment, lived in by two students for one year. Present for the report was Chantal Marion, vice President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole in charge of economic development, higher education and research, innovation, French Tech, artisan trades, and city planning. University of Montpellier president Philippe Augé feels that the project is “novel”; François Pérea, vice-president in charge of digital projects at Paul Valéry University - Montpellier 3, considers that it “distinguishes Montpellier in the digital world.” For three years, thirteen research laboratories worked with seven Montpellier Métropole area companies (Deliled, Enedis, Ikea, OCEASOFT, Nexity, Sens Digital, and Synox) to analyze data and behavior. “Our collaboration is ongoing,” says Emmanuel Mouton from Synox.

Thanks to its involvement with the HUT consortium, Montpellier Métropole has enriched the Smart City approach that it has led for the past decade. The goal is to stimulate economic development through innovation, while imagining urban services for housing, mobility, energy and water management, hazard prevention, health, and more.

Another positive point is that Métropolisme’s exhibitions, installations, and experiences largely included residents. Visitors were thus invited to “design the city of tomorrow with respect to climate issues” using an interactive 3D application to simulate the integration of buildings, shared gardens, and wind farms in the area.

Free reign for Alain Damasio

The event’s cultural dimension included seven shows and concerts, including a three-day free reign for French science fiction master Alain Damasio. The Festival left Tropisme Hall with two new permanent features: the “La Binette” garden and “Trokids” a mini-city space for children with a fresco of the city of the future by two major illustrators, Guy Delisle and François Olislaeger. As far as Vincent Cavaroc is concerned, “Métropolisme will continue, as the subject of tomorrow’s cities is endless.”

* Métropolisme benefited from many partners: Montpellier Métropole, City of Montpellier, SA3M, Région Occitanie, Fédération des Promoteurs Immobiliers, Nexity, Synox, and Enedis. The event included Ecole Nationale d'Architecture de Montpellier (Ensam), Maison de l'architecture Occitanie-Méditerranée, CNES, Montpellier CCAS, Club Ville Aménagement, University of Montpellier, HUT consortium, Hérault Chamber of Agriculture, SYMBO, and the AMO association. Media coverage for the event was provided by France Bleu, Divergence FM, and Midi Libre.
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