Created in 2011, UrbanEra is founded on sharing and exchange. Depending on the specific local issues, we bring together the most relevant players – industrial firms, start-ups, associations, residents, etc. – in order to carry out the development project. Our method is based on three key stages:
- Understanding the local area and its issues
- Getting the partners to work together to meet local needs
- Defining the project’s main aims
UrbanEra has the advantage of being able to draw on Bouygues Immobilier’s expertise, but with the agility of a start-up. We choose our partners according to local needs, using an open innovation approach and keeping as close as possible to local authorities and their histories.
Under the auspices of the municipality of Sartrouville, north-west of Paris, we teamed up with social landlord Logement Francilien to prepare the fundamental transformation of the Cité des Indes, a run-down and hemmed-in district, in order to turn it into a model of social diversity, sustainability and quality of life. Amongst other initiatives, we created a partnership with AgroParisTech, a life sciences school, to integrate urban agriculture into the project and developed an ecosystem around the local recyclers, craft workers and creators known generically as “makers”.
For us, property development is first and foremost a way of meeting needs. What kind of life will the residents lead? Who will live in the neighbourhood? What services will they need? These questions are central to our development projects. Our role is to help local authorities find solutions that suit their specific context. We always start with the local situation and construct our proposals for neighbourhoods accordingly, so that they will attract long-term residents. Each development project starts with a clean slate. Each one is unique and perfectly meets local needs.
For example, the eco-neighbourhood we are developing in Marseille’s Littorale mixed development zone will be a key centre for “makers”. A 1,200-m² hall will accommodate both traditional crafts (cabinet-makers, metalsmiths, upholsterers, etc.) and emerging occupations based on new technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting. It will also include collaborative and shared workspaces.
At Divonne-les-Bains, we have focused on commercial and cultural aspects to create a lively and vibrant extension of the town centre. In Nanterre we have used art to help transform a place that people merely pass through into a mixed-use living space.
In addition, in 2013 Bouygues Immobilier was the only private-sector player to receive the EcoQuartier label from the French Ministry of Housing and Territorial Equality. The distinction, which rewards model sustainable urban development and planning projects, has already been awarded to Ginko, the eco-neighbourhood on Bordeaux Lake.
• Energy & utilities: district-level energy management taking account of mixed uses, highly energy-efficient building design and local and renewable sourcing solutions.
• Urban services & mobility: a set of solutions to vitalise the neighbourhood, giving users and residents the best possible quality of life. This multimodal package includes public transport, soft mobility, smart car park sharing, concierge services and digital resources to encourage interaction.
• Water & waste: a comprehensive and optimised approach to the water and waste treatment cycle in pursuit of better environmental performance.
• Urban biodiversity and nature: nature in the city to favour energy efficiency and biodiversity through parks, shared gardens, urban agriculture, greened buildings, new local policies, labelling and certification schemes, etc.
• Buildings & user comfort: compliance with the HQE® high environmental quality standard, increasingly widespread construction of low-energy and positive-energy buildings, choice of environmentally sound materials, optimised ventilation, maximum comfort and efficiency, etc.
• Consultation & participation: dialogue with and involvement in the community through participatory initiatives such as consultation workshops, shared gardens and co-construction spaces.