Raising public awareness about architecture and urban planning is one of the main missions of the Bouygues Immobilier Corporate Foundation. Since 2007, we have supported the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine in Paris, the world’s biggest architecture centre open to the public and a global reference on urban planning, regional development and architectural innovation. As well as being a founding partner, we are also its biggest patron.
Our cooperation is based on joint analysis of urban construction, future land use and the place of architecture in our daily lives. These issues are aligned with our CSR commitments, which encompass urban living, architectural innovation, energy-related challenges, biodiversity and mobility.
Over the years, the Corporate Foundation has sponsored several major exhibitions such as Ecological living – architecture for sustainable cities in 2009 and Urban wildlife in 2011.
The Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine has also hosted three exhibitions designed by Observatoire de la Ville: Urban diversity (2012), Proximity (2014) and Resilient and recyclable cities (2016). These exhibitions draw attention to initiatives, nascent ventures and tried-and-tested measures in the areas of mobility, trade, housing and the workplace that make towns and cities more sustainable and attractive.
In 2006, we became a select sponsor of the French government’s young architect and landscaper scheme for spotting and fostering new talent. Some of the prizewinners have then been enlisted to assist on actual projects, such as projects conducted in partnership with Christophe Rousselle and Nicolas Laisné (Saint-Exupéry development at the Ginko eco-neighbourhood in Bordeaux) and Matthieu Gelin and David Lafon (Amphithéâtre mixed-development zone in Metz).
Exhibition "Resilient and recyclable cities" © Augusto Da Silva
Observatoire de la Ville is chiefly a think-tank for developing more sustainable urban environments. Residents, politicians and academics as well as students, companies, charities and the general public are all given a say in how towns and cities should evolve. Each topic is discussed for two years and steered by an editorial board staffed by experts in their respective fields.
The latest discussion led by the Observatoire, called Resilient and recyclable cities, analysed the issues of recycling, reversibility and resilience at a town or city level. A new discussion began in 2017, focusing on social innovation in towns and cities. It looks specifically at what social and community-oriented innovation even mean, what new practices they should drive – especially from the standpoint of sustainability and the circular economy – and how they will help transform the city of the future.
Since 2012, Observatoire de la Ville’s findings have been reconstituted as exhibitions at the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine using an engaging mix of pictures and video. After Urban diversity (which investigates diversity within towns and cities) and Proximity (which explores what it means to be close to one another in the all-digital world and how to approach urban development in today’s day and age), the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine in 2016 hosted Resilient and recyclable cities. This latest exhibition will also travel to Nantes and Clermont-Ferrand in the second half of 2017.
Aside from its role as a property developer, Bouygues Immobilier is active in community welfare and sustainability initiatives. For example, the Corporate Foundation has partnered with several charities. Our philosophy is to invest over the long term via a select number of partnerships and to involve our employees in these initiatives.
Our foundation has teamed up with Unis-Cité, a pioneer in voluntary community service in France, to assist in its Médiaterre project, launched in 2010 and supported by Bouygues Immobilier from the outset. Médiaterre organises teams of 18 to 25-year-olds to make families from underprivileged neighbourhoods more aware of eco-friendly habits so that they can reduce their water and electricity bills. Having these volunteers strengthens the social fabric of local communities and contributes to a more pleasant living environment. In 2016, the programme supported 540 families, raised awareness among 5,800 individuals and helped each family on average save €21 per month on their utility bills. In addition, around ten of our employees are active in their own towns and cities, supporting Unis-Cité volunteers in their community service efforts as well as providing them with an introduction to the world of business.
A second major partnership agreement was signed in 2017, with the charity Ticket for Change. In this instance, we support businesses launching specific community action initiatives that strengthen social ties. Plans include shared canteens, third places, special apps and many other ideas. Ticket for Change exists to help business leaders put their ideas into practice. The Bouygues Immobilier Corporate Foundation, alongside Ticket for Change, has set up a think-tank for fostering more responsive urban environments, with the specific aim of spearheading more initiatives in this field. Once again we will call on our employees to support some of these projects and provide expertise to help hatch the ideas short-listed by Ticket for Change.