Situated respectively in the north and south of France, the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) cities of Métropole Rouen Normandie and Aix-en-Provence may be separated by distance but are united by their goal to digitalise. The ICC recently met with Jérôme Richard, Information Systems and Innovation Director Department of Aix-en-Provence and Flore Bonhomme, Project Manager Smart Territory and Open Data at Métropole Rouen Normandie to discuss their projects related to the thematic track of Citizen participation and digitisation of public administration.
Time for change
Around the time of applying to the ICC initiative, the two cities had reached a point where they needed to improve their citizens services. Aix-en-Provence needed user friendly tools to help citizens and tourists enjoy their time in the city. Further, due to an issue with water management across the south of France, the city needed to rethink its whole strategy and ultimately digitalise. Meanwhile the Métropole Rouen Normandie was driven to take action following a destructive fire in 2019 and them being named the European Capital of Culture for 2028. Therefore it was important for the Métropole Rouen Normandie to show itself as a resilient and attractive city through its digital expertise.
Multi-asset mobile applications
To support their digitalisation, both cities developed mobile applications to support the daily life of their citizens. The city of Aix-en-Provence developed a multi-asset mobile application in which it is possible to check the air quality and to easily find a parking spot in the city centre. This second functionality helps the city in both its digitalisation and with its carbon reduction plan as it helps citizens to optimise their journey in a green way.
The Métropole Rouen Normandie developed its own app called ‘Rouen dans ma poche’ which allows citizens to find all of the relevant information about the city and encourages citizen participation in public and political activities through interactive elements.
A digitalisation journey
Through their different projects, both cities are on a journey to becoming smart cities. This path is already in motion and they both want to go beyond this. For instance, the Métropole Rouen Normandie aims to become more than just a smart city – it wants to be a smart and sustainable territory. Both cities also prioritise security, in the physical sense within their cities and with regards to data.
An open data approach
The Métropole Rouen Normandie assessed its approach towards data with the creation of their mobile application. Following this, they adopted an open data workflow for the Métropole and other cities willing to participate to make the data flow more efficiently and securely.
Data serving city security
For the city of Aix-en-Provence, security on the streets is highly important. To improve this, the city developed several projects regarding video surveillance, smart circulation and cybersecurity. The main project was the development of a mobile application which aimed to combat and raise awareness of street harassment.
Both cities are currently improving their projects and taking them to a fully developed stage. The ICC commends the efforts and progress from the two cities and is looking forward to seeing the cities’ next steps.