A new district of 130 hectares with vast public spaces, wide pavements, cultural and academic facilities, a mix between offices, housing and shops… Paris Rive Gauche in the XIIIth district will test 15 urban innovations that have been selected at the end of a competition.
The experiment, unique in Europe, will plunge the residents of the XIIIth district in Paris in a science fiction universe. In a few months, Franprix customers will be able to have their groceries delivered by a droid inspired by the robot of the Star Wars saga, BB-8. These droids, which will travel at speeds between 5 and 10 km/h, will help families, especially elderly people and people with reduced mobility, to transport their groceries in Paris by following them – the droid being “paired” with the person via his smartphone.
This robot, developed by the company TweensHeel, is one of 15 projects selected in a competition organised by Urban Lab, a structure funded by the City of Paris and a handful of partners. The objective: to respond to the challenges of tomorrow’s Paris in areas related to mobility, the modularity of spaces and the circular economy.
The first “District of urban innovation” in Paris, Rive Gauche (XIIIth district), was chosen to become the theatre of these experiments. In full transformation, this district, proud of its Haussmann timeless architecture, will soon see the deployment of infrastructures for autonomous mobility, solar recharging stations, sensors measuring the filling of waste sorting stations or even the “Parisettes” – toilets transforming urine into fertiliser for plants… The start-ups or large groups behind this project will be able to test their model in the real world before deploying on a larger scale.
Islets of freshness
“These experiments are essential to finding the solutions to be deployed to succeed in the Great Transformation, the radical urban model transformation necessary to deal with the climate emergency“, states Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of urban planning. They will last from six months to a year except for Urban Canopee, a start-up that intends to fight against air pollution by urban vegetation. Its solution: huge vegetated corollas, more than 100 square meters of plants specially selected for their ability to purify the air and to refresh the space naturally, like natural air conditioners… For two years, different plants will be growing in the XIIIth district and give life to a true urban canopy like those of large forests.