At the St. Petersburg International Forum, Andrei Tchibis, Russian Deputy Minister in charge of Construction and Urban Services and Alexandre Missoffe, Director General of the Greater Paris Investment Agency (Paris-Ile de France Capitale Economique, or PCE) signed an agreement on 25 May 2018 to mobilise the expertise of players in the Grand Paris project to support the development of pilot cities in the Russian Federation
The day after the cooperation agreement was signed, Christian Nibourel and Alexandre Missoffe, respectively President and Director General of PCE, could not conceal their satisfaction. “ […] exporting the savoir-faire of the main players in the Grand Paris project – this is something we have dreamed of […],” Alexandre Missoffe said.
The agreement, announced on 25 May, will see Russia’s Federal Ministry for Construction and Urban Services and PCE work together, firstly on a diagnosis of specific issues facing the pilot territories.
PCE will then set up mixed teams whose skills and talents match the specific issues identified as facing the chosen pilot territories. PCE will also propose strategic orientations, plans of action and technical solutions. The Samara Region and the city of Tolyatti have been selected as the sites where this programme of cooperation will launch.
Grand Paris makers
The Russian Federal Ministry of Construction and Urban Services is working, in effect, to formalise a set of good practice and support procedures for metropolitan areas in the Russian Federation. The good practice and support platform for “[….] future cities” has identified five priority areas: smart municipal services; innovative infrastructure; city planning; mobility, and “[….] comfortable cities [….]”. 21 pilot towns in Russia have signed up to voluntarily host and develop the innovations proposed by the programmes.
The agreement was signed the day after the visit of a PCE delegation – organised in conjunction with the Franco-Russian Centre for Energy Efficiency – to attend the St. Petersburg International Forum. “ […] During this event, the delegation was able to engage in very high quality and high level dialogue with the President of Tatarstan and local authorities in Kazan, Samara, Tolyatti, Moscow and St. Petersburg”, Alexandre Missoffe explained.
With the planet having passed the point, in 2015, of 500 cities numbering over a million inhabitants and imminently at which the citizens of these cities will account for 70 % of the world’s population, the way in which cities organise themselves and determine how they will function constitutes a challenge faced by all countries, recalls the PCE.
3 questions to Alexandre Missoffe, Director General of PCE
”With Grand Paris, France is strengthening its expertise in the field of sustainable cities”
What is the sense of the agreement signed on May 25 between PCE and the Russia’s Deputy Minister for Construction and Urban Services?
At the instigation of its President, Christian Nibourel, the PCE has committed to enhancing the status and expertise of the ‘Grand Paris makers’, all of whose talents and expertise are contributing to the success of this tremendous challenge.
The March 28th event at the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) dedicated to Grand Paris makers was an important step in this work, coming at a time when we are advancing contacts and exchanges with representatives of major urban development projects from other countries. The future of modern societies will be urban and will be metropolitan. But it remains to be seen whether this future will bring chaos in terms of the environment, health and society, or whether – on the contrary – we will succeed in creating sustainable cities. Sustainable in the original and indeed all senses of the word: sustainable in terms of ensuring equilibrium at environmental, social, economic and human levels.
What will the Grand Paris makers bring to the table?
All across the world, development projects in large cities are seeking planning models that correspond to their own unique strengths whilst also sharing broadly similar goals. Amongst these, Grand Paris stands out due to its scale and ambition, and by the project’s original intent, which goes far beyond the scope of an urban development project in its aim to create a true model of economic development rooted in the cross-pollination of human activity, sustainable cities and high quality environments for living. Above all, France possesses a reputation for excellence in the various fields related to this project. Through its major players in transport, construction, civil engineering, through its profusion of young innovative companies that are pushing forward the vitality of French savoir-faire and through its pioneering of new processes that are of great interest to other countries, such as ‘Let’s Invent The Metropolis’ (‘Inventons la métropole’) and the consultations and debates organised by the Société Grand Paris (SGP). The combination of these different aspects creates a significant momentum to export our expertise and build teams that can provide foreign cities with a global answer. With Grand Paris, France is strengthening its expertise in the field of sustainable, attractive and efficient cities. Both the ambition and intent of Grand Paris demand a new degree of creativity in terms of leading and innovating in city planning and development. In this way, the experience gained from this exceptional project can be added to the excellence of resources employed.
Large urban areas of Russia are particularly suited to trialling this mechanism. Hence we organised a visit, with the support of Andrei Tchibis and the Russian Federal Ministry of Construction and Urban Services, taking in various urban areas in the Volga Basin where municipalities are very interested in exchanges in this field. During the course of five days, we visited five major cities: Kazan, Samara, Tolyatti, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in each we met with representatives of local and national authorities and also business groups. At each stage of the trip, the quality of the exchanges and the reception we received confirmed the original principle and thus we decided, along with Andrei Tchibis and his teams, to go further, and formalised the project in a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
In concrete terms, we will now work with the Federal Ministry and the participating Russian cities on in depth diagnostics, to look at what the Greater Paris makers’ expertise and experience can bring to them. The Grand Paris makers will then propose solutions and participate in bringing them to fruition – either individually or as a team. “The Russian regions participating in the ‘Innovative Territories’ programme are very economically dynamic places in which France could benefit greatly from gaining a presence via this programme.”