The figures are well known but arresting. Cities today cover 2% of the Earth’s surface, are home to 50% of the world’s population, consume 75% of global energy, and give off 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. And cities are growing: by 2050, they will be home to 70% of the world’s population. This means that over the next 40 years we need to provide new urban capacity equivalent to that of the past 4,000 years.

As the world wonders how to meet the challenge of the growing demand for energy and resources while at the same time drastically reducing global carbon emissions, one thing is clear: this challenge will be won, or lost, in cities. The word “challenge” suddenly seems inadequate.

Cities today, all over the world, are plagued by congestion, sprawl, power shortages, water scarcities, unaffordable public services, and many other urban ills.

To retain or regain their attractiveness and competitiveness – to survive – cities need to become smarter: more efficient, more sustainable, and more liveable.

The solutions exist

The key is for all stakeholders to work together to introduce the best solutions and combine them, collaborating across sectors. Cities are a complex value chain, involving not just local governments and inhabitants, but local businesses, utilities, real estate developers and managers, and investors.

As cities embark on their journey to becoming “smart”—whether because they are to host a major event, need to expand, want to relieve pain points, or more generally plan their future—they need to bring in all stakeholders, including the private sector, from the start. The solutions exist. Making them work requires collaboration across sectors to find the best solutions, combine them and ensure cost-effectiveness, compliance and funding over time.


About Emmanuel Lagarrigue

Emmanuel Lagarrigue, 42, is Senior Vice-President Corporate Strategy of Schneider Electric. Previously, he spent 18 years working for Schneider Electric in several countries in Western Europe and South America, holding positions in sales, marketing and general management. Emmanuel graduated from IESE Business School, Barcelona (Spain) and ENSEEIHT, Toulouse (France). Emmanuel has recently relocated his office from Europe to Hong Kong.

Emmanuel Lagarrigue will be among the speakers at “What makes a city smart” (16 Nov, 15.15-16.00) at MIPIM Asia.

About Schneider Electric

At Schneider Electric, we deliver efficient and sustainable urban infrastructures. We provide innovative, expert solutions in smart grid, smart mobility, smart water, smart buildings and homes, smart public services. We tailor our solutions to cities’ unique needs. We bring recognised integration capabilities. And we collaborate with other best-in-class players. We know what it takes. We help make it happen.

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