Paris – where the sustainable city of the future is under construction

On 26 October 2016, Paris Region Entreprises – the regional economic development agency for Paris Region – and Promosalons, the global partner network for French trade fairs, staged a day of meetings and networking in Milan’s Palazzo Lombardia focused on the theme of “The ideal city”.

A delegation of eight leading Paris Region trade shows from the building, construction, environment, transport and logistics sectors each gave insights into three key current issues:
- Building a smart city
- Challenges in transport and urban mobility
- New solutions and technologies for a sustainable city

The event, which was opened by Paul Hunsinger, Minister Counsellor at the French Embassy, was also an opportunity to tell 80 Italian journalists and influencers about the many business opportunities Paris Region and its trade shows offer Italian companies.

Paris Region: aiming to be Europe’s first eco-region.

The ideal city is one where people can come and live without any feeling of constraint,” said Robin Rivaton, Chief Executive of Paris Region Entreprises. “We predict that one million more people will be living in Paris Region in 15 years’ time – bringing the total population to more than 13 million. Which is why, alongside the stations on the Grand Paris Express network, we’ll be seeing the emergence of around one hundred eco-neighbourhoods, comprising some 50,000 eco-accredited homes.

Paris Region has been developed in line with principles which are now recognised as those of sustainable development – it’s a dense and multi-functional city, self-contained both as a living environment and as a hub for businesses,” explained Frédérique de Bast – International Marketing Director for Paris Region Entreprises.
In both the construction and mobility sectors, all Paris Region stakeholders have embarked on major initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and improve energy efficiency. Today, Paris Region has many assets to contribute to the creation of the ideal city:

  • Expertise: the proven expertise of major French corporations (such as Bouygues Immo, Eiffage, Vinci, Schneider and EDF), supplemented by technologies developed by start-ups.
  • Mobility: multimodality, for managing logistics flows of goods and passenger journeys in an eco-friendly way.
  • Innovation: at the heart of Paris Region are two competitiveness clusters focused on the sustainable city, Advancity and Moveo. These bring together a high concentration of academic research and, in each instance, work in association with start-ups, students, residents and businesses.
  • Major projects: the Grand Paris Express rail network, the 2024 Olympic Games bid, the World Expo 2025 bid, plus many other major competitions driving urban innovation (Réinventer Paris, Inventons la Métropole, Dessine-moi le Grand Paris de Demain, Innov’up, Paris Urban Lab).

Frédérique de Bast also added that “the Paris Region eco-system is currently laying down a blueprint for the city of the future. Effectively, this whole region is engaged in the challenge of founding the ideal city”.

Leading, innovative international trade shows offering major business opportunities

Olivier Mellerio, President of Promosalons, highlighted France’s leadership in exhibition organisation: “More than 450 international events are organised in France each year, 320 of them trade shows and 250 located in Paris Region, spanning a vast range of sectors. One of the defining features of these shows is their global reach – one in three visitors is international, as are nearly half of the exhibitors. Historically, Italy is the no.1 client of these French trade fairs: each year, nearly 51,000 Italian visitors and 5,400 Italian exhibitors take part in French events.

He also emphasised that France hosts a significant number of leading exhibitions in the construction, environment, transport and logistics sectors. “We warmly invite all Italian professionals in these sectors to come to our trade shows: they provide an ideal platform for capturing export markets, meeting international players and discovering innovations, particularly in the various sectors helping to shape the ideal city.”

Finally, Olivier Mellerio underlined the fact that French trade shows represent a profitable investment for exhibiting businesses. “Research carried out by Unimev (France’s national association of event professions), has shown that every euro invested in exhibiting at a French trade show generates a return on investment (ROI) of 8 euros, in sales terms, in the ten months following the event.


Catherine Rousselot, Marketing and Communications Director of the Construction Division at Reed Expositions France, put it succinctly: “The first building block of any smart city is, of course, the buildings themselves. Buildings are becoming smart, sustainable and responsible to deliver optimum comfort and convenience for their users. The Mondial du Bâtiment is the cornerstone of this sector, playing a crucial role in helping industry players build the ideal cities of the future.”

According to Cécile Touret, Director of Carrefour International du Bois, the International Timber Tradeshow, “wood is a natural, renewable resource that stores CO2 and produces oxygen, and nowadays it is an unrivalled source of inspiration for architects who are bringing nature back into the city. Construction with wood is seeing steady growth in France and across Europe, reflecting the drive to make the ideal city a present-day reality. The success of the International Timber Tradeshow in Nantes reflects this trend perfectly.

Isabelle Alfano, Director of the Construction division at Comexposium and Director of Intermat, talked about “the challenges of recent developments with respect to urban construction materials – in particular the emphasis on environmental credentials and recycling. Low-impact construction is what the companies taking part in Intermat are seeking to achieve: and new technologies and solutions are emerging – helping them to minimise noise pollution, for example”.


According to Mario Fiems, Director of EQUIP AUTO, “smart mobility, soon to include autonomous mobility, is currently one of society’s major challenges, given the phenomenal medium-term growth of urban populations worldwide. Designing vehicles tailored to the needs of individuals and goods goes hand-in-hand with an ever more stringent examination of how we manage the entire life cycle for these vehicles.
EQUIP AUTO, the leading trade show in services for connected mobility, is fully attuned to these key trends and developments, offering not just a wide range of solutions but also a unique platform for discussion – opening the way for new ideas and promoting innovation for mobility

The new Director of the Paris Motor Show, Jean-Claude Girot, showed how the automobile is reinventing itself and remains the key to urban mobility in the future. The cars of the future were in the spotlight at the latest edition of the Paris Motor Show, which Jean-Claude Girot summed up in three words: “Dream, passion and business.

Transports Publics, the European mobility exhibition, was represented by its director, Sophie Castagne, who said: “With very low emissions, public transport – along with cycling and walking – represents one of the best solutions for travelling in the city. These days, digital technologies are making public transport ever more responsive to the needs of individual travellers, better integrated and interconnected with other modes of travel.

David Puech, Marketing and Communications Director of SITL, the International Week of Transport and Logistics, highlighted “the need to rethink urban logistics. Flows of goods and flows of people represent one and the same challenge in terms of urban traffic management. The aim is to overcome the regulatory constraints on urban environments and promote the emergence of new initiatives serving new consumption models. The key here is in flow consolidation, route optimisation, using zero-emission vehicles, multi-modality and sharing the urban space more effectively: local storage facilities, parking management, automated locker systems, etc. All these innovative urban logistics solutions will be presented at the upcoming SITL, the B2B event for urban logistics.


According to Stéphanie Gay, Director of Pollutec and World Efficiency, “the ideal city must cater for the needs of its citizens, with immediate effect. Politicians take a pragmatic approach here: within the course of their mandate – just five years, in most cases – they are looking to implement operational solutions in terms of urban planning, engineering, eco-construction, energy efficiency, eco-industries and urban services, mobility, and so on. The international trade shows Pollutec and World Efficiency bring together the businesses and experts developing sustainable solutions tailored to these needs.

All these issues are set to take centre stage at the upcoming editions of the Paris Region international trade shows, which will feature all the latest ideas and innovations in urban development. These events are unique think tanks – synonymous with new solutions, emerging trends and the technologies of the future. So don’t miss out! Here are the key dates for your diaries: