Nantes : "Innovation by all and for all" The European Commission awarded Nantes the title of European Capital of Innovation 2019 for its ability to "use democratic participation to meet such challenges as energy efficiency, population ageing, digital transformation and social inclusion". We take a closer look at seven initiatives that capture the city's spirit.
1 / Nantes : French tech Capital
In late 2014, Nantes was one of the first major cities to earn the French Tech label, before going on to become French Tech Capital in March 2019. The "City of the Dukes" is one of the 13 ecosystems chosen by the French government to be digital strongholds. Nantes' roadmap is built around five main principles: foster hypergrowth start-ups (iAdvize, Gens deconfiance, Akénéo), expand onto the international scene, encourage the Deep Tech (disruptive technologies) and Tech for Good (projects that have a positive impact on the environment, people and society) movements, boost the attractiveness of talents and diversity in the digital and high-tech professions. Nantes' French Tech also acts as a coordinator and driver for the region as a whole.
2 / The Great Debates
In 2014, 2016 and 2019, the Nantes metropolitan area organised three major community debates of the topics of the Loire River, the energy transition and ageing and longevity. The people of Nantes went online or gathered in groups to discuss the topics, suggest initiatives and take part in workshops to construct a far-reaching analysis and consideration of these issues with the wider community. At the end of the debates, the city councillors were tasked with drawing together and summing up the citizens' input and responding with concrete solutions.
3 / The 15 places to reinvent
When the City of Nantes decided to redevelop various disused and brownfield sites and public buildings, it invited input from the city's residents in an operation named "15 sites to reinvent" launched in 2018! Of the 81 projects initially put forward, 14 were finally chosen by a community vote. After some refurbishment work, the sites are now enjoying a fresh lease of life throughout the city. Associations, community groups and professionals are carrying out projects with a focus on ecology, community solidarity or culture. Come and see what's happening at the Cocotte Solidaire, Fresch’heure or the Galerie du Zéro Déchet !
4 / Nantes City Lab
In spring 2017, Nantes Métropole launched Nantes City Lab, a life-size experimental laboratory and "innovation catalyst" for the city and its users. To earn the Nantes City Lab label, the projects must be collaborative – the stakeholders can operate in the public or private sector – and have some bearing on the Nantes Metropolitan Area. Several of the projects have already made news headlines, including the 3D-printed house (Yhnova), the self-driving shuttle and the Nuage connected street furniture.
5 / MySMARTLife
MySMARTLife is a European project led by Nantes Métropole, the Finnish capital, Helsinki, and Hamburg in Germany. It was launched in 2016 and is expected to last five years. The idea is to work on smart solutions for the urban transition. In the Nantes metropolitan area, the projects are more specifically focused on the energy transition. They include the monprojetrenov project, a digital boiler, smart electric vehicle charging stations, energy-efficient building renovations, photovoltaic power plants, optimisation of the district heating network and smart street lighting.