Six Questions to our Replication Cities: Bordeaux


Six Questions to Christophe Colinet
Smart City Project Manager, Bordeaux-Métropole

Tell us about Bordeaux’s journey towards becoming a smart city

Bordeaux-Métropole was undergoing a series of major development projects when our partnership with Sharing Cities began. With an already established mobility offer in Bordeaux, this was a time for us to set our objectives for upgrading the city’s digital infrastructure and exploring the potential of 5G. These objectives were very much inspired by the smart lamppost works of the programme.

Sharing Cities is very much centred around collaboration. The programme has enabled a much more cross-sectoral, joined-up methodology for developing and implementing smart solutions. The peer-to-peer learning visits in London, Milan and Lisbon played a huge part in informing our own thinking and approach.

I would say that Sharing Cities has contributed to shaping a new smart city mindset within our organisation – which could be, in my opinion, the project’s most important legacy.

What were, in your opinion, the programme’s key successes?

To date, one of the most successful outcomes has been our replication strategy for the deployment of smart lampposts.

To put things into context, Bordeaux Metropolis is formed of 28 communes - a conglomerate of towns and cities, with population of nearly 1 million. Whilst public lighting is traditionally independently managed by each commune, in 2018 the decision was taken to centralise the management of smart lampposts for the whole metropolis – a significant undertaking.

Huge progress was made in terms of setting a new governance framework and developing a rollout strategy for the lampposts. More recently, some political events in Bordeaux have delayed our plans, notably the resignation of our charismatic mayor Alain Juppé, former prime minister in France, and the Gilets Jaunes movement. We hope the next local municipal elections will provide the political support and commitment necessary to move things forward. 

Tell us about some of the challenges you’ve encountered

Funding has been one of the most pressing challenges. Although we have sought funding at the national, regional and local level and through the European Structural Funds, we have not been able to find the necessary resources. As we know, funding for projects of this scale is tied to political will and commitment. For now, this is just a question of timing. 

How would you define Bordeaux’s replication strategy?

When we talk about replication in pragmatic terms, we must take into account both standardisation and interoperability. These two elements, combined with benchmarking outputs, will enable us to replicate smart solutions with coherence, adaptability and scale.

What advice would you give to other cities interested in replication?

Securing the funds right from the outset – in our experience, it doesn’t get easier later!
Planning for the long term. This means creating solutions that can be standardised and more easily replicated from one city to another.  

What does the future hold for Bordeaux?

Our team has been working on a decision-making framework ready for our next policy makers. The Sharing Cities playbooks will be a key instrument in this process.

Meanwhile, we will continue to consolidate our smart city plans for the cities around Bordeaux Metropolis under one unified vision and framework. We are confident this will provide much greater benefits to our citizens and cities in the long run. 

About Sharing Cities

The Sharing Cities ‘lighthouse’ project is a testbed for finding better, common approaches to making smart cities a reality. By fostering international collaboration between industry and cities, the project aims to develop affordable, integrated, commercial-scale smart city solutions with high market potential. Sharing Cities is a part of a family of projects that make up the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP SCC01 – Lighthouse Projects).


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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement N°691895

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