Designing and creating functional, desirable urban spaces that have little impact on the environment and are well integrated into their surroundings.

Ecodesigning and promoting sustainable towns and cities

More than half of humanity is now concentrated in urban and suburban areas. The authorities responsible for organising and administering these towns and cities must therefore be able to manage complex practical issues (housing, economic activities, provision of resources, transport and interaction with the surrounding area, waste and effluent management, communication, etc.), while making allowance for the social aspirations of the inhabitants (safety, inclusion, solidarity, equality, comfort, entertainment, etc.). A genuinely sustainable city must reconcile these multiple expectations while at the same time controlling the environmental and carbon footprint inherent in the extremely high density of individuals and activities found there.

We have been assisting local and regional authorities for many years in their decisions and actions with regard to the design and development of sustainable towns and cities. In the framework of drawing up development master plans and creating ecodistricts, we work with them in applying certain fundamental principles: a functional mix of neighbourhoods, rehabilitation of brownfield sites and vertical construction to rebuild cities on top of existing ones, structuring around public transport networks, reintroduction of nature into the city, modernisation of all basic infrastructure, deployment of digital systems for collecting and managing data, etc. We also initiate, coordinate or take part in many innovative think tanks and in the creation of demonstrators dedicated to sustainable cities.

Bringing nature back into the urban environment

Faced with climate change and the disappearance of species, the various players involved in urban development are paying greater attention to ways to bring nature back into our cities. Indeed, “”natural”” spaces provide a whole range of services, in particular by improving a city’s resilience. They make it easier for rainwater to infiltrate into the ground, cool the atmosphere and combat the formation of heat islands. They help to restore biodiversity and act as leisure areas for citizens, who often rank them as a leading criterion for urban well-being.

Artelia has specialists dedicated to the various issues of nature in the city, the greening of buildings and the conservation of biodiversity in the urban environment. We are working on a wide variety of projects, some of which are very large, like the Grand Parc Garonne initiated by the city of Toulouse (France), which aims to restore the river banks over a distance of 32 km and link the city, the river and nature harmoniously together. We are working on several projects involving green corridors, green roofs and façades, new parks, gardens and even urban forests.

Our environmentalists provide their know-how in the fields of ecological assessments, identification of species of special interest and recommendations regarding the conservation or restoration of biodiversity in such urban environments subject to many forms of stress (light pollution, loss of greenfield land, fragmentation, high user numbers, etc.). In France, we are involved in rolling out the Biodiversity quality label to be awarded for the inclusion of biodiversity at the scale of a building, plot of land or neighbourhood.

Relying on optimised, connected infrastructure

Modernising and perfecting basic infrastructure are obviously crucial goals in improving the way cities function, reducing their consumption and limiting their greenhouse gas emissions. High hopes are now being placed in the digital management of such infrastructure and the various urban flows associated with them (water, energy, traffic, waste, effluent, etc.).

We are well acquainted with the different types of infrastructure underpinning cities and the services expected of them. We work on drinking water supply schemes, the development of renewable energy, urban lighting and signage, all transport modes, sewerage systems and waste water treatment plants, always with the threefold goal of making qualitative and quantitative improvements in the services provided, consuming fewer resources and limiting environmental impacts. In a similar vein, we take part in projects to connect these various structures and networks in order to improve the way they are managed. As an example, we have helped to implement data collection and management systems in several urban areas in order to optimise their street lighting and parking facilities. We are currently studying various other possibilities, in particular for the city of Paris.


Improving quality of life mitigating and adapting to climate change


More livable cities

Grand parc Garonne, île du Ramier

Creating a major natural, urban and river...