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Forum Green & Connected Cities at the European Parliament in Strasburg

Forum Green & Connected Cities at the European Parliament in Strasburg

A guest lecturer at Green & Connected Cities, L. Neyssensas explained the school’s approach to sustainable development and the role of interaction designers in creating tools to facilitate decision-making and user-friendly behaviors.

European Parliament - credits: Laurent Neyssenses

"Experimenting and maintaining innovative initiatives to make cities more sustainable and connected"

Jointly run by ACIDD and the Grenoble Management School, this cluster counts 21 connected and sustainable cities and urban communities in Europe and the Mediterranean area. It aims at finding concrete solutions to the social and environmental pooling of ideas the contemporary issues in the cities of the twentieth century. Based on fruitful cross-disciplinary pooling of ideas the Green & Connected Cities Cluster weaves together a number of cities, companies, experts, researchers, associations and institutions willing to experiment and maintain innovative solutions to make cities more sustainable and connected.

Digital technologies are used to come up with facilitating tools and induce changes in citizen behavior. During the operational phase in Bordeaux in July 2009 we mainly worked on Ecocenters 2.0, thought up as urban evolutive and innovative spots to promote economic, cultural and social innovation within sustainable cities.


Fisherman in front of the European Parliament - credits: Laurent Neyssenses

A collective reflection about uses and behaviors in the city

The participants then met a second time at a forum held in a quite intimidating setting – the European Parliament – that combined forum plenary conferences and workshops. This gathering was to imagine scenarios, to do some action-planning and to build up a group dynamics based on trust and exchange.

I made a speech as part of the workshop on city dwellers’ uses and behaviors.

No truly sustainable development process can be implemented if we don’t change our habits in depth first. Persons, companies, local authorities, associations, institutions must evolve their working habits (turn to distance working for instance), see hierarchy in a less vertical fashion, optimize decision-making…

Designers are driving forces of sustainable development. They must take a proactive stance in these ongoing shifts. Spanning a large field of action (spatial design, product design, graphic design and interaction design), designers act global and set up a number of actions that prompt users to naturally adopt new behaviors – as opposed to being forced into changing – never losing sight of economic realities. Interaction designers focus on setting up measuring tools (sensors, energy consumption meters, smart metering devices1), and keep improving information display and decision-making tools.


Interaction design and eco-citizens

Internet, the web 2.0, metaverses2, serious games3, datataintment4 and infovisualization: a whole range of tools to explain, simulate and help users switch to new behaviors. This forum was a good opportunity to set forth and explain design as a profession, all too often thought to be only about style or environment and not service-oriented at all.

This cluster adds up to all business clusters and local authorities to spark off cross-disciplinary encounters, to break free from age-old preconceived models (decision models, management models, inspirational models, economic models, life models in a word…) Completely worn-out models that fail to produce original, enjoyable and sustainable innovation.

Laurent Neyssensas

Faculty / In charge of Interaction Design Trends Monitoring



1. The word metaverse (portmanteau word of "meta" and "universe") was coined in the novel Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. It is now commonly used to describe the vision underlying ongoing developments in totally immersive virtual 3D universes.

2. A serious game is a computer application that aims for a a serious objective (education, information, communications, marketing, ideology, training) using playful methods derived from video games or computer simulation.

4. Portmanteau word made of "data" & "entertainment" coined by Grégoire Cliquet, Course Leader for Undrgraduate Studies in Interaction Design. Read more about it here.