This week end, on the French Riviera, the legendary Cote d’Azur was transformed into a chaos because of a « simple » and sudden thunderstorm.
The spectacular flood of water and mud in the city of festivals came out to be a nightmare and people died.
One week before, I sat in Marseilles, a few kilometers away, to a bright conference about smart city and the mediterrean area, the SmartCity Marseille-Mediterranée Forum.
There I was convinced by the rational arguments of the future of our cities, so intelligent and secure for citizens that almost nothing bad could ever happen. Cities of hope, digital predictability and holistic « better live together »
Some voices , like Professor Carlos Moreno, yet, spoke about resilience, metabolic disorders in cities and climatic challenge. He also mentioned the inner fragility of collective living, which is an interesting concept facing the virile power of present and future infrastructures. Mr Moreno also pointed out the vulnerabilty of the whole coast (including Marseilles as a harbour city).
I am not sure that anyone really heard the message. But the message was : when almost 80% of the world population is about to live in cities within the next 25 years, there is an emergency call to make the most of what is ahead : thanks to the GAFA, 2,5 billion of people are now connected together in the world. Thanks to the strength of this multitude at the scale of each city, people could become caregivers and volunteers in a very short period of time.
The key sensors of the smart cities are the people themselves. This should be the cause for hope, not for despair. Now technology is ready to warn people about what is happening for real in the immediate present and lead them to action.
Why not try to make it work for real ?
If social change is now in hold thanks to a sinless combination of digital, mental agility and smart citizenship, there is no reason why the city leaders, our electors representatives at all levels could not take it as an opportunity to share more information, especially when such vital risks are at stake. Only one button to push !
Therefore, this is a call for proposals to the whole PACA region that should be launched before the new regional elections : what can be done to activate a secure and reversible smart region in the next decade ?
 Chairman of the international Forum « Live in a Living city and scientific advisor of the CEO of Cofely Ineo