Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities
Leveraging on the school’s rich experience in developing research and education in urban and regional management, the Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities at ESSEC Asia-Pacific aims to enhance this understanding and capability of academics, students, business executives and government officials in the Asia-Pacific region, through education and research.
Sustainable Urban Planning for a Better Tomorrow
Leveraging the school’s rich experience in developing research and education in urban and regional management, the Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities at ESSEC Asia-Pacific aims, through education and research, to enhance the understanding and capabilities of students, business executives and government officials in the Asia-Pacific region with regard to the performance of cities and the mobilization of diverse stakeholders in cooperative and value-adding endeavours to improve city performance.
The Institute builds upon ESSEC Business School’s considerable experience in this field in Europe, through research and academic and executive education programmes.
Sylvain Remy, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities
A specialist of East Asia, economics and the utility industry, Mr Remy heads the Institute’s efforts to create a platform to foster knowledge exchange between academic experts, policy makers and business professionals in the Asia-Pacific region on sustainability and liveability in major cities. The Institute will leverage on ESSEC Business School’s well-established capabilities in Urban Strategy and Management education and research in Europe, Asia and Africa. Mr Remy previously advised large corporations, such as the French railway operator SNCF, mail operator La Poste, Swisslife, Manpower, and Essilor on business processes and information systems change management. He then served as economic advisor and utility industry specialist at the French Embassy in Korea for 6 years before joining ESSEC. Mr Remy holds an MSc in Management from ESSEC Business School and completed a post-graduate programme in economic modelling and econometrics from the Paris School of Economics. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Paris 1 University and Seoul National University, on the topic of the economies of industrial diversity in cities.
ESSEC’s Urban Expertise
ESSEC Business School has developed research and education in urban and regional management for over 40 years now, through a variety of initiatives. ESSEC has arguably pioneered:
- Urban Strategy and Management education in business schools;
- Education in Urban Strategy and Management targeting both public and private sector executives;
- A hybrid academic-practitioner approach to research in Urban Strategy and Management.
The Institute aims to both develop its own initiatives and approaches in research and education for the Asia-Pacific region, based on ESSEC’s extensive experience and capabilities, and to serve as a platform for Asia-Pacific oriented initiatives originating in ESSEC in Europe. Consequently, the Institute has developed ties with ESSEC’s Chair of Urban Economics, Europe.
Sustainable Development and Smart Cities
Cities are the prime movers and shakers in innovation and growth in the world. Six hundred cities generate 60% of the world’s GDP, on a fraction of the land. As a result, cities face challenges related to economic growth, i.e. innovativeness and competitiveness, sustainability, and social welfare. By 2025, as many as 125 developed-market cities may drop out of the top 600. And since cities are essentially agglomerations of people and activities, they must also face the specific challenges of urban concentration, such as infrastructural effectiveness and liveability. For example, just urban air pollution causes up to 2 million deaths and costs several GDP points per year worldwide. Asia is primarily concerned as its urban population is forecast to soar from 1.9 billion to 3.3 billion by 2050.
Since most growth takes place in cities and more and more people live in cities, many or most sustainability issues should be addressed through the perspective of Urban Strategy and Management. Urban Strategy and Management is key for balancing national development, city-level international competitiveness, and sustainable high-growth urbanization. In a nutshell, for innovative, growing, sustainable and liveable cities, we need smart cities, i.e. intelligent and connected cities. In the smart city, Urban Strategy and Management brings together and integrates analyses from multiple disciplines, e.g. economics, urban planning, engineering, sociology, and the viewpoints and interests of multiple stakeholders from government, business and society. In practice, this requires both a broad and a deep understanding of how cities perform, and the capability to engage and mobilize diverse stakeholders in value-added cooperation.
The Chair of Urban Economics
The Chair of Urban Economics, (Department of Law and Environment, ESSEC) develops research and tertiary education on the complex issues of managing cities and local areas/regions.
Over the years since its inception in 1988, the Chair has trained hundreds of students and government and business executives, advised dozens of governments and corporations, and produced widely published research and books. The Chair partners with 9 corporations and local governments, among which Veolia, a global leader in urban utility services, and EDF, a global leader in power services.
Uniquely, urban issues are systematically approached from the perspectives of both the public and private sectors, including national urban policy, local government policy and management, and private developer and operator management. Students are provided multidisciplinary perspectives on urban issues, e.g. urban planning, urban and regional economics, policy, urban and real estate laws and regulations.
Through case studies, field studies and discussions with professionals, students are also trained in the practical administration and management techniques of the public and private sectors in the field of urban and regional development and management. This conceptual and practical toolbox addresses economic development, balanced social and environmental development, and urban planning. Graduates of the Chair’s track within ESSEC’s Master of Science in Management typically move on to careers as managers and executives of urban and regional developers and operators, local governments or government agencies.
The Chair has run several projects in partnership with key institutions and partners, including:
- Project consultant for the development of “Mohamed 6” new city in Benguerir municipality for Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), Morocco
- Study of strategic urban planning across multiple town governments of the Paris region for the Paris region government
- Concept study of a generic railway “station square” for the future Greater Paris rapid transit network (“Grand Paris Express”) for Bouygues Construction
- Advising on EDF’s international sustainable cities initiatives for EDF
- Design and management of an executive education programme for Veolia Environnement
View a comprehensive list of the projects run by the Chair of Urban Economics at this page.
The Chair of Urban Economics is also behind the following initiatives:
- ESSEC Master’s in Urban and Real Estate Management for graduates and young professionals;
- ESSEC Master’s in General Management of Cities and Regions for seasoned executives and professionals of the public and private sectors (part-time);
- Advisory and research services to governments and corporations on issues of Urban Strategy and Management.
Singapore-France Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development
With the support of the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) and the French overseas development aid agency (AFD), ESSEC Asia-Pacific welcomed public officials of several ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) for a Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development on 3-12 November 2014 in Singapore.
Comprising a mix of lectures and site visits to related areas in Singapore, the programme was organised with the aim of giving participants insights into achievements of integrated and sustainable urban development in both France and Singapore, and raise awareness of urban issues and sustainable solutions.
The Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities, ESSEC Business School
Nanyang Technological University
With the support of
French overseas development aid agency (AFD)
Singapore Cooperation Programme
The Singapore-France Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development began on 3rd November at ESSEC Asia- Pacific.The opening ceremony of the Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development on 3rd November was graced by Prof Hervé Mathe, Dean of ESSEC Asia-Pacific, Mr Antoine Chery, Head of Regional Economic Services at the Embassy of France in Singapore, Mr Dominique Hautbergue, French Agency for Overseas Development Aid (AFD), Ms Pearle Kuan, Assistant Director, Technical Cooperation Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Singapore, Mr Nicolas Ledoux, Senior Manager at Algoé Consultants and Mr Sylvain Remy, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.
Learn more about the Opening Ceremony
During the programme, participants had a first-hand experience of integrated urban development in Singapore through visits to the HDB Centre for Building Research, the Singapore Sports Hub, Surbana, Treelodge@Punggol, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, developing a better understanding of the achievements that Singapore has had in terms of sustainable urban development in the process.
Lectures by both academic and corporate experts in the field provided an opportunity for participants to understand the steps taken by public and private institutions in France and the world in pursuing sustainable urban development. Representatives from companies such as Alstom, Bollore, Bouygues, EDF, Jacques Ferrier Architecture, Schneider, Thales, Transdev and Veolia shared their experience and perspectives on related issues.
Dr. Patrick Lecomte, Senior Research Fellow at ESSEC Business School, also delivered a lecture on "Sustainable Real Estate: A French Perspective", which provided participants with an overview of France’s experience in terms of sustainable real estate.
Learn more about Dr. Lecomte's lecture
Download the Highlight Report
What Participants Say
Interview with Mr Rafael Christopher Lagura Yap, Executive Director, Cebu City Government, Philippines
What were your objectives for attending the Singapore-France Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development and were they achieved?
When the invitation came to us, we wanted to join specifically for three reasons: one was capacity building, another one was knowledge sharing, and the third was getting to know the best practices of both Singapore and France. During the course of the seminar, we did achieve these objectives. We were able to share our knowledge with our fellow participants, we were able to get a feel for the best practices of both Singapore and France from both the public and private sector, and we were able to build up capacity on our end specifically through the lectures and site visits.
In your opinion, what was the most beneficial aspect of the Joint Seminar?
I think that the most beneficial aspect of the programme was in the sharing of the private sector, of their partnerships with the public sector. As you know, the demands on the public sector are increasingly complex, they are becoming more and more technical and more and more specific, so the public sector alone cannot handle these demands. Partnerships with the private sector with their own capacity with their own resources is a very good trend in public-private partnerships in recent years. For me, this was the most beneficial aspect of the programme.
Did the lectures and site visits allow you to gain insights into achievements of integrated and sustainable development in Singapore, and what was your most memorable site visit?
Definitely. We were able to gain a lot of insights through the site visits and the lectures. For me, coming from a transport and traffic perspective, the most educational, the most beneficial of the site visits was to the Kim Chuan Depot and the LTA Intelligent Transport Systems centre. We learnt a lot about how a first-class public transportation system is managed in Singapore. We hope to at least apply just a small bit of what we learnt so that the benefits we can reap for our own countries, our own cities, will be phenomenal. We learnt a lot, and for me, the LTA ITS and the Kim Chuan Depot visits were really the most significant and the most memorable.
Interview with Mr Sunaryo, Expert Staff to Governor, Government of Central Java, Indonesia
What were your objectives for attending the France-Singapore Joint Seminar on Integrated Urban Development and were they achieved?
My main objective to attend this training is to broaden my perspectives in integrated urban planning and try to enlarge our network, both in Europe and Asia, so that we can really learn from both sides. And I do believe that I have achieved my objectives from this training.
In your opinion, what was the most beneficial aspect of the Joint Seminar?
The most beneficial aspect of the programme is to be able to better understand integrated urban planning. When we think about integrated urban planning, we not only have to think about the technicality, but also the philosophy of urban planning itself, how to formulate the problem, and how we define the need of the urban planning as much as possible.
Did the lectures and site visits allow you to gain insights into achievements of integrated and sustainable urban development in Singapore, and what was your most memorable site visit?
Yes. Singapore has given us very vivid information – not only the details of how it works, but also how the history of Singapore has played an impact on integrated urban planning for the nation. The most memorable company visit was to the incineration plant, to learn about the possibility of solving the waste management problem by putting waste to good use.