A smarter way to plan smart cities? Singapore and EDF partner on urban modeling

Tue, 2013-06-25 14:18 -- Jesse Berst

There's a lot to like about the announcement below, which details a significant partnership between Singapore and EDF with a contribution from Veolia Environnement. Singapore is a get-things-done city. If it is marching down the smart city path, we can be assured that the results will provide further momentum to the smart cities movement. And further justification for other cities to get on board.

planning smart citiesSmart Cities Council member EDF is a core partner. The more I get to know this giant French company, the more I am impressed by the breadth of its capabilities. Although it is one of the world's largest electric power utilities, it is far more.

Consider, for example, the modeling and simulation that is at the core of this partnership. Why make your mistakes in real life at great expense and time? Instead, do your experiments on the computer, where mistakes are "free." Of course, this only works if you have the skills and computing power to model complex systems with great accuracy. I await the results of this collaboration with great interest. Happily, the agreement includes a new Centre of Excellence that will push the boundaries of urban planning. Both EDF and Singapore are intent on using this initiative to develop a new urban monitoring tool. -- Jesse Berst

EDF and Singapore, in partnership with Veolia Environnement, innovating to make the future of the cities sustainable using advanced modelling approach


The Research and Development department of EDF and the Research and Innovation department of Veolia (VERI) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with the Housing Development Board of Singapore (HDB).

EDF R&D and VERI propose, through a dedicated project, "ForCity", to build a decision- support tool for Singapore urban planning based on Singapore's challenges and systemic models. This tool will be developed in close collaboration with the Housing Development Board (HDB), and with the support of two local authorities, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB). This decision support tool will enable Singapore to optimize its strategic choices by allowing the comparison of different strategies through maps, 3D scenes, graphics and tables. It will deliver short-term tools for decision support for urban development of the district of Jurong East and other parts of Singapore.

This project gathers a unique expertise developed by operating utilities in cities around the world, optimizing long and midterm urban development by handling the complex interactions between topics such as energy, waste, water and transport management, and specifically by placing the general public at the centre of its approach.

The MOU covers the following topics: the most efficient coupling of buildings (residential and tertiary), cooling and waste collection, strategies for an existing or new HDB town and "Greenprint" issues (Singapore's ecological development plan), such as Photo Voltaic integration, green roofs and water recycling at the local level.

This MOU is the first step for a very ambitious and fruitful collaboration on sustainable city projects with the creation of a Center of excellence dedicated to research and innovations for urban planning using complex systems modeling. The objective is to address Singapore's ambitious challenges and from this leading city, to help other S.E. Asian Nations with solving complex planning decisions.

Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said: "We are delighted that EDF and Veolia has decided a Global Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cities and collaborating with Singapore government agencies on urban planning design. This investment affirms Singapore's position as a Living Lab where companies can develop, trial and commercialize innovative solutions in a real-life urban environment. This is also aligned with Singapore's push to grow the clean technology and urban sustainability sectors."

Mr Tan Siong Leng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), said: "We are encouraged to see this collaboration between HDB and EDF and Veolia. As cities grow, land use planners have to take into account the increasingly complex inter-dependencies in the different urban systems that make up a city- for example, the energy grid, water and waste management network, transportation and utilities. This complex systems modeling tool can potentially complement our work by quantifying these inter-relationships and how they change with different land use plans, as well as recommend planning and urban design strategies that can be adopted to enhance Singapore's livability and resilience."

The EDF Group, one of the leaders in the European energy market, is an integrated energy company active in all areas of the business: generation, transmission, distribution, energy supply and trading. The Group is the leading electricity producer in Europe. In France, it has mainly nuclear and hydraulic production facilities where 96.5% of the electricity output is CO2-free. EDF's transmission and distribution subsidiaries in France operate 1,285,000 km of low and medium voltage overhead and underground electricity lines and around 100,000 km of high and very high voltage networks. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 27.9 million customers in France. The Group generated consolidated sales of € 65.3 billion in 2011, of which 43.1% was achieved outside of France. EDF is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and is a member of the CAC 40 index.


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.