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Cities of Tomorrow

September 23, 2020 @ 8:00 am 9:30 am PDT

A French-American Perspective on Security and Trust in the Digital Age

About this Event

The Office for Science and Technology (OST) of the Embassy of France in the US is happy to host a new series of webinars which will explore the future of cities and the importance of security and trust in the digital age.

Each month, we will provide a space for French and American experts to present innovative projects that address complex issues connected to digitalization that cities are facing. This will be an opportunity for actors on both sides of the Atlantic, from academia, government and industry, to engage and learn from each other to promote a more trustworthy development of cities that balances safety, inclusion and innovation.

Each webinar will start by short presentations (15-20 min each) by project leaders and then move to a Q&A session with registered participants. Other observers are encouraged to reach out to the Office for Science and Technology for further information on the presentations or to connect with the experts.

This series of webinars will culminate in a French-American Innovation Day (FAID), a physical event in Washington, DC which will take place in 2021.


The first event in this series will take place on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 between 11:00-12:30 (EST). For this launch event, the OST is partnering with our colleagues at the Consulate General of France in Boston and will welcome the presence of Philippe Chiambaretta (Architect-Urbanist and Founder of PCA-STREAM), Kent Larson (Director of the City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab) and Nigel Jacob (co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in the City of Boston)who will talk about the iconic Champs-Elysées renovation project, a successful French-American collaboration.

In his presentation, Philippe Chiambaretta will delve into the genesis of the project and provide insight into how data and models can be effectively leveraged to co-invent urban spaces with citizens and produce a more inclusive, desirable and sustainable city. Kent Larson will further expand on the role played by the MIT City Science research group within this collaboration and talk about research going on with other cities. Nigel Jacob, will provide some remarks and share some perspectives on French-American collaborations around urban planning in the digital age.

Claude Marin-Lamellet (Deputy VP for International Relations at Université Gustave Eiffel) will give an overview of the newly-formed Université Gustave Eiffel, a multidisciplinary university with several campuses in France that specializes in research on the cities of tomorrow.

Introductory and closing remarks will be made by the Embassy of France.


A link to the event will be provided by email to registered participants


Time provided are EST.

11:00 – 10:05

Brief introduction by Yves Frénot, Science Counsellor at the Embassy of France

11:05 – 11:35


of the Re-Enchanting the Champs-Elysées project by Philippe Chiambaretta (PCA-STREAM), Kent Larson (MIT City Sciences) and Nigel Jacob (co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in the City of Boston)

11:35 – 12:05

Q&A with registered participants

12:05 – 12:25

Presentation of Université Gustave Eiffel by Claude Marin-Lamellet (Université Gustave Eiffel)

12:25 – 12:30

Wrap-up and next webinars announcement

Philippe Chiambaretta

After a scientific and economic training at the École des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris and at MIT in Boston, and an experience in strategic consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton, Philippe Chiambaretta directed for nine years the international activities of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura in Paris. Graduated from the National School of Architecture Paris Belleville in 2000, he created PCA-STREAM, a research and architectural creation agency characterized by the synergy between thinking and doing. Resolutely focused on innovation, the city of tomorrow and new uses, the agency now has a multidisciplinary team of 90 employees with varied profiles (architects, urban planners, designers, engineers, researchers, publishers …) capable of understanding and responding to the increasingly complex issues of the contemporary world.

Kent Larson

Kent Larson directs the City Science (formerly Changing Places) group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing urban interventions that enable more entrepreneurial, livable, high-performance districts in cities. To that end, his projects include advanced simulation and augmented reality for urban design, transformable micro-housing for millennials, mobility-on-demand systems that create alternatives to private automobiles, and Urban Living Lab deployments in Hamburg, Andorra, Taipei, and Boston.

Larson and researchers from his group received the “10-Year Impact Award” from UbiComp 2014. This is a “test of time” award for work that, with the benefit of hindsight, has had the greatest impact over the previous decade.

Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City, with design work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, The New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest. The New York Times Review of Books selected his book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks (2000) as one of that year’s ten best books in architecture.

Nigel Jacob

Nigel Jacob is the Co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area.

He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, is currently a board member at organizations such as Code For America and coUrbanize, and is an Executive-in-Residence at Boston University.

Nigel’s work has been written about extensively in magazines such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Fast Company and books including The Responsive City, by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford and Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend.

This ground-breaking work has earned Nigel a number of awards including being named a Public Official of the year in 2011 by Governing Magazine, a Whitehouse Champion of Change and the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation award for 2012. Nigel is also a 12th level Wizard-Pirate with a special focus on causing chaos in large municipal bureaucracies via befuddlement spells.

Claude Marin-Lamellet

PhD, HDR, Research Director, Deputy vice-president International at Université Gustave Eiffel

From 1995 to 2015, he developed research activities on the following topics: Effects of ageing and cognitive disorders on the functional capacities of the driver and his/her driving behaviour, use of assisting technologies and Accessibility of public transport networks for the people with disabilities. Claude Marin-Lamellet has been involved in more than 10 European projects; he has been a member of the ISO group TC 173/WG7 (Assistive product for person with visual Impairment-Tactile walking surface indicator) and of the OECD working group on Human Factors Technology for Elderly Users as well as a member of the Transportation Research Board Committee (TRB) on “Accessible Transport and Mobility” (from 2005 to 2015).

From 2016 to 2019, he was involved in the definition and the implementation of Ifsttar’s European and international strategy, with a particular focus on the European Program Horizon 2020, and at the international level, particular interest for USA and Australia.

Since 2020, he is involved in the Université Gustave Eiffel International vice-presidency.

Office for Science & Technology – French Embassy

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