In the north of Marseille, an eco-district was created in 2015. This project, called Smartseille, is a success and three other similar programs are under study. Ecological, social and innovative, Smartseille could be an urban model in the years to come.
The very essence of the neighborhood lies in its environmental ambition. This is reflected in the development and preliminary work. Covering nearly three hectares, the district is located on the site of a former gas plant. The land was therefore highly polluted, particularly with heavy hydrocarbons. In order to clean up the soil, the actors of the project used a soft method of depollution: mushrooms. This technique, called mycoremediation, cleans up the soil at a lower cost. Unlike other remediation techniques, mushrooms do not leave any negative after-effects.
Smartseille has also been designed to promote low-polluting modes of transportation. The district is connected to the bus, metro and tramway networks. Residents also have access to self-service electric cars. In addition, numerous charging stations encourage Smartseillais to switch from thermal cars to electric cars. Nevertheless, the district has been designed primarily for pedestrians and cyclists. Moreover, the latter can also take advantage of self-service bicycles.
Smartseille leaves an important sustainable place to green spaces. Local Mediterranean plants are planted alongside tall trees. Insect hotels, nesting boxes and dry stone walls promote and maintain biodiversity. The local managers and global society want to go further and are studying the possibility of installing beehives. The maintenance of this biodiversity is also done in an eco-responsible way. No pesticides are used and public lighting is reduced to reduce light pollution.
Smartseille's environmental goals are combined with social considerations and an ambition for digital innovation.
One third of the 60,000m2 of floor space is used for offices. Retail space occupies 5,000m2. The remainder is devoted to the neighborhood's 450 housing units, 150 of which are for families in precarious financial situations. Smartseille brings together people from different backgrounds and is a true social project.
At the center of the Smartseille project, the concierge service is a living and meeting space. It seeks to maximize the energy performance of residents and offers them digital services. The concierge service offers energy coaching to residents. They benefit from an analysis of their energy consumption in order to reduce unnecessary expenses as much as possible.
In addition, the Smartseille concierge service organizes the maintenance and harvesting of the neighborhood's fruit trees, herbs and vegetable gardens. The interest is twofold. First, they allow the consumption of fresh and local products. In addition, they create a social link since they are maintained by the residents.
Many common spaces encourage this social link. Indeed, the concierge provides shared work rooms as well as a multi-use space that can host sports sessions or association meetings.
Finally, Smartseille residents benefit from exclusive technological services. They can use an intranet to communicate with the concierge service. They can order or reserve available services and products. In addition, the internal network is a place for mutual aid between residents (loan of equipment, assistance). In terms of security, Smartseillais benefit from a video protection system and a presence detector that informs them of any problems.
Smartseille is a modern, cutting-edge project that addresses current issues: ecology, social ties and digital technology. Covering 60,000m2, the project is far from insignificant. With three similar programs under study, the neighborhood could be taken as a model for future urban development. As more and more city dwellers leave the cities, the lifestyle proposed by Smartseille could be an enticing compromise and help several Sustainable Development Goals to come a step closer to be achieved.