It is in 4,200 towns with over 100,000 inhabitants that live 70% of the global population, having become mostly urban. Today, one in eight people, or 12.5% of the world’s urban population live in one of the 28 world’s megapolises, cities with more than 10 million people, while 8% live in a town between 5 and 10 million inhabitants and 20% in a city between 1 and 5 million habitants.140 cities today concentrate 44% of GDP in Europe and by 2030, 750 cities will support 60% of the world GDP.

Today, there are over 7 billions of us on earth and we will reach 8.3 billions in 2030. At a global level, we observe a phenomenon of urban explosion: today, more than 50% of the global population lives in cities. In Europe, this figure has reached 77%. And it has been estimated that in 2030, of these 8.3 billion people, about 5 billions will live in urban areas. Latin America is undoubtedly the most urbanised continent in the world. It has an urbanisation rate approaching 80 percent and, according to United Nations estimates, by 2030, the rate of urbanisation will reach 85%. Thus, all over the world, these urban spaces must now face five major challenges, to meet the needs and expectations of their inhabitants: those are social, economic, cultural, environmental, and resilience. Our cities on every continent are concerned: there is a need to adapt to climate change, combat social exclusion, stem poverty, promote access to education and culture, create employment and value, allow easier travel, integrate nature and biodiversity, offer services and new usages improving daily lives of all generations, address increasingly violent crisis, etc.

We are at the threshold of the third decade of the 20th century. It is also implying massive ubiquity, with its corollary of presence made possible, simultaneously, in every place and at any time. The massive and global transformation induced by galloping urbanization, making cities inhabitants the heart of a new culture of city life, goes hand in hand with hybridization between the physical world and the digital world, and this merging has been made possible by the paradigm of the massively increased, which bears huge potential for urban life transformation. Facilitation of physical travelling, with trips which are now affordable by all, also helps the emergence of this new hybrid world.

Cities and large urban areas are today at the heart of a new lifestyle that irreversibly becomes an attractor all around its territory.  It is essential to take a look at the developments as a whole, encompassing the city, the metropolis and the territory, in order to plan over the coming years, which will be confronted to these large urban changes and new challenges. In Paris and elsewhere, everywhere in the world, the urban world is facing the effects of climate change, the impact of massive ubiquity, the fight against social and territorial vulnerability, but also to the relationship between the city and its territory, the international competition between the cities and attractiveness needs to be met.

That’s why, on Tuesday May 22, a powerful academic, private and public, institutional ecosystem of research, actor of territorial innovation, met in Paris for the launch of the new ETI Chair – Entrepreneurship, Territory, and Innovation. At the heart of the ETI Chair reflections is the creation of value in territories, shaped today by the increasing pace of the evolution of its metropolises. We wish to bring a scientific, systemic approach of international scope on the evolutions of the whole infrastructure – city, metropolis, and territory – to project into the years to come.


Created by the joint effort of the University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, the IAE of Paris and the Think Tank “Live in a Living City”, this Chair focuses its contribution on reflecting and acting around the essential question – how to convergently create economic, social and ecological value in our territories? We are convinced that creating urban and territorial value does not make sense if it is not bringing simultaneously and convergently economic, societal and ecological value. None of these three components can be missing:

  • If we do not create economic value, we will not have the means to address challenges in terms of employment, redistribution and to meet basic needs of the population.
  • If we do not create social value, we will exacerbate existing inequalities and fractures. We also need to limit these social fractures with a social economy which is supportive and inclusive.
  • If we do not create ecological value, if we are not able to stop this infernal machine of climate change, our human civilisation will be seriously threatened over the next decades, regardless of the value we will create.


This Chair, based in Paris and created with the firm support of the town hall, has wished to become the picture of the world today, connected within a network, to federate, bring together, innovate, collaborate, and open together new ways, because it is through networking cities, metropolises and territories, via their shared engagements, their innovation, and their disruptions too, that we will change the world, plagued today with crises and doubt experienced by the nation-states.

Creating value takes various forms, i.e. business models are renewing themselves and organisations are reinventing themselves. The ETI Chair ecosystem is atypical because it is a decentralised, global/local chair, with territorial hubs based in France and abroad. They congregate local ecosystems which are open but connected, to weave together, and whose focus, work and action is directed towards the territory. Paris is the initiator and brings its support and willingness to innnovate in how to look into urban and territorial future with this “glocal” (both global and local) chair to develop its ecosystems, which reinvent themselves : territorial collectivities, the private sector via founding partners, who as sponsors are involved in the Chair, national an international mayor associations, academic, university and scientific figures, institutions and organisations, public figures, for  universit, scientifiques, les institutions et organismes, des personnalités, to think all together avvout the urban and territorial future. Our motto is: open up, share, exchange, imagine, experiment.

In this digital era, we also need to innovate in governance, we need to include citizens, to develop a participative approach, to involve citizens in budgetising ideas, because a way to create social link is crucial to ensure that the cities of tomorrow will be human, inclusive and sustainable. The ETI Chair of ETI also integrates this component through actors of territorial innovation, who are present everywhere and are a source of proposals; they are also present as associated partners.

At a time when cities in the world are considering their strength and place, it is is crucial to set the heart of the reflection, and for the next 20 years, the increasing role played by this territorial transformation, the effects of  the world hypermetropolisation and its impacts in each territories.

Beyond terminology, often temporary buzz words, such as “Smart City” to associate to cities, it will not be enough to now talk about “Smart Metropolois” or “Smart region” to bring strategic considerations and operational solutions to this major issue which emerges in a complex and urbanized world.

In China, we are witnessing today the emergence of megapolises, such as the urban area of Shanghai, populated by some 80 million inhabitants, with its great cities Nanjing, Hangzhou and Ningbo, plus the rural areas it towers. Shanghai, the city overlooking the Yangtze delta, tamed by the Three Gorges dam, is today a major axis of the Chinese territory. Shanghai center of command has also changed in scale, composed by a network of 160 cities, making this area a focal point, which is now one of the most dynamic and urban area in the world and harbours the biggest sea port in the world.

In Japan, the 1,000 km-urban area linking Tokyo to Fukoda is populated by 110 million people, i.e., 80% of the population of Japan concentrated in 6% of the territory.

In South Africa, the axis Johannesburg/Pretoria represents an axis of growing hypermetropolitan development. In India, the urban area of Mumbaï is spreading in a chaotic way over 100 km on the north/south axis and over 60 km on the east/west axis, for a population of 25 million inhabitants.

It could be useful to look into the visionary approach Jean Gottmann had in 1961 with the word “megalopolis“. This is what he called “BosWash“. This urban area spans over 800 km between Boston agglomeration and Washington DC agglomeration. It includes the agglomerations of Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, as well as a myriad of cities with over 100 000 inhabitants, on the East Coast of the United-States. Connected, linked, both economically and via means of transport and communication, they gather more than 70 million inhabitants. Let’s consider the Californian megapolis “SanSan“, concentrating more than 40 million inhabitants over the 600 km between San Francisco and Sand Diego. Transnationally, it is the urban area of the Great Lakes in North America, with 65 million people, linking American cities (Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh) and Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa).

Within our venerable Europe, we may incidentally quote the “blue banana” or the “European dorsal” dear to Roger Brunet and the late Jacques Chérèque, which goes from London to Milan, and closer to us, we are concerned about the scope of what will be unavoidable, an hypermetropolis from Paris to the Havre, as well as about our relationship with our world-city and competitor, London megapolis

It is now a question of becoming aware of the consequences of an increase of just a few degrees in the temperature over the globe, on water, food, ecosystems or even the climate: a great number of cities are threatened by the rising level of sea, a decrease of food production in all the regions of the globe, the extinction of a great number of species, increasing intensity of extreme climate episodes, etc. This will expose a great portion of the global population to new major hazards: migration of populations, occurrence of new diseases, reduction of natural sources, more intense and more violent climate events (cyclones, storms,…) , etc.

This is the reason why it is urgent and vital to develop this other transition towards a post-carbon city. A major issue, if any. This means above all finding new models of economical life, which should be decentralised, using less energy and frugal in using natural resources; we also must change our paradigm in terms of governance, taxation, market regulation, standards. Lastly and above all, we must change our citizen behaviours, providing them with digital and technology revolution, access to new usages and services.

In this era of technology revolution, we see countless possible urban worlds opening up. The metropolis of tomorrow and all our territories are inventing themselves today, and we dream they all will be smarter, more efficient, more fluid… however, only a metropolis at the heart of territories focusing on the citizen is able to address the numerous challenge of our urban future. It evolves around the citizen, on a territory of its own. Indeed, what is true in Paris or in Marseille is not necessarily true in Rio, Sydney, Mumbaï or Lagos. Thus, there is also a need to take into account the identity of the citizen in his territory.

There are no city models just as there are only sources of inspirations. More than ever the three levers that are urban intelligence, social innovation and digital revolution, are indispensable to remain an innovative world-city, creating culture, values, wealth and open to others.

With the ETI Chair initiation, we wish to show our commitment toward wilful ground-breaking action to remain at the forefront of this battle, common to all cities of the world, all metropolises and all territories.

Thank you all for your support!

Prof Carlos Moreno

Associate Professor Paris IAE, Paris University 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Co-founder and Scientific Director of the ETI Chair

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