What is the relationship between Urbanomy and Oxfordshire?
EDF and Urbanomy have been engaging with Oxfordshire since 2017. I have been driving this relationship first through innovation projects with my previous R&D team, like Vehicle to Grid Oxford (V2GO), Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO), autonomous vehicle projects with UKEA RACE but also supporting Centre for Doctoral Trainings with theUniversity of Oxford. Being there to co-create what would become Living Oxford was then quite natural and we are really happy to drive this adventure with all the other members. We strongly believe in the trio University-LocalAuthorities-Private Sector that makes Oxfordshire such a strong place to build a net zero future.
Could you give some details about the “integrated vision” you pledge?
For many years, the organisation of decision making for any development (urban or rural), both in public or private sectors, has been done in silo. Building roads without acknowledging the impact on public space, refurbishing neighbourhood without foreseeing the impact on gentrification, developing new homes without looking at the transport connections, the list goes on! Obviously this can’t work: first, because all these aspects interact and are influencing each other, second because we are talking about long term phenomenon (annual new build represent ca. 1% of the building stock) and third, which is the most important, because this is involving humans living together so nothing can be as simple as a siloed approach. We pledge to support the public and private decision makers with an integrated vision of their project, with a quantified knowledge of key indicators like future energy demand, carbon emissions or energy bills.
What is your vision for carbon neutral real estate and urban planning in the years to come?
There is still a long way to go but we are seeing some promising changes: 73% of urban population in the UK live in cities with NZ target! The challenge now is to create clear action plans and achieve these targets. A very positive trend comes from communities too, who don’t necessarily want to wait for central policies and act locally. We think the local scale is where the transition to a Net Zero world will happen and we co-create this future with developers and local authorities. In terms of energy-related challenges, decarbonisation of heat, electrification of transport and acceleration of renewables are some of the first ones to look at, of course with an integrated approach to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits!