A double expertise to design the cities of tomorrow

Today, municipalities are facing multiple challenges. The collaboration between BG and BDO, one of the largest auditing and consulting firms in the world, provides municipalities with technical, organisational and financial solutions, to help them move towards sustainability and digitisation.

In an ever-evolving world, the role and responsibilities of municipalities are becoming more complex. BG and BDO have joined forces to offer decision-makers personalised and forward-thinking support. Interview with Jacques Blanc responsible for the development and coordination of advisory services to public administrations and in particular ‘Smart Cities’ projects for BDO in French-speaking Switzerland.

Mr Blanc, what are the challenges that municipalities have to face?

JB: New technologies, digitisation, climate change, the appearance of new forms of work, and changes in social structures and economic models all induce new behaviours, generate new expectations and create new needs. In order to respond to this, the mission of the municipalities is changing. They need to adapt their services, as well as the organisation that provides them. Sustainability, efficiency, economy and quality of life are central themes and, in this context, infrastructure management remains crucial. Transport and new forms of mobility represent another major challenge, as well as issues related to the environment and resources, such as the management of available surfaces and waste, and the distribution of water and energy.

How can we best manage all these challenges?

JB: The more complex the environment becomes, the more decisive the need to devise a development vision integrating all the changes underway. This plan should allow to select, but also to prioritise, projects and measures given the financial resources available which tend to decrease in size.

By cooperating, BG and BDO are able to offer municipalities support to meet these challenges?

JB: Exactly. We are able to intervene in all stages of the decision-making process of the municipality and ensure its coherence in a dynamic of evolution, development and innovation.What are your means of intervention?JB: With BG, we are united in our vision and conception of the cities of the future. By combining our skills and expertise, both organisational, economic and technical, we create value for our clients.

Concretely, how is this cooperation reflected in the field?

JB: We are currently working for a municipality of 8,000 inhabitants, which will welcome 4,500 additional citizens over the next ten years. To cope with this increase in population, investments in infrastructure will be very substantial. BG has cutting-edge knowledge in the development of smart infrastructure and equipment, while BDO can mobilise skills in governance, organisation and public finance. This collaboration makes it possible to understand the needs of municipalities as a whole.

Measuring the impact of Smart City solutions: a benchmark developed by BG, EPFL and BDO

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), BG and the BDO auditing firm have worked on the development of an evaluation grid to measure the added value of Smart City projects. Based on a smart lighting project for the Eaux-Vives station, the evaluation grid is currently being tested at a more macro level: Smart Geneva, a smart city project. To be continued…

(Article taken from BG Magazine 2021, updated version on the site)