Research & ExpertiseMajor projects Sense-city: Nanosensors for cities and the environment

Sense-city: Nanosensors for cities and the environment

A miniature laboratory for sustainable cities

Making cities “smarter”, i.e. able to adapt permanently to conditions and the behaviours and desires of residents is everyone’s dream. But before we can make them able to adapt and optimize themselves they must be aware of their state. This is the goal of the “Sense-city” project which will take the form of a “miniature city” that will create a realistic environment for testing micro- and nano-sensors for instrumenting and managing cities. The facility will be located within the Descartes cluster in Marne-la-Vallée and is scheduled to open in April 2014.

With a 9 million Euro budget, “Sense-city” depends on a consortium of key research players in the areas of construction, urban engineering and advanced technologies, consisting of IFSTTAR, the CSTB, the LPICM and ESIEE-Paris. The programme’s orientation has been set by the “Sense-city” partners in consultation with the organizations that belong to the Paris-Sud and Paris-Est PRES and the relevant competitiveness clusters and local authorities.

“Sense-city” aims to facilitate urban applications of nanotechnology. The stakes are enormous: in 2020 90% of the French population will live in cities and micro- and nano-sensors are perceived as a key technology for achieving modern, soundly-based, sustainable urbanization. Positioning these sensors in urban networks will provide realistic conditions for Sense-city to explore the concept of the “senseable” city which carries out permanent self-diagnosis with a view to using less energy and becoming environmentally cleaner and healthier.

In line with the scientific goals of the Université Paris-Est PRES, “Sense-city” will attempt to analyze land use systems and networks by developing new low-cost sensors that use innovative materials. This will open the way for sensor networks which could, ultimately, be used to measure precisely the energy efficiency of buildings, limit transport pollution monitor materials and waste, or monitor the state and performance of urban networks.

Acting as an effective platform for technological innovation, “Sense-city” will also enable its partners from academia and industry to put their sensors on the market more rapidly helping them to grow in the promising nanotechnology sector where international competition is strong.

More information on the project website



What is an Equipex?

Invest in future infrastructure to boost French research and accelerate discoveries




Sense-City is a projet EQUIPEX (Facilities of Excellence)

Ifsttar/LISIS - Laboratory on Instrumentation, Scientific Informatics and Simulation