Quick chat with Stéphane Kirkland, architect DPLG and City Executive Paris for Arcadis.

14 June 2018

Interview by Tomasz Adach   

Stéphane is responsible, together with Nicolas Boffi, for major projects and major accounts in the Paris metropolitan region. Over the course of his 20-year career, he has led numerous projects, covering architectural design, urban planning and landscape design, construction site management, project management and procurement advisory. His main sectors of expertise are public buildings and public space. He has written a book on the urban history of Paris (Paris Reborn, St. Martin’s Press, 2012) and numerous articles. He teaches urban policy at the Paris Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po).

 What is the role of City Executives in creating the city of the future?

As City Executives, we engage with all the key stakeholders grappling with the big urban questions of our time. We seek to bring solutions by mobilizing Arcadis expertise and to help share best practices of other cities. We are constantly on the lookout for examples of new solutions and approaches so that we are as pertinent. We also increasingly bring in a broader ecosystem of partners to address our clients’ big challenges in a more comprehensive way. By doing all these things we play a real role in creating the city of the future.

How do you see the new generation of Arcadians in the society of tomorrow?

Increasingly, we are going to need to be agile and innovative in order to address our client’s and society’s big questions. Our industry is facing major disruption and the old way of doing things is not going to lead to a successful business model for us. The new generation of Arcadians need to play a critical role in the rapid evolution that we need to go through in our company. They need to mobilize their digital native competences and their different way of approaching problems to help us be in advance on industry disruptions.

If you were at the beginning of your career at Arcadis, how would you lead it?

I would simply try to engage in the projects I am working on in a way that allows me to learn as much as possible and to bring as much value as possible. We have many fantastic challenges to work on and those are all opportunities to learn and progress. As long as you are on a steep learning curve you can be sure you are doing good things for your professional future. And at the same time, I would always be seeking constructive ways to question how things are done and to try to find ways to be more effective, in particular by better incorporating technology and innovation.