Territories and Sustainable Development

4 Sep 2017 | News

In a complex context, the advent of a new political current “En Marche” has not changed its pace, this article is more the expression of a mood reflecting my exchanges with local collectivities. Indeed, mayors are not happy and we regularly have the opportunity to check it through, on the one hand, my collaboration with the Association of Rural Mayors of France, and on the other hand to the regular contact of elected officials in action. I would rather say that they are in disillusionment that action is still possible. Indeed, the reform of local authorities, the implementation of the Loi Notre, the ongoing metropolisation, the reduction in grants (less € 300 million in funding in August 2017 after the € 13 billion effort, an icing on the cake) and many other things, are more and more badly lived by elected officials in daily contact with their citizens, themselves not very happy at the moment, the last presidential and legislative elections have it highlighted.

All this happens to the detriment of the collective project. If we are in a situation of transition, what we can understand, but it seems to us to last more than reason, it causes an atony such that nothing happens. I certainly preach for my consulting parish, could you blame me, but not only. I realize that many desires and projects are not realized today even when they are eagerly awaited because the rules of the game of “who does what” are not yet clear enough. The soft belly of the territorial reform, the tensions on the means force the new intercommunalities that are being set up, to new organizations but few are able to deploy project engineering today. There are even frictions between the intermunicipalities which have inherited the competence of local development and the communities that make up the city, often the center of the town, who imperatively and immediately want to contain some form of impoverishment which they can not control alone. This is all the more detrimental since it contains issues of local development, residential economy and the creation of activities and therefore jobs.

At a time when the least social lapse, the least meteorological unforeseen events, strongly question our working practices, mobility, our dependencies on development and resources, in the aftermath of the success of COP 21 and already the role of the United states, but we have great doubts, the real stake is probably to rethink the development of the territories. Attractiveness, hospitality, innovation, collaboration (including public / private), digital are the essential criteria to be found in projects and in forms of collaboration, with a real consideration for different forms of economy (circular, residential , social and solidarity …), for an economic vision that does not only pass through the creation of obsolete infrastructures (how many abandoned or underused areas of activity) or the exclusive targeting of high potential companies (often unsuccessful if the infrastructure, the human resource are not there). I still have the perennial memory, not so long ago, that tourism was not considered as economic development. I imagine that there are the same prejudices for the collaborative economy, social and solidarity in particular. The situation has changed … contexts are changing …

I am convinced that France has a unique role in Europe, one of the few countries to offer a quality of life, wealth and resources to develop. It is an epicenter on which we have not yet sufficiently capitalized.

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