Tuesday 5 March 2013

City planning: away from silo mentality!

Energy and climate are considered serious topics by local authorities who are now aware of their importance. However, sectoral policies seem to be playing different scores. They sometimes continue to obey their own goals and habits inherited from the past, which act as obstacles, preventing common objectives from being reached.

The natural trend is to seek an optimum within one’s own area of expertise: urban planning, housing, economics, etc. This is perfectly normal, but we can no longer accept such behaviour as the addition of sectoral optima never produces collective harmony.
Interactions between areas and the relations between stakeholders are now what matter. We have to work in a more systemic way and each sectoral policy has to contribute to energy transition at its own level. This requires new know-how and practices, that is, a new culture...

Proposal: Establish cross departmental links to avoid silo mentality

Make the energy transition a cross-cutting objective applicable to all the local authority’s sectoral policies. Each department – economic, social, urban planning, transport, highways, health, housing, etc. – will have to integrate energy into their strategies. This approach may go against old habits but each sectoral policy will benefit from it in the end. And it can be considered as a success when the whole municipal budget is a transition vector, thus making specific transition budgets unnecessary.

In Mulhouse Alsace agglomeration, France (255,000 inhabitants), member of Energy Cities since 2003, the energy and climate plan is perceived by its implementers as a great opportunity to unite all stakeholders within the Alsatian metropolitan area - starting with metropolitan counsellors and administrative departments who have to work in close collaboration using adapted tools and means around a common project. The necessary synergy between these players also involves sharing a common methodology for monitoring, assessing and sharing results. An observatory board, composed of elected representatives, experts and representatives from the civil society and centralising all data relating to the actions implemented (contents, allocated budgets, price indicators, timetables, carbon footprint wherever possible, etc.), has been set up to assess the results obtained and to propose strategies.

Find out the conditions for success of this proposal and other examples of territories on this path : Barcelona, Greater Lyon ...

See all Energy Cities proposals for the energy transition of cities and towns:

by Blandine Pidoux on 5 March 2013 / 801 visits

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