What kind of economic development do we have to give up, and what new ideal do we want to move towards? What are the questions facing tomorrow’s economic developers? What can local authorities do to fork out towards models that are more respectful of our planetary limits and conducive to a more shared social contract? What levers can be activated to bring about new approaches and a transformation of the way things are done in French local authorities? Based on a collaborative mapping of the most complex issues identified during the first session, we attempt here to synthesize the paradigm shifts at work in local economic development.
Growth > The territory’s long-term needs
Can we still talk about economic development? Even if contexts differ greatly from one region to another, the prospect of attracting businesses and creating new jobs is no longer considered sufficient in the face of environmental threats or the explosion of inequalities. All the communities involved in Rebonds are looking for a vision that is less focused on attractiveness and growth at all costs, and more meaningful, more qualitative, better co-elaborated and oriented by the ecological and social needs of the territory concerned. This theme also raises the question of the multiple timeframes that local authorities have to deal with, from day-to-day emergencies to longer-term needs, particularly in relation to climate and environmental issues.
“In our community, we stop talking about economic development and start talking about economic action. “For me, economic development is more a project-based approach than a desire for growth at all costs”. “For us, the PCAET is there to convey a new vision of the economy, of what a desirable and desirable economy should be”. “Victims of de-industrialization, some communities are managing to regain a better level of employment with activities that are more in tune with the challenges of the future rather than the all-comers.which goes away after 2 years anyway! ”
Social welfare on a folding seat > The economy at the service of reducing inequalities
How can we ensure that economic development does not focus solely on attracting highly qualified profiles? That the jobs created are of high quality in terms of career paths and remuneration, but also meaningful for the region and for individuals? How can we rethink innovation issues and focus them on meeting people’s needs?
The social stakes of the economy can also be understood through questions of rebalancing between areas or territorial cohesion. The restructuring of public services, the reduced availability of services to the population in sparsely populated areas (mobility, health, housing, training, etc.) and also in priority urban neighborhoods (QPV) are all obstacles to hiring and business creation.
Under what conditions can economic development policies help reduce inequalities? How can we promote and support a local economy that recreates the services people need for their long-term future? How can companies, in conjunction with local authorities, offer new solutions to local residents through their mobility policies, their support for local needs (housing, training opportunities, sometimes even the pooling of healthcare services)? The question of the informal economy, the dynamics of donations, mutual aid and volunteering, all contribute to the provision of services to the public in the countryside, more or less isolated, but also in urban areas where these services may be in short supply. How can we account for these invisible circuits, forgotten by economic models, yet essential to the well-being of populations? How can local authorities invest in and support these initiatives?
“Rurality in France is still a hick town, the French system is not made for the rural world.” ; ” À the countryside, we have the same problem of precarious public services as in priority neighbourhoods QPVbut with even less money! “We need to regain pride in the countryside. How can [faire en sorte que] this theme not remain linked to an extreme right-wing discourse?”
Inter-territorial runoff and competition > Inter-territorial alliances and reciprocity
Is there a need to extricate ourselves from the processes of metropolization, and what are the consequences for territories? How can we move beyond rhetoric about runoff to build genuine dynamics of territorial reciprocity? How can we get away from the competition between territories, both between inter-municipalities and within the same EPCI between the city-center and the smaller communes? How can we rebuild inter-territorial relations and cooperation? Once promoted as engines of growth and competitiveness, metropolises are now accused of concentrating, and even accentuating, ecological and social problems. In a caricatured and unscientific way, they are often contrasted with rural areas or small towns that are more virtuous or likely to be better adapted to the ecological transition. Dichotomous, simplifying visions of big cities and their outskirts, central cities and suburbs, metropolises and the countryside must be overcome.
The challenge of transformation is trans-territorial. It concerns all types of territory, and must be based on their complementarity. These forms of cooperation are essential if we are to transform models and commit territories to a socially and spatially inclusive ecological transition.
“We have a major partnership with the Paris metropolitan area on agricultural resources, but for the moment it’s hard to see what’s coming in return”, “The city-countryside reciprocity contracts are disappointing”, “We are structuring a wood industry in connection with the Morvan, a nearby but better organized territory, earlier than us”. “We’re more focused on the metropolis and Paris than on the rest of France. vn Dijon, we have a strong appeal for intellectual and cultural populations; but the lack ofuniversity and training locations is problematic. ”
Unlimited resources > Sobriety, sharing and regeneration of resources
How can we better manage and share increasingly limited resources? Is it possible to enhance a region’s resources while protecting them?
Pressure on resources is increasing. Water, air, soil, forests and agricultural land are common goods whose management and sharing will increasingly generate conflicts. It’s a question of changing our production and consumption models to save these resources, but also of networking territories to ensure shared, sustainable governance of these resources. Territorial cooperation on all these subjects is emerging, whether between metropolises and the countryside (TePos, PAIT, reciprocity contracts, etc.), between communities of communes, between a medium-sized town and its surrounding rural communes… Water, energy and raw materials, once perceived as unlimited, are now under pressure, with some seeing their prices soar and conflicts over use multiply. In the light of recent regulations (ZAN, ELAN, new generations of PLU), land is becoming increasingly scarce, investment (e.g. in commercial zones undergoing redevelopment) is more costly and requires arbitration between the establishment of economic activities, leisure activities and housing production. This situation requires companies and all stakeholders to consume fewer resources, reduce over-use (by tourists, but also by students in university towns), and build more collective governance to better share uses and anticipate their long-term evolution.
“In Grenoble, the water-hungry microelectronics sector is causing concern and mobilizing citizens, farmers and activists. “There are a few years ago, we were approached to buy the Sémantis well of Sémantis, which taps directly into the water table groundwater. We refused because of penaltiess if there are production disruptions, mut in fact we should have bought to reserve the water resource. “In Nouvelle– In Aquitaine, the distribution of volumes between agricultural, industrial, public and tourism uses, as well as for firefighters, also raises questions of governance. “We have to stop consuming land, tell ourselves that what we have under our feet is precious and not respond to the slightest request for land”.
Limited margins limited > Power to act and re-tool
How can we regain economic power? When it comes to tackling ecological and social challenges, how can we build coherence in the face of the dispersal of private and public economic players? How can we make our policies clearer and avoid the effects of competition between different operators and regions in terms of support for economic development? How can we ensure the long-term viability of these often costly systems, against a backdrop of erosion of local authorities’ fiscal autonomy?
These questions call into question the links between communities and companies. The levers available to local authorities to influence economic development are limited. A wide range of schemes and direct assistance are designed to help companies set up or expand in the region. Even so, the use of these aids is limited, and companies find it difficult to find their way around, or even to identify the local authority as a natural partner. They are also struggling to gain a foothold over the major economic players involved in globalized value chains. New tools are being developed, such as the eco-conditionality of subsidies, but they come up against the same obstacles, making their real impact still uncertain. At the same time, the scarcity of land, European standards and emerging regulations (ZAN, etc.) can help to rebalance the balance of power in favor of local authorities.
In this context, the local level needs to regain influence by identifying new levers or combining existing skills: for example, by pooling players to make more strategic use of public purchasing, by acting on a sector-by-sector basis, by building more qualitative conversations with local companies (including on their collective and territorial responsibility), by helping them to link up to create an attractive environment or work together towards ecological transition and social justice objectives, by drawing on the CSR policies of major principals to support subcontractors, by jointly stimulating the emergence of local alternatives to globalized platforms…
“We want to be more in touch with businesses, so that our community is identified in the galaxy of organizations that can play a role with companies”. “We deploy a lot of energy and resources (aid, awareness-raising, etc.), but we’re struggling to reach a large number of companies on these issues.Very small businesses don’t have much time. We need to focus our energies on making people aware, on the last mile, rather than on producing new devices. ” ” Ne are considering the creation of new structures to make the transition a success: a real estate company dedicated to economic activity, as in the case of housing; mixed-interest structures to avoid creating monopolies in the reuse of materials, etc.or a structure to act as a buffer between supply and demand in the biosourced market”.
The productive economy as only as the only lever for development > Broad-based development
A region’s economic development is based on both exogenous and endogenous issues – productive, residential, public and social. The grounded theory developed by Laurent Davezies and Magali Talandier has made it possible to measure these flows of wealth and analyze the capacity of territories to transform these dynamics into a local impact for their populations. Despite the complexity of the processes involved in capturing, distributing and sharing wealth, it has to be said that the economy and economic development strategies are still dominated by production.
At a time when the reindustrialization of our regions is undoubtedly a good omen, let’s not lose sight of the fact that a resilient economy is also a diversified economy. So, rather than focusing primarily on the productive and exporting base of territories, how can we multiply development policies? Small local entrepreneurs, associations, shops and crafts, community services, medical activities… often generate far more local jobs than the major contractors. Here again, let’s not pit one world against another, but rather acknowledge the need to involve all these professions and players in the transformation of our business models.
Restricted and monolithic criteria > Renewed indicators to guide and assess change
How can we better theorize new economic, ecological and social policies? How can we clarify the aims, methods and indicators of success? These questions also call for a renewal of the tools and indicators inherited from past models. The standardized indicators required as part of national or European calls for projects, or within schemes such as Feder, reproduce analysis methods that are less and less compatible with the new emerging models. What new indicators of change exist and need to be put in place? How can we link them to local strategies to ensure that they have an impact? These questions also lead us to question the practical application of theories that are often not operational. A growing number of communities are adopting ambitious targets for decarbonizing their economies, or even development models built around ecological and social objectives (welfare economy, doughnut theory, circular economy, Community Wealth Building, inclusive growth, etc.). But the concrete translation of these ambitions is still in its infancy. Beyond the rhetoric, what remains to be clarified is how to implement them concretely in different contexts, using different types of tools and instruments, how to manage them and better measure their real impact and the degree to which they break with previous models.
“The effects of economic development policies, whether direct or indirect, should be objectivized. It’s not done today“
A minority of dominant players > An enlarged, diversified, renewed economic community
How can we encourage renewal and a more inclusive representation of economic issues? How can we renew our representations of the men and women who make up economic development, from the sectors that are “noble” or structuring, priorities, to the sectors that have been left by the wayside? How can we rethink the training methods used by economic development professionals to incorporate the social and ecological issues that are becoming increasingly important?
Local authorities are often in contact with the same limited number of companies. As for economic governance bodies, they are often represented by the same structures, and business networks are often compartmentalized (SSE, industry, agriculture). Representations diverge, between supporters of the SSE and those of the traditional economy, or between technological and social visions, or even between companies located in areas of relegation and those located, for example, in competitiveness clusters and other clusters. Today, the challenges of ecological and social transition call for a renewal of dialogue, the integration of new, usually less visible players (including local residents) representing more diversified interests, and changes in outlook between sectors of activity.
“If we take the glasses of patriarchy, often continues to persist a capture of local economic discourse by THE President of the chamber of commerce, THE President of the MEDEF, THE President of the chamber of agriculture…” “It’s hard to get beyond the 10% of a population of 50,000 to 60,000 companies that have the information, know where the grants are, etc.”. “There are quite a few differences between our elected representatives on the vision of economic development”. “We don’t have a shared vision of development goals”. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in the CEC – Convention des Entreprises pour le Climat: 40 companies took part in the last promotion.