Action research on new approaches to local economic development

The effects of ecological and geopolitical crises and growing inequalities are leading many territories to seek new economic development paradigms… In France and Europe, new practices and approaches are emerging that seek to reorganize the economy locally, redirect it towards fundamental needs, and reread its objectives under the prism of ecological transition. Beyond these pioneering territories, theʼimperative of driving ecological and social transitions is challenging the traditional economic development approach of many French local authorities. Itʼs to support such transitions that we launch Rebonds.

Repositioning economic development strategies to take better account of transition and social justice issues

How can we reposition the strategies of French local authorities by moving away from the Competitiveness, Attractiveness, Metropolization, Excellence (CAME) model to better take these issues into account? What new approaches and values can bring new perspectives? How can emerging societal transformations (feminism, decolonialism, the commons movement, etc.) fuel new approaches to economic development? What modes of organization, professions, public policy instruments, governance, and tools should be designed to embody them? What new skills, career paths and training are needed to meet these challenges?

Designing and testing new approaches

To explore these issues, Rebonds is a 2-year multidisciplinary action-research program to :

Identify the concrete problems encountered by French local authorities in re-engaging economic development in the ecological transition;

Explore and analyze the most promising practices in France and internationally in this direction, selected on the basis of these issues;

Produce and test hypotheses for new levers to meet these reorientation needs.

A three-part action research program

Phase 1 – Exploration (October 2023 – March 2024): A collaborative survey in France and around the world of concrete initiatives, movements and theories that foreshadow a new generation of economic development policies. During European immersions, community immersions and collective exploration sessions, we will explore models such as Community Wealth Building, the Doughnut economy approach, work on the rise of a circular economy, the economy of the commons, the Foundational Economy, and more.

Phase 2 – Experimentation (April 2024 – Sept 2025): Local experiments to “exemplify” the future of economic development policies and make them desirable. Local explorations will lead to the design of experiments and then to the conduct of tests in each community.

Phase 3 – Capitalization, storytelling, debate (throughout the program): Ongoing projections over the duration of the program, to better tell the story, qualify, inspire, popularize and illustrate the new economic development policies we want to bring to life.



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