3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a... 18-20/11/08

3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
Accounts of three cities involved in building and sharing a vision for their
territories: Greater Lyon (1,300,000 inhabitants - France), Figueres (41,000
inhabitants - Spain) and Sutton (185,000 inhabitants - United Kingdom)
How to build and share a vision of my city that is compatible
with a sustainable energy future?
Vision – City – Environmental policy
Pierre Crépeaux, Head of Greater Lyon’s Climate Plan project, France
Richard Elelman, Deputy Mayor in charge of the environment, Figueres, Spain
Katherine Hudson, Environmental Sustainability Manager, London Borough of
Sutton, United Kingdom
Date: November 2008.
Context: 3rd IMAGINE seminar “Change course! Towards a sustainable …
and desirable future”.
Written by: Hervé Maillot, January 2009.
Energie-Cités: http://www.energie-cites.eu/
IMAGINE resources: http://www.energie-cites.eu/IMAGINE
IMAGINE blog: http://www.imagineyourenergyfuture.eu/blog
IMAGINE exhibition: http://www.imagineyourenergyfuture.eu/exhibition
Related documents
Back to the table of contents
IMAGINE 2008 “Draft evaluation table of the steps towards implementing a
shared territorial vision” document
About this document...
Energie-Cités is an association of European local authorities promoting sustainable local energy policies.
The association was founded in 1990 and now represents over 1,000 towns and cities in 30 countries.
Energie-Cités has been promoting the “IMAGINE the energy future of our cities” initiative since 2006.
Defined as a foresight platform of collaboration and exchange leading to action, the initiative is based on the
acknowledgement that our current mode of development will not stand up to the new energy and climate
The IMAGINE initiative aims at encouraging European territories to:
- Take responsibility for their energy supply and the associated impacts in natural resources, the
climate and wastes.
- Prepare their future by adapting to energy and climate risks and redesigning their territorial policies
on the basis of the new paradigm.
A foresight Seminar is organised on a yearly basis as part of the IMAGINE initiative. The aim of the
seminar is to improve the concepts by confronting them with practical issues and to propose new avenues
and methods for action.
The IMAGINE initiative also includes the “IMAGINE Beacon regions, cities, neighbourhoods” exhibition, as
well as a blog and a discussion list as permanent supports for seminar participants to continue their discussions.
This round table discussion held during the IMAGINE seminar provided three different European cities -in
terms of size and geographical area- with an opportunity to describe the programmes they are carrying out
and the vision behind them. It emerged from the discussions that :
− sharing a vision of the future of a territory is a decisive factor of change as, without such a vision, it
appears to be extremely difficult to carry out the changes in paradigms and practices that are necessary
to achieve sustainable objectives;
− this vision comes from the players’ capacity to reflect on and directly understand the complexity of the
interdependences that characterise our world;
− change and the acceptation of change imply a true involvement of the population and a continuous
dialogue and consultation learning process.
Page 1/6
3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
Figueres’ environmental challenges
Richard ELELMAN: “Figueres is a small town of
35,000 inhabitants that is part of a hinterland of
65,000 inhabitants within a 160,000 inhabitant
county. A first phase consisting of discussions with
the citizens, personal reflections and work with the
technicians enabled us to identify four or five basic
policies. We decided to start with the public and
private transportation systems which provide poor
liaisons between the town centre and the rest of the
urban area. They must also be made sustainable
a speech entitled “train, bicycle and sex”. It was a
way of arousing curiosity amongst a public that
tends to stay away from such expert talks because
they are too distressing and abstruse. The truth is
that beyond the necessity to attract public attention,
it has to be admitted that environmental policy lacks
attractiveness if we take a narrow view of it whether it is a technological, philosophical or socioeconomic view – without considering the broader
picture. But to achieve this – and this is where sex
comes in! – we have to link up and work with all the
players involved, whether they be in the office next
door, or from the neighbouring city or adjoining
Sutton’s environmental challenges
as they operate in a small Mediterranean town that
was not designed to accommodate mechanised
transportation systems and which receives over two
million tourists every year. We realised that we had
to tackle this problem globally. So we tried looking
for alternative energy sources. And I must confess
that still today, there is not a single solar panel in
Figueres! Everything remains to be done in terms of
energy self-sufficiency. The third factor we
identified concerns the provision of green spaces.
The town has only one park and has spread out a
lot. The provision of green spaces is now a priority.
Our fourth point is the management of water
resources in a region which is already in a stress
situation as far as water is concerned. We intend to
bring in legislation on water use. Finally, we want to
create new jobs in the field of environmental care.
This would involve the construction of a
technological estate for companies at the forefront
of green technologies.
We need to have a long-term vision to carry out
such policies. We submitted a twelve-year plan to
the citizens. Our intention is not to ask our technical
teams to produce tangible results before the next
elections. What we want is to be able to walk
around Figueres in 12 years’ time with our children
and see the results of our action. To do so, we
need a political consensus that guarantees
continuous action. Quite often, politicians make
decisions that will help them remain in power. But
as environmental issues have a timeframe of 10 to
12 years, they tend to be overlooked on the
grounds that they are considered to be
“unprofitable” from a political point of view.
In a recent conference on the environment, I made
Page 2/6
Katherine HUDSON: “South London has 43
boroughs, including Sutton, a borough of 175,000
inhabitants with quite a long experience of
environmental issues. A first plan was launched 22
years ago. Although the players had no common
vision or logic, many things were achieved before
we realised that we needed an overall vision of
what was to be
horizon-target was
initially to reduce
footprint of each
citizen from three to
one planet1. This
was very ambitious
realised that we had
set too high a
therefore decided to
launch BedZED,2 a
One Planet Living
social and economic dimensions. From then on, the
population started to understand where we wanted
to go and how we intended to adapt our practices
and daily consumption to get there. We now want to
environmental standards. We are also trying to help
owners of existing buildings and use BedZED to
show them that it is possible to do it”.
See the One Planet Living website
See the BioRegional programme website
3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
environmental challenges
Pierre CRÉPEAUX: “Greater Lyon is a metropolitan
area with 1.2 million inhabitants. This intermunicipal structure is competent to act in the
following areas: sanitation, road maintenance and
cleaning, urban planning (the PLU, local
development plans of the various municipalities
composing the metropolitan area are mutualised)
and the drinking water supply.
Environmental charters were signed in the 1990’s.
After some years with no specific project, an
Agenda 21 reflection was re-initiated at the
beginning of the 2000’s. It was within this
framework that we considered the issue of an
environmental diagnosis of the territory and realised
that although we had a fair idea of air quality and
some information about energy use, we had no
information at all about greenhouse gases. Our first
action consisted of asking ourselves what our
responsibilities were in terms of energy and climate
stakes. Our Agenda 21 was updated in 2007, and a
decision was made to set up GHG emission targets
by adopting 3x20 and “factor 4” objectives. These
targets were unanimously voted in, giving us
legitimacy and a fair amount of leeway. We are now
wondering whether our action is up to our
objectives. Of course, quite a lot has already been
done. For example, we have a major public
transport project that should help us circumvent a
number of administrative and competency
limitations. This project involves eleven local
players, including the Regional Council, the French
SNCF national railway company and local transport
operators. Each partner contributes to a global
budget of around one billion euros. We have
managed to create a sort of regional rail-based, and
not road-based, express network; this would not
have been possible if each of us had been working
in isolation. As for town planning, the Greater Lyon
Metropolitan Council is also subsidising the
construction of social housing units through
property grants. The system for allocating such
grants is to change as of 1st January 2009. Before,
builders were given a grant when they used stricter
standards than those imposed by current
legislation. Now, the burden of the proof has
changed and any building that does not meet the
standards defined by Greater Lyon Metropolitan
Council is deemed ineligible. We are currently
running 25 actions of this type but we would now
like to have a broader view of the impact of such
measures in order to get a better understanding of
we are doing and whether our action is taking us in
the right direction. In other words, we want to know
what achieving the 3x20 objectives means in
practical terms for the Metropolitan area.”
The three participants in this round table were then
invited to answer the following questions:
What are the main elements (or main
reasons) that made you realise that a vision
Page 3/6
was needed? How did you identify the
driving forces for change and what were
these factors? What were the obstacles and
the solutions provided?
What problems/obstacles did you
encounter when developing your vision?
How did you overcome them? What would
you recommend to other cities to help them
build their own vision?
Is there a multidisciplinary team
responsible for the visioning process? If so,
how was this team set up? What are the
exact roles and tasks of this team? What
difficulties did you meet? What solutions did
you come up with?
Pierre CRÉPEAUX: “The main elements that
allowed us to identify the need for a vision came
from the previous administration. Our elected
representative at the time asked us: “How many
more buses and bus routes would your 3x20
mean in the
city?” It was
question and
one that we
were unable
Today, our
process has
led us to ask ourselves how and where we could
save on our own CO2 emissions (to achieve the
3x20) and what could be saved on private car
emissions. The next step will be: when designing
our public policies, the question is not to determine
how we are contributing to the greenhouse gas
effect but whether these policies are compatible
with our vision. This approach is also applied to the
preparation of the SCOT, the French regional
development plan. The right method is not to
quantify a priori the environmental impact of a
policy but to ask ourselves, while implementing it,
whether the actions carried out are taking us in the
right direction as defined in our vision. In other
words, being able to imagine the territory we want
to have in the future is a prerequisite to developing
the right public policies. Having said that, the
difficulty is to have all the players adopt the same
stand and make them understand that to make
progress, we need to share a common vision. The
same applies to our multidisciplinary team, which
includes a heat engineer, a highly qualified director
responsible for the ecological mission, two town
planners with a background that is more social and
urban than scientific, a person in charge of
environmental surveillance with a gardening focus,
an urban engineer and a person with a good
knowledge of institutional relations in charge of
mobilising the territory.”
3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
Richard ELELMAN: “The main element at the origin
of this search for a vision in Figueres was that
everything needed doing! It is a small town, which
is an advantage. We can talk directly to the citizens,
in their neighbourhoods. It is essential to
understand that, as elected representatives, we
learn more by talking to people than by organising
conferences. We must accept to learn what we do
not know and get this
knowledge where it lies,
taking the opinions of both
experts and citizens into
Catalonia, everyone looks to
Barcelona and tries to follow
what this city is doing. This is
not the way it should be. In
Figueres, we are going to
receive our first electric bus.
The very first one in
Catalonia! Well, it took time
to convince my colleagues and fellow political
players because they did not believe in this project.
They only believe in what they see! I therefore went
to visit an electric bus manufacturer in Italy and
came back with a vehicle that ran throughout
Figueres for three days. People saw it and believed
in it! Yes, an electric bus makes no noise, emits no
pollution, and it exists! Once you have created an
expectation, you have to meet it.
In Spain, city councils have many competencies
and are extremely powerful. This means that
mayors have a lot of power. This also leads to huge
differences in the policies implemented from one
town to another. We must, therefore, learn to work
together in a consistent way.
From a general point of view, to build a long-lasting
vision and ensure the continuity of the decisions
made, the thing is to speak to everyone and be
transparent as regards the stakes and choices
made. The adopted strategy must be explained
before being implemented, for without support,
what is being done now will be undone by the next
administration. Let us be clear, I never say “my”
department. The territory I am responsible for is not
“my” territory. My mandate is only a limited one. My
competency is only bestowed upon me and I know
that I will no longer be in charge when the projects I
am launching now are over.
I try to conceive policies that are compatible with all
the economic and social issues of the city. We must
have a systemic and horizontal approach to the
problems at hand, for they are always linked, in one
away or another, to other problems within the city”.
Katherine HUDSON: “We started a number of
actions in the field of transport, recycling,
renewable energy, biodiversity and concerning the
implementation of standards following the
introduction of EMAS3. But the population did not
See http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMAS for a description of the
EMAS certification
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understand how it was all related. We therefore had
to explain what all these actions, once carried out,
could bring to the inhabitants in their everyday life.
This explanatory task highlighted the need to build
and propose a vision that makes sense and links all
change factors together. The adoption of the One
Planet Living approach allowed us to cover several
social aspects like well-being, health and education.
We got closer to people’s
concerns. And gradually, using
their concerns, centres of
interest and questions as a
basis, we helped them take a
more global view of what we
were doing and why we were
doing it. As regards energy
issues, it is difficult to be
explicit, to make people feel
and understand the impact of
their behaviour. We had to
explain that sorting waste and
encouraging slow food circuits
can result in a poor ecological footprint if you travel
by plane twice a year. We had to show them that
our daily lifestyle used up the resources of three
planets. We then showed them how to reduce this
to one planet whilst improving their quality of life.
From a practical point of view, we gave ourselves
reference frameworks, organised workshops and
consultation processes with the population, experts
and professionals. They told us about their own
vision of an ideal city. We had to progress step by
step and make them gradually understand the
complexity of the interdependences at hand,
making sure that they had assimilated each of
them. A communication that fails to address
complex problems in a simple way is definitely an
obstacle to change. Little by little, everyone
understood that environmental issues are also
technical, ecological, economic, cultural and social
issues. This involves networking as well as a
multidisciplinary and participative approach.
A remaining obstacle is that the environmental
approach is still considered to be inefficient,
useless or just trendy, not to say futile, and far from
the population’s daily concerns. Quantifiable
information is needed to demonstrate that such an
approach can make the difference and the
ecological footprint calculation tool can prove useful
in this. This approach, which considers many
parameters, gives a global result and is a good
indicator of each person’s sustainability.
So as to attract as many people as possible, each
of their objectives must be known and then all their
individual objectives combined into one global
sustainable community objective. It has to be
proved that this sustainable community objective
will help each member of the community attain their
own objectives.
In terms of human resources, at the beginning I
was the only one amongst 3,000 municipal staff
members! There are now 6 of us: one is working
on sustainable development, three on biodiversity
-including two whose work also consists of looking
3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
for external financing- and one on internal
environmental performances. In the near future, we
are planning to hire a new member of staff who will
be in charge of project sustainability in general. The
objective will be to draw up an Action Plan for
Sutton and prepare the corresponding financial
As for the financial resources engaged, we have
always tried to ensure that the investments made,
especially when they required mobilising external
resources and know-how, would gain us more than
they cost. The organisations we work with, for
example, can apply for funding that we, as a public
authority, are not entitled to.”
Exchange of experiences and points of view
with other cities
Conservation – Besançon City Council): “Showing
what we do is one thing. But we also have to invent
a new type of communication to explain what is not
visible, what is not spectacular and does not
necessarily lead to an inauguration ceremony – one
of the forms of communication most appreciated by
elected representatives! – but which represents
major progress towards sustainability and improved
living. We may also question the resources used to
convince and engage local players. Are we sure
these resources in time and money will always be
available to us to initiate change? And how should
we position ourselves in relation to the inhabitants’
desires? Shall we grant them all their wishes
without imposing limits? We have to explain why
there are limits to the “always more” attitude.”
Christian VASSIE (Deputy Mayor of York City
Council and artist): “When Katherine said at the
beginning that she was alone, she got to the crux of
the problem. We must avoid getting bogged down
in technical and intellectual considerations. It is
people that make things happen. It was not
Richard’s electric bus as the appropriate technical
answer that won the day; it was Richard’s
enthusiasm and energy that provoked change. The
simple fact that he tried to do something without
being mandated to do so gives the population an
idea of his determination and his capacity for
initiative and this creates trust. The York EcoDepot4 came into being because a handful of
people really wanted it to be built. It is not the result
of a wide public consultation process which would
have spent of lot of time on whether or not such a
building was needed. We need to show voluntarism
and not loose ourselves in a wealth of expert
advice. Let those who want to make things happen
stand up and do it! We need enthusiasm and we
need time to develop our ideas and transmit them.
We spend a lot of time trying, and often failing, to
obtain the creative space we need. It would be
Information on the York Eco-Depot is available from
Page 5/6
extremely useful if we could leave our
breakthroughs, attempts and progresses on the
IMAGINE blog so as to pool enthusiasm.”
Ralf BERMICH (Energy Climate department Heidelberg): “I think we need visions at various
levels. In Heidelberg, our concept of urban
development encompasses all aspects of
sustainable development. This does not concern
action. What seems important to me is the
development of visions of some specific aspects.
Before taking action, we need to decompose
complexity, and therefore, to decompose our vision.
This decomposition process will lead to the
identification of a number of projects, each with its
own vision, and to the distribution of responsibilities
amongst all the players to be involved.”
Pim KOEGLER (Founder of the Power Inspiring
Movement advice agency, The Netherlands): “I
have three questions to ask you. I would like to
know how such a vision can emerge in practical
terms? I believe we learn a lot from our mistakes as
well as from others’ mistakes. What would you not
do again? How can you communicate on the
processes engaged in a transparent way?”
Richard ELELMAN: “Ralf proposes to divide the
vision into sub-visions. I think that globally, the
programme must have a motto, a clearly identified
direction with a specific and practical objective that
can easily be understood by all. Then, each project
is a contribution to, or a version of, this global
vision. In practical terms, this means that there is a
risk of our transversal, multidisciplinary teams
turning in on themselves and becoming exogenous
components of the administration they belong to.
The members of these teams must be
ambassadors to their original department and must
personify the links that will make the vision a tool
that is perfectly integrated into all the sectoral
Emile SPIERER (assistant scientist in the energy
department of the canton of Geneva in charge of
the property sector): “I do not try to measure my
ideas or theoretical calculations. I look at the reality
of the result as measured through the energy sales
on my territory. In the vision we developed, we
gave up the idea of standard solutions. On the
contrary, we try to standardise questions. Such a
vision is built around four components. The first
consists of identifying our needs and bringing them
into question. The second deals with understanding
what our resources and constraints are. The third
component is the source of inspiration that we find
in the scientist Sadi Carnot. The last one concerns
human relations. We talk to the people who come
to see us around our coffee machine and this is
where most of our ideas are developed. One of our
obstacles is the number of decision-makers. It is
extremely difficult to reach a decision when too
many people have to or want to be involved.
Another difficulty is that implementing a vision
3rd Foresight Seminar IMAGINE – Change course ! Towards a sustainable…. and desirable future
implies a succession of decisions and some risk
taking. We must dare take the first decision and
announce the following ones without knowing for
sure what the consequences will be. This requires
courage. We must accept that we are going to
make mistakes.”
Stéphane DURAND (Head of the Environment and
Municipality of Echirolles): “A possible mistake
consists of believing that everyone is convinced
that we should opt for sustainable development and
is now ready to act accordingly. For a number of
committed political decision-makers, this forms the
backbone of true political orientations capable of
obtaining everyone’s commitment. Such a
commitment, however, cannot happen without a
shared vision. And this shared vision must exist!
Our elected representatives are also extremely
keen to communicate on what is being done. For
those who work on environmental issues, it is
important to use the levers of communication
properly and to keep communication strategy under
control. Communicating on a vision is difficult but
when launching or developing new projects, it is
possible to describe them as achievements that
confirm the relevance of the vision.”
Lily PARSHALL (Ph.D., Columbia University, NewYork)
”Moving from the objective to the evaluation of
energy policies is an important step. What do you
do and how do you share these figure-based
evaluations with the public? Furthermore, some
cities are already taking part in the carbon market in
the United-States. Is there such a thing in Europe?
Do you intend to have your cities take part in such
markets to obtain credits? Have you already
mapped building energy use in order to determine
your priority targets?”
Mathias SINN (Head of the climate, health and
environment department - Munich): “Our objectives
were set twenty years ago. The evaluation process
includes controlling CO2 emissions. This works
relatively well although it is difficult to obtain all the
data from all the various stakeholders. We have
quantitative data on the city of Munich emissions
and we transmit this information to political
decision-makers as well as to the population. As far
as emission trading is concerned, this system only
allowed us to achieve our objectives as of last year.
Many resources are allocated to the organisations
involved in this trading system. Considering the
investment it implies and the number of players
involved, the cities do not take part directly, they
take part indirectly and the whole system is
managed at the level of the Land.”
Myriam NORMAND: “Besançon has been collecting
data on its municipal properties since the end of the
1970’s. This data only concerns consumption in
kWh and the costs relating to the city. CO2 and
greenhouse gas emission measurements were
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introduced in 2006, but in the current context where
electricity is produced mainly from nuclear sources,
this is not sufficient and quite perverse. Elected
representatives should be provided with other
indicators and decision-making tools. The city has
its own district heating network and can control its
consumption data and development. But since the
liberalisation of the markets and the separation of
the functions between the French electricity (EDF)
and gas (GDF) boards, it has been impossible to
control the data provided by energy suppliers. The
city has, therefore, lost power in terms of spatial
organisation and energy distribution. This is a
Concerning the carbon market, two systems exist.
The CO2 emission trading scheme which allows the
buying and selling of any excess savings or
emissions based on the emission targets the
players must comply with. Since 2006, we have
also had the CEE5 or energy saving certificates
which are based on objectives set for three years.
Whenever an energy-efficient technology is being
introduced, the municipality extends certificates for
each type of saving made and tries to sell them to
energy suppliers based on the objectives set by the
State. But this system has not yet been able to
generate a market and does not represent a
substantial income for the local authorities.”
Georges OHANA (Energy delegate – City of
Lausanne): “In Switzerland, we introduced a tax on
CO2 and it is possible to place target-based
contracts with the federal government to avoid
paying this tax. Lausanne has signed such a
contract. We are lucky in that we control energy
distribution. However, it is more difficult as regards
transport, especially as the French border is very
close and fuel is cheaper in Switzerland than it is in
Katherine HUDSON: “In the United Kingdom, data
concerning industry, transport and domestic
emissions has been collected by each local
authority since 2005. Local authorities must use
one of the county emission monitoring indicators”.
Information on the CEE is available from