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at the occasion of the Congress of the Association Villes de France in Albi in June 2019

The Villes de France association is an association of elected representatives from the cities and intercommunities that make up the urban fabric of our country. The cities we represent comprise between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants and form a bridge between big cities and rural territories…

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Mme. Caroline CAYEUX

President of the Villes de France Association

The Villes de France association is an association of elected representatives from the cities and intercommunities that make up the urban fabric of our country. The cities we represent comprise between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants and form a bridge between big cities and rural territories. Our elected representatives are motivated by a desire of alliance between the regions without which our country will always be fractured. Medium-sized cities are what make up France today; they are prefecture cities, sub-prefecture cities with remarkable heritage, cities that innovate, evolve, and modernize, powerhouse cities of the Republic.

For 30 years, our association has been defending the interests of these territories. The role of our association is to serve communities that join us, to relay questions and concerns, and to come up with appropriate proposals that are heard and, as often as possible, listened to. Three essential missions are carried out: actions aimed at influencing French and European institutions through ministerial hearings, the defense of amendments in major legislation and the participation in dialogue bodies; the networking of our elected members including through our annual Congress, our local intelligence meetings and the working groups of our idea laboratory; and finally, an analysis and information sharing project conducted via our weekly Ondes Urbaines newsletter, our observatories and our publications.

Our association works on all urban issues such as local finance, urban planning, transport, housing, sustainable development… It is in line with a dialogue process both constructive and demanding with the partners of the regions.

In early 2019, Villes de France launched a regional survey with the support of the Regional Bank, conducted by the IPSOS Institute. 1,600 French people polled on the vision they have of the region in which they live and the actors most likely to make it evolve. Our survey revealed that 43% of French people would prefer to live in a medium-sized city. Our cities have a remarkable heritage, they offer a quality living environment, and are often cities in the countryside. The medium-sized city is a regional city of balance but also a city where life is good, a human city, an innovative city, a city of the future.

Villes de France and its members have worked for several years on the theme of the revitalization of city centres. The association has co-constructed the Coeur de Ville program with the Ministry which will allow, with a budget of 5 billion euros over 5 years, to associate different regional partners to carry out ambitious and varied projects within the theme of revitalizing city centres. This program essentially covers housing, mobility and digital issues. 222 cities were selected and our association expressed interest in further involvement on other key issues for our cities such as cultural dynamism, local higher education and proper health services.

This program is to be compared with the Territoires d’Industrie project, which also allows 124 regions in difficulty to think about their future economic development despite the fact that the industrial sector has undergone a profound change. For some regions, a strategy of attractiveness and economic reconversion is a prerequisite for the revitalization of city centres. The developments we are carrying out at the scale of our centre of population must be considered in a global manner.

One of the key issues for medium-sized cities is accessibility. As such, a balanced regional development implies preserving smaller railway lines, whose shutting down would have serious consequences (economic, social, environmental…), with an inevitable downgrading of the cities concerned and their surrounding rural regions, and a rapid rise in the sense of population relegation. These mobility issues have been at the origin of the so-called yellow vests movement and must therefore be thought of in the equality between regions.

Finally, a last challenge for the future of our medium-sized cities and their intercommunalities is to be part of ecological and digital transitions. Our cities generate less congestion problems than big cities but are involved in the current trends of decentralization of energy, agriculture that pays due regard to the environment and soft mobility. Likewise, we cannot miss out on the digital transition and the opportunities it brings whilst protecting ourselves from its pitfalls, particularly in terms of data protection.



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M. Jonathan GAINCHE

Managing Director of Villes de France Association

Could you tell us about your missions as General Manager of Villes de France?

Under the authority of the President of Villes de France, the Deputy President and the Board of Directors, my mission is to maintain Ville de France’s network. I ensure the maximum representation of the association with the national public authorities, the Government, the Parliament, European institutions… Our association must be listened to and, as often as possible, heard! I have to create the conditions necessary for the achievement of this objective. I am also very vigilant in ensuring that Villes de France benefits from a real showcase, particularly media-related. I must finally create the conditions for a real service to be rendered to the members of the association. We can be competent counsellors to them, to somehow be of aid in their decision-making; this is also the role of an association of elected representatives.


What are the expectations of your members and the support that you offer them in the face of major national and European issues?

Villes de France builds a strong relationship with its members and carries their messages. The elected representatives we represent appreciate our association’s networking and sharing of their concerns and projects.

The Villes de France ideas lab, made up of 5 working groups, was set up under the impetus of our President a year ago. It is a very useful tool to bring together elected representatives and build positions to uphold. In the same way, our local intelligence meetings make it possible to dive deeper into particular themes and to work out proposal manifestos. It’s one of these local intelligence meetings that led us to propose the establishment of a national program for the revitalization of city centres, a program that provided ample food for thought for the Coeur de Ville plan. Finally, our Congress is an opportunity to give an overview of the major issues that made the news in our communities during the year.

European issues are dealt with by our idea laboratory’s “Europe working group”. Each year, our working group travels to Brussels to defend its positions before European institutions. A study trip to a Member Country makes it possible to discover innovative good practices. In addition, our association communicates on the various calls for European projects and in particular Urbact. The “Europe working group” is the image of our association, a strong proponent of proposals. It is in this spirit that we have registered by putting in place a manifesto for candidates in the last European elections, and by auditioning the main political forces. This has given rise to very interesting exchanges and this has hopefully allowed the candidates who have become European deputies to stimulate discussions regarding the positiont of french cities in Europe!






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+33 1 45 44 99 61


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Mayor of La Roche-sur-Yon, President of the Board of La Roche-sur-Yon, elected referent of Villes de France on the Europe dossier


How does Europe benefit your city?

It benefits it with technical and financial support. It is 3 Million euros minimum that will be invested by the EU between 2014 and 2020 in the territory of our agglomeration. These funds are used for urban renewal in priority neighbourhoods or, for example, to fund the creation of a Nursing Home and thus meet the maintenance of nursing care throughout the city. EU aid is also deployed to preserve and improve our surroundings and our living environment (flood prevention, development of cycle paths). Finally, it supports the most innovative projects of local SMEs and promotes exchanges between high school students and students from private and public institutions in La Roche-sur-Yon (Erasmus +).


As a local elected representative, what are your expectations of the European institutions?

I could summarize them under a general formula of “make our life easier!” This can be characterized in many ways. Firstly by reducing the publication of excessively pernickety standards and, as a result, largely unsuited to “real life” in any case to the day-to-day management of a city like La Roche-sur-Yon. Then, by giving us much more legibility in the financial support. We must thank the EU for the help it provides to a community like ours, but is it really necessary to be so procedural, so complex and administrative in a caricatured way? To standardize is to simplify, not to complicate, it seems to me.


Why must European funds be saved for all regions?

Cohesion policy represents the added value of Europe and the realization of the values of solidarity and fairness for most project leaders and European citizens. As a beneficiary and intermediary organization, our agglomeration wishes to affirm its conviction that the funds must be maintained in order to reinforce the attractiveness and development of our territory. According to the Eurobarometer 452 on Regional Policy of June 2017, more than three out of four European citizens consider that EU regional investments have a positive impact on their city or region. In addition, the FESIs have contributed significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy retrofit projects and soft modes of transport, as well as to projects for the most vulnerable neighbourhoods and the most vulnerable people. Nursing homes were created, job seekers accompanied and neighbourhood entrances restored. We therefore hope that the EU will renew the EFSF in these areas in particular, as well as the demographic stakes, as the population of older people will grow strongly in the years to come.


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Mr Frédéric LETURQUE

Mayor of Arras, Secretary General of Villes de France


How does Europe benefit your city on a daily basis?

Through its Regional and Urban Policy, the European Union has managed to become a key player in the development and balance of our territories. Since 2000, Europe has supported several notable projects: facilities and amenities of the Residence Saint-Pol, digital projects of the Hospital Centre of Arras, the extension of the nautical base in Saint-Laurent-Blangy as part of Olympic training, credits specific for professional integration and training, biodiversity operations, and energy savings projects. As Mayor and Secretary General of Villes de France, I stand for the future reconnection between the institutions and the citizens and actors of the territory. Europe, as of 2020, must be equipped with a proposal for Medium-sized Cities so that the Operational Programs may have a real urban objective.


As a local elected representative, what are your expectations of the European institutions?

Within the territory, two major expectations are distinguished. Firstly, the partnership between the European institutions and the medium-sized cities must be strengthened over time. Our primary concern is that cohesion policy meets the needs of citizens. This is why local elected representatives must participate and better integrate in the construction of the European project. On the other hand, the European institutions must come closer to the citizens and we must all defend a shared European vision. I propose to the European, national and local decision-makers, the experimentation of a European strategy for the medium-sized cities based on their nodal character and balance in the planning of the territory. The European Funds could have a global and transversal vision of the urban fact. Within the Operational Programs, a dedicated territorial axis would break down its intervention levers by type of territory: medium-sized cities, “large territories”, rural areas, and troubled districts. The territories would mobilize the funds on the basis of an operational, prospective and shared Territory Project.


Why must European funds be saved for all regions?

We are on the eve of the European elections, at a time when the European Union is raising some concern, the maintenance of the cohesion policy for all territories is essential to renew the European project in proximity with citizens. Our territories still suffer from fractures and face challenges of territorial, economic and social cohesion. Our medium-sized cities must thus innovate and find sustainable solutions in order to reinforce cohesion through structuring projects. Pockets of poverty must for example be treated at the same time as our issues of territorial balance because it is absolutely necessary to promote our attractiveness to guarantee employment, territorial cohesion, creativity and economic and social development. Our medium-sized cities, from upstream to downstream, must now, not be associated or consulted, but co-build with the European institutions, the state, and the regions.


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Mr Gilbert MEYER

Mayor of Colmar, President of Colmar Agglomération

You have become a member of the Covenant of Mayors in 2010, could you talk to us about this covenant? What were your motivations?

Membership to the Covenant of Mayors is a voluntary act. It marks the determination of a community to actively fight against the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and to develop strategies for adapting to climate change.

The City of Colmar has been a signatory of this progress initiative since May 17, 2010.
I am convinced that action must be taken at the local level to hope for global effects. The main reasons that pushed me to commit the City to such means are related to the desire to further structure our air-climate-energy approach, to be able to compare ourselves with other communities and to discuss our good practices. But to get real results, it would require a greater generalization of actions from the Territorial Communities. Moreover, it is unfortunate that only the Territorial Communities with more than 50,000 inhabitants are obliged to draw up an annual report to the Municipal Council on sustainable development.

By signing this agreement, our community is committed to exceeding the European climate objectives of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20% by 2020 (compared to our reference year 2007). It is a process of continuous improvement. New targets are set for future deadlines (i.e.: -40% by 2030).



After almost 10 years of membership, what have you achieved? And can you give us some examples of exchanges of good practices and their realization in your commune?

The Covenant of Mayors leads us to carry out regular progress reports which are submitted to the Bureau of the Covenant of Mayors in Brussels.
This is what we have just achieved with our partner, ATMO Grand Est, through the update of emissions assessments for our territory for the years 2007 – 2010 – 2013 and 2016, accompanied by the assessment of the effectiveness of our action plan, up to 2016. In a very encouraging way, our results are in line with the announced objectives. The areas in which the community is directly involved with show significant declines between 2007 and 2016:

  • Energy renovation program for municipal buildings, with an average investment of € 1 million per year. 1,856 tons of CO2 avoided
  • Aid for the thermal renovation of private housing, with 2,468 cases subsidized until 2016 (4,000 cases by the end of 2018) for an overall amount of aid of € 1.97 million (community and VIALIS local energy supplier). 12,330 tons of CO2 avoided. Work initiated amounted to € 10.6 million at the end of 2016, today we are at € 17.7 million.
  • Policy of acquisition of energy-efficient vehicles and optimization of the municipal fleet, reduction of 23% of consumption and 28% of emissions, i.e. 192 tons of CO2 avoided
  • Public lighting optimization programs, 21% reduction in energy consumption and 41% in greenhouse gas emissions. 179 tons of CO2 avoided
  • Creation of relay parking during Christmas weekends and setting up free shuttles. In 2016, 48,184 passengers carried, 16,000 cars avoided in the city centre, 19.3 tons of CO2 not released
  • Performance of district heating (SCCU). In addition to heat injection from household waste incineration, a biomass boiler was commissioned in 2011. The facility’s emission factor decreased by 39% between 2007 and 2016. 30 450 tons of CO2, including 11,000 tons of CO2, avoided thanks to the biomass boiler.


Trace Colmar 2017 © Olivier Schmitt


In view of the quality of the elements provided (documents considered “well prepared and particularly structured”), the Bureau of the Covenant of Mayors has indicated its intention to use our restitution materials as a reference tool for member communities of the “Eastern Partnership” of the European Union.

This is the second time that the City of Colmar is noticed by the Bureau of the Covenant of Mayors, among the 7,755 current signatories (57 countries around the world, 252 million inhabitants).

In 2017, our community was already taken as an example in the reporting reference guide with three other cities: Tallinn capital of Estonia (412,000 inhabitants), Gaia in Portugal (303,000 inhabitants) and Vaxjo in Sweden (87,000 inhabitants).






Mairie de Colmar
1 place de la Mairie
BP 50528 68021 Colmar Cedex


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M. Jérôme BALOGE

Mayor of Niort, President of the Niort CA


How does Europe benefit your city?

Europe contributes to the development of the territory of Niort by allocating funds to finance projects on various themes of the City, the Urban Community of Niort and all the actors of the territory (social landlords, IIBSN, companies, Consular Chambers, farmers…). The proposed projects may relate to the operation or investment of structuring equipment. In addition, through targeted programs of the European Union, the City of Niort benefits from indirect aids to promote a healthier diet in schools.


As a local elected representative, what are your expectations of the European institutions?

Access to institutions’ facilities must be facilitated to enable medium-sized cities to apply for and benefit from European funds. The difficulty lies mainly in the choice of criteria that limit the possibilities of soliciting calls for proposals. On the other hand, time constraints may prevent cities from responding, particularly because of the timeframes inherent in the functioning of communities and their financial capacity to secure resources for project financing. The opportunity of an application turns out to be difficult in this case, whereas the guidelines for calls for proposals can be of real interest to the city.


Why must European funds be saved for all regions?

In a difficult budgetary context, it is essential to be able to rely on a broader level in order to bring the necessary cohesion and solidarity between the territories. The differences between the regions can thus stimulate projects and innovation according to various problems but also federate actions on mutual issues. Limiting European funds to regions in difficulty alone would not promote overall attractiveness. Large-scale projects must be able to be carried out in promising sectors to raise the level of performance throughout the French territory, even the European territory.


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Mayor of Maizières-les-Metz, President of the CC Rives de Moselle


How does Europe benefit your city on a daily basis?

Located in a border region of three European countries and at the intersection of major traffic axes, Maizières-les-Metz is a crossroads city, naturally open to Europe. Europe strengthens the dynamism and the economic development of our territory by the freedoms offered with regard to the circulation of the goods and the people but also, more concretely, by the accompaniment of certain investments of the communities. Thereby, since 2001, the ERDF has contributed € 3,260,000 to municipal projects in a wide range of areas such as sports, music, digital and ecology. Europe also promotes cultural exchanges by promoting the idea of European belonging. In this way, municipalities create privileged links through their twinning actions, young people have the opportunity to meet each other and European citizens bring, through their vote and their involvement, a contribution to the municipal debate.


As a local elected representative, what are your expectations of the European institutions?

More than ever, the European institutions must meet the ultimate physical challenge; the challenge of reconnecting with the citizens. Robert Schuman, a statesman and a great Moslem elect, believed that Europe would be achieved by concrete achievements. It’s still a necessity today. We need a political vision expressed forcefully, like the messages that General de Gaulle has carried. Solidarity between European peoples requires permanent work. The populist wind that crosses our continent shows that nothing is ever acquired. People forget. To re-establish this bond of trust, the European institutions must demonstrate that they protect and respect Europeans in their diversity and identity, that they bring progress and that they are open to the world without being naive.


Why must European funds be saved for all regions?

While Brussels is considering budget cuts under Brexit, it now seems essential to mobilize for the preservation of European funds. Indeed, we face a high risk of fragmentation of territories. This is why all regions must be able to be eligible for cohesion policy. It must evolve and be renewed to be simpler and more effective in a narrowed scope. In this respect, the credit consumption rules managed by the new French regions require more flexibility and harmonization. The post-2020 European budget must match the European ambition and allow the continuation of these policies with strong territorial impact and the amplification of their added value. The Europe of proximity is the only one that works; it must anchor itself in the territories and give itself the means to be visible, perceptible, and alive. Many regional projects would not have been possible without the help of European funds. It would therefore be particularly detrimental to regard cohesion policy as a simple adjustment variable for the construction of Europe.


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Mayor of Forbach

What are the main issues related to cross-border policy?

Every day, thousands of people along the borders, and especially in Eastern Moselle, cross the borders for different reasons: for work, consumption of goods and services, health, tourism or culture. For this to be possible, there is necessarily the question of learning the neighbour’s language (bilingualism or even plurilingualism), and public services including transport. Cross-border territories are “living areas” in which the population don’t want any barrier.


Who are the actors and what is the role of each?

In the field of cooperation, the actors are numerous: the State, regions, departments, intercommunalities and municipalities, each at its level of competence. This millefeuille is not made to simplify local projects, especially since France is still very attached to its Parisian Jacobinism. This is partly the challenge of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (January 22, 2019) as of those that preceded it. This is also the aim of the cross-border mechanism proposed by the European Parliament in the context of its reflections on the post-2020 cohesion policy.

The cross-border concern required the creation of territorial cooperation structures capable of developing joint actions on both sides of borders. On our territory, we have created a European Group of Territorial Cooperation (GECT) SaarMoselle which exists since 2010 and whose mission is to develop projects to foster the interaction between inhabitants, associations and regional actors as well as to create synergies between Moselle and Saar to eventually become a territory of excellence for Franco-German cooperation. This group deals with matters such as economic development, tourism, health, social cohesion and mobility.

Cross-border cooperation that addresses concrete needs unfortunately remains the domain of public authorities. Developed actions are not always sufficiently known even if things improve.

But let us not forget that citizens are mobilizing to build relationships with their neighbours. These actions are mostly in the non-profit world (cultural actions mainly) or are economic when one is an entrepreneur or has development responsibilities.


More precisely in your city, what are the projects set up as part of your cross-border territorial policy? And what are the obstacles that you encounter?

In Forbach and Eastern Moselle, we work on many economic, health, employment, training and cultural issues.

For example, we have successfully implemented a cardiology emergency agreement since 2013 with the Marie-Madeleine de Forbach hospital and the cardiological centre Völklingen in Germany. In this case, the goal was to reduce the time for patient management to treat the cardiac emergency. It took us many years to achieve this. Since then, we have been working on another health convention aimed at creating a “cross-border access organization area” of general competence. As discussions progressed, it became a sectoral agreement. In this area, concrete progress is difficult to obtain because of the multiplicity of actors, the differences in regulations and medical procedures, and the problems of reimbursement of medical expenses. The political will is present yet these constraints continue to restrain its realization.

Cross-border transport is another example of concrete realization on our territory. The Eurodistrict thus carries a “Sarre-Moselle ticketing” project supported by the INTERREG VA program, which aims to facilitate an end-to-end cross-border trip to the heart of Europe with a single travel pass, regardless of the mode used or country of origin. The main purpose is to enhance the attractiveness of cross-border lines within the Greater Region. In concrete terms, the aim is to manage multimodality through the interoperability of ticketing systems.

Another major issue in border territories is training. Associated to this are, on the one hand, diploma recognition problems, and, on the other hand, that of standards. In the case of Eastern Moselle, for example, a BTS diploma has no equivalent in Saar. This is a problem because there are many vacancies in companies and industries in Saar, our workers are competent but we do not have the same interpretive guides. In another area, the nursing profession doesn’t allow for the same activities in France and in Saar which is an important constraint when it comes to recruitment on both sides of the border. In the first case, French institutions agree with major Saar groups to set up internships and allow the award of an internal diploma to facilitate recruitment. As far as the nursing profession is concerned, a system of internships in the neighbour country has been set up in order to perfect the linguistic skills and to master the intervention framework in the neighbouring country. It will, however, be necessary to harmonize certain things so that there can be full mobility.


Concluding remarks:

Eastern Moselle is experiencing a real paradox: it is a territory that has experienced annexation and two world wars and a significant part of the population is voting against the construction of Europe. Cooperation must become more concrete and reactive than ever before to solve what is now commonly called the irritants of everyday life. For us, the question of a cross-border metropolis is resolutely posed with the need for a right to experimentation and differentiation to be closer to the needs of our populations. This construction must further engage citizens so that they can feel fully concerned.


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Mrs Elena Umanets, Smart City Development Manager, "Installation, operation and new services" Business Unit of Egis Group


Everyone knows about Egis but today we know there are new challenges. What is Egis’s policy on sustainable development and in particular in areas related to mobility?

The Egis Group’s mission is to support communities in the context of ecological and energy transition towards new mobility practices that are less polluting and more virtuous, and this during all phases of a project: from initial considerations and strategic planning to design, implementation and operation.

We are inventing, in a close-cooperation with communities, the solutions of tomorrow’s smart cities, but Egis already offers innovative and operational services to solve urban and peri-urban congestion, to optimize the use of existing infrastructures and to improve the quality of the air. To that end, we develop approaches and solutions based on the latest technological innovations and we also innovate with regard to economic and social components.

At Egis, we carry out more than 60% of our business internationally and we have an ease of promoting an exchange of best practices between cities in Europe and around the world in the field of sustainable mobility. This is particularly the case for cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which pioneered reverse-tollbooths and smart parking, and inspired other cities to move towards these initiatives.


Between “control and increased mobility” what is the right balance for the comfort of citizens?

Tomorrow’s world of mobility, with autonomous cars and the so-called “enhanced” infrastructure, also brings about important changes in uses that will affect the daily lives of citizens. Some will be done in a natural way, and others will need more support from politicians. For this, the two components, that of regulation through effective control and accompanying change through individual gratification (Nudge theory) must be integrated into a single urban policy.


What is the origin of the Inverted-tollbooth project?

This project effectively relieves congestion in main access roads and highways up to 5-10% at peak time. These have already proved their worth, particularly in the Netherlands, and are increasingly of interest to French communities… To this end, users are encouraged to adopt more virtuous behaviour with regard to their mobility, by setting up educational and incentive measures that encourage them to practice more positive mobility. The principle is simple: unlike a congestion charge that penalizes drivers, we reward them temporarily if they do not take their car during peak hours. We talk about “Nudge”, the push to change habits. Indeed, without this incentive, nobody would make the effort of reorganizing their private life to get around. With our method, it’s a winning combination for all involved and it works! Our experience in the Netherlands confirms this. After the cessation of the reward, more than 80% of the participants kept up their good habits (getting around in staggered hours, telecommuting, carpooling, use of public transport…). A person who already has a virtuous behaviour, who takes public transport for example, does not need to change their good habits.


© chinaface

Egis is very aware of air quality as a public health issue. How to guarantee and make low emission zones more reliable?

Control is an indispensable lever for successfully setting up low emission zones. It can be manual or automated. The latter ensures the equal treatment of motorists and represents a significant productivity gain for communities, on the condition of a long-term project. Feedback from European cities, especially from Amsterdam, shows that the control efficiency rate goes from 66% with manual control to 97% with automatic control.

In order to optimize the cost of its operation, the ZFE control can be combined with other control systems deployed in the urban area: hazardous material transport, public safety, on-street parking. The latter has high potential and numerous ways in which it could be optimized. Several cities are adopting automated control for on-street parking.


15 avenue du Centre
78280 Guyancourt, France




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Mayor of Albi

Albi is happy and proud to host the National Congress of the “Villes de France” association less than a year from the renewal of our local executives and in an enabling environment for the demands of our territories. This is evidenced by our elected colleagues’ significant participation in our work, as well as that of our network’s partners and the members of the government, starting with our Prime Minister who wanted to express his appreciation for the work of local elected representatives.

The Albigensian is a formidable field of strategic experimentation in many areas. Located in the metropolitan area of Toulouse, with a population of some 83,000 in a living area of more than 160,000, the Albigensian agglomeration is a territory of balance between metropolis and rurality, a growing territory and “at the heart of many exchanges”, as INSEE pointed out in its latest report.

City of heritage and culture, Albi also attracts people due to the dynamism of its economy. Its tourist attraction is of 1.3 million visitors per year. Its tertiary and industrial attraction is even more important, especially around the sector of the future which revolves around hydrogen. Mostly, its attractiveness is largely stimulated by higher education opportunities and a commitment to excellence.

A sustainable and connected city, the capital of biodiversity, Albi also appears at the cutting edge of the essential issues of urban agriculture and short food chains.

During your stay, you will have the opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the city of Lapérouse, Toulouse-Lautrec and Jaurès, as you wander at the centre of our episcopal city listed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List in 2010.
“Ville de France” speaks for our human-scale cities, characterized by humanitarianism. By bringing together elected representatives from all political persuasions that share common concerns and mutually enrich each other with their best practices, “Villes de France” demonstrates that we can be the major and constructive actors of a new land-use planning national policy.

Together, our communities are stronger and more representative, aware of their central role in ensuring a real cohesion of territories around an ambitious policy of access to culture, high-quality care and appropriate means of transportation while integrating undoubted imperatives of a sustainable development in a preserved environment.

I thank Caroline Cayeux, President of “Villes de France”, who manages our network with talent, generosity and enthusiasm. I thank her and my colleagues and friends from the office for having selected Albi to organize this important congress. This is a beautiful vote of confidence. 

The choice of the theme topic for our congress: “Enhancing the quality of daily life in the cities of France” opens up very broad perspectives for exchanges and debates on issues as crucial as commercial attractiveness (due to the implementation of the action plan Coeur de France), cities, our communities’ financial autonomy, the city-metropolis link, training and higher education.
There are so many issues that are indeed our ever-present concerns as local elected representatives. There is no doubt that our Congress will be a centrepiece that will have repercussions throughout the country and that it will assist the cause of our communities.

The Albigeois is a land of welcome; Albigensians have the sense of hospitality with a strong sense of belonging to an exceptional territory. “Villes de France” feels at home, brought together. What a beautiful image!

Excellent congress to all.




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• Renovation, rehabilitation and restructuring of habitat

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Mayor of Cahors and President of the CA of Grand Cahors, Vice-President of Villes de France


Since 2009, and as part of its urban project of reclaiming its centrality, the City of Cahors has put the energy improvement of old buildings at the heart of its system, to improve the quality of living and allow the return of families in the city.


Various specialized studies and a 3rd cycle thesis conducted in Cahors make it possible to measure:

  • The unexploited energy capacities of old buildings (before 1948) based on the construction techniques and the materials used,
  • The capacity of eco-renovation techniques to improve the energy performance of buildings, while preserving their heritage value,
  • The existence of a performance balance between energy improvement, summer comfort and the durability of buildings.


It is therefore around these objectives that the ENERPAT project (contraction ENERgy-PATrimony) was created in Cahors, to stimulate research, innovation and economic development.

The Urban Community of Greater Cahors, competent in universities and economic development, took charge of the deployment of this sector by:

  • Control of the ongoing European consortium ENERPAT-SUDOE, with the cities of PORTO, VITORIA GASTEIZ and CAHORS, each of which constructs a building demonstrating these eco-renovation techniques, to measure its performance as well as the evaluation of users,
  • Application submitted to the “Innovative Territories” Investment Program of the Future as part of the MACEO Massif Central consortium,
  • Deployment on the Occitania Region of a centre of competence and reference of Cahors in terms of the Recovering of Old Centres and the Energetic Improvement of old buildings…


In Cahors, the urban centrality recovering project committed under the title of “Cœur d’Agglo”, has recently been supplemented by the “Action Cœur de Ville” and, more recently, by the selection for a call for proposals launched by the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion, “Ré inventions nos Cœurs de Ville”. The project is operational thanks to:

  • Demonstrator building ENERPAT-SUDOE,
  • The OPAH-RU and the heritage renovation of several hundred housing units,
  • The renovation of public buildings such as the University Centre Maurice-FAURE and the Henri-Martin Museum,
  • Urban and heritage redevelopment project of the Palace of Via selected under “Re inventions nos Cœurs de Ville”.


ENERPAT is an instrument of innovation, a field of experimentation and an operational tool at the service of the three-fold research / higher education / value creation. A real local development sector, ENERPAT is thought of as a factor of local specialization replicable to fit other programs. It is an additional added value to the cadurcien urban project that, for nearly 10 years and as a pioneer, awards the city by its own reconstruction. An example on how to embrace the new urban paradigm for the renewal of cities.







Mairie de Cahors
73 Boulevard Léon Gambetta, 46000 Cahors
Tél. : 05 65 20 87 87


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The Higher Institute of Building and Public Works

a pier of an engineering structure

The Higher Institute of Building and Public Works (ISBA TP) is a consular training establishment in Marseille, expert in the specialization of engineers in the field of civil engineering.

Founded in 1952, by construction companies in the PACA region to meet the urgent need for major post-war reconstruction and infrastructure modernization projects in the Marseille region, the ISBA-TP is recognized for the quality of its trainings.

The institute has been developing high-level courses in a tradition of quality and innovation recognized by the State since 1953. The diploma of the ISBA TP has been certified by the CTI (Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur) since 1957.


The ISBA TP develops three specialties:


The ISBA-TP is responsible for the following tasks:

  • Training of civil engineering specialization level BAC + 6 (years)
  • Expert services, counselling for businesses, project owners and project managers,
  • Applied research on topics related to the development of new technologies
  • Continuous training provided by FORMISBA: tailor-made training courses inside and outside of companies


Rehabilitation of the Utelle tunnel in the 06 department


The Institute welcomes each year small promotions of 40 to 60 engineering students and prepares them in 15 months to the degree of Engineer specialized in Civil Engineering.

Strong points:

  • accreditation by the Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (CTI)
  • proximity with companies and engineering consultants of the PACA region
  • 6-month internship in a company
  • 100% employability 6 months after graduation.


Tower “La Marseillaise” built in Marseille

Our educational teams, through their teachings, have the will to transmit to all our engineering students values such as openness to the world, ethics, rigor, and professionalism.


Over the years, we have built and expanded an engaged and quality educational team of professionals who are experts in their field of teaching.

The construction and public works sector is a strong global economic sector, expected to grow by 70% by 2020.

The evolution of the sector at national and international levels towards the technologies of tomorrow and eco-construction makes it a sector with high potential for the employment of young graduate engineers.

The construction sector includes all the activities of design and construction of public or private buildings, both industrial and non-industrial, of infrastructure related to land or sea transport, and of urbanization equipment related to the development of human activity.

The professions and tradecrafts offered in the construction sector are not limited to the design and construction of structures, but also concern the life of buildings and structures in their operations of development, upkeep, and maintenance, until their deconstruction.

Some figures (estimated FBB –June 2014) of the construction sector in the French economy in 2013:

  • 347 000 businesses
  • 1 469 000 assets
  • 126 billion euros (excluding tax) of works


The sector suffers from a lack of qualified engineers, and will have to increase its recruitment in the next ten years.

The levels of qualification required are becoming higher because of the evolution of technologies, and the increasing complexity of current projects. In addition, the advent of digital technology, which will revolutionize the construction sector, requires highly versatile and highly technical engineer profiles.


1 rue Saint Sébastien, 13006 Marseille
Téléphone : 04 91 39 33 86


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Epareuses ROUSSEAU

Rousseau innovates and puts on the electric - performance, safety and respect for the environment

ROUSSEAU, an expert on dedicated equipment for the maintenance of roadside verges, has replaced, on its range of E-TP mowers, the transmission of hydraulic power by an electric transmission for the rotor drive.

This idea arose from three key issues: to anticipate the future transition of agricultural machinery towards electricity, to show ROUSSEAU’s involvement in the future of the industry, and to show its consideration for the current environmental challenges. These devices provide many gains for the product, its user and its working environment, and are more efficient, more technological and more respectful of the environment.

After the launch of E-KASTOR 535 PA machinery in 2017, R&D proposed changes to industrialize the range. These changes now allow ROUSSEAU to offer this patented technology on all the mowers of the TP ROUSSEAU range, thus showing the potential offered by electricity.


ROUSSEAU, E-TP mower range

Main advantages of the range:

90% average efficiency (against 60% for hydraulics). Power from the tractor PTO is transmitted to the rotor virtually without loss through a generator and an associated power electronics device.

-35% average fuel consumption. Since the engine speed of the carrier is lower for carrying out the same work, the energy consumption is lower and usury of the carrier is reduced.

-10 dB with a grinding unit (up to -20 dB with a cutterbar). There is less noise pollution for the user and the environment; an increase in convenience.

Absence of battery, therefore no chemical or explosion hazard. The system is completely de-energized when the power take-off is stopped and no residual electrical risk remains.

• Emphasis was also placed on the eco-design of the electric range to meet the demand for energy transition. Aspects such as the use of brine for cooling, the replacement of the rotor hydraulic system by an electrical system eliminating the risk of external pollution, and the reduction of energy expenditure (less fuel) argue for the use of electric mowers in the framework of the Climate Air Territorial Energy Plan.




• 130 staff
• € 25 million turnover in 2018
• Based in Lyon (69)
• Year of creation: 1962
ROUSSEAU is a major player in the French mower market.
The company has joined the American group ALAMO since 2004 but claims the French manufacturing of its equipment. For more than 50 years, ROUSSEAU has been developing solutions for the maintenance of roadside verges by adapting to the specific needs of its customers (farmers, communities and ETA).






Contact presse :
Anne-Sophie Cardinal
+33 (0)4 78 98 68 83

Rousseau SAS
40 Avenue Auguste Wissel CS 10132
69583 Neuville-sur-Saône Cedex


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The city of Saint-Avertin chooses the new Locken solution for its accessibility management

Saint-Avertin, a dynamic city of 15,000 inhabitants located on the right bank of the Cher, is part of Tours’ agglomeration, the latter being twenty times larger.
It was the burning of a gym, in 2010, and the requirements of insurance companies, that led the city to reflect upon the security of its various implementations. In addition to the town hall and municipal police headquarters, it manages a nautical stadium, several gymnasiums and a media library installed within a listed Renaissance castle, Cangé, whose grounds host many events.

Municipal officials had two objectives: to reinforce security and streamline management, but they wanted to avoid further restricting access, especially to sports facilities that are open to associations and attract a significant number of members.


The electronic key: a concentrate of technology for a simple and effective solution

The city is therefore using Locken since 2010. It was won over by this solution that combines a software rigor, an easy cylinder installation and an innovative nature of the electronic key. Electronic cylinders are an easy way to replace the need for wiring or works to existing mechanical cylinders; the smart key brings to them both energy and access rights solutions that trigger the opening. The head of the municipal police, Mr Laurent Lacour, explains the operational reasons for this choice:

We faced a relatively complex problem because of the diversity of sites: public spaces, offices, sports facilities, and even a castle dating back to the Middle Ages listed in the inventory of historic monuments! They are all fitted with controlled-accesses, both indoors and outdoors. It was an inextricable puzzle: Keys and key chains were handed over to dozens of people, to club officials and cleaning companies. But the keys were not handed back, they got lost. To simplify their lives, some even ended up leaving the most frequented entrances open.

The Locken solution, with its management software, finally allowed the municipal police to have a comprehensive overview, and all participants to be more rigorous without being affected in their activity, quite the contrary.

Through experience, new uses are being discovered. The music festival organized at the castle of Cangé requires us to have movable barriers to secure the space around the stage: to keep them locked, we plan to equip them with Locken locks that will allow us to expand the use of our electronic key. This will strengthen the existing security system based on the presence of security officers.



Towards greater performance: the magnetoinductive key

In 2017, the city chose to acquire the new Locken Bluetooth contactless electronic key and the MyLocken application. “This is a very positive development for us, says Christophe Fort, deputy head of the municipal police in charge of access management. Firstly, this new induction key is much faster than the previous one. It is spectacular, and very appreciable in everyday life: as soon as the key is inserted, the cylinder opens right away. This happens without regard of the dust and foreign bodies that can accumulate in the cylinders, since they function without electrical contact with the key.

Most importantly, the MyLocken app greatly enhances system security. City agents have the application on their Smartphone, whether it is their personal smartphone or that of service. For staffs who do not have a Smartphone, a number of DAR – access rights distributors, are installed in strategic places such as the entrance of offices: New generation keys, continues Christophe Fort, have another crucial advantage for our municipality. The system is indeed compatible with the use of badges, and the keys are also equipped with an RFID module that acts as a badge. If it has been excluded to entrust an electronic key to each member of sports associations, it is nevertheless possible, because of their lower cost, to give them badges. In the long run, this represents several hundred or even thousands of people who will have access to the equipment while respecting the safety of the whole.

The combination of solutions does not prevent the supervision from remaining perfectly effective. This is partly because the software carefully manages the accesses, and makes it possible to know which badge triggered this or that opening, and partly because the badge reader specific to a building is only engaged if a manager has previously unlocked access to the site with his electronic key. Members of the swimming association, for example, will only be able to access if a pool manager is already present on the premises.”



Specific usages: alarms and security

Two other examples will help understand how the Locken solution improves the efficiency of existing security systems.
In Saint-Avertin, the alarm boxes installed in the various municipal buildings are accessible only to users of electronic keys. Activation and deactivation of the alarm are therefore reserved for holders of authorizations granted by the Central Control System, Locken Smart Access (LSA).

The Locken solution also allows a better fluidity in the management of subcontractors. Two extreme cases can be taken as an example: an electrician who comes to make a punctual intervention would be given a license key for a day, or even a morning or an hour. By contrast, the security firm mandated by the city to supervise the premises has extensive rights to all entries and for an indefinite time, but these rights can be revoked at any moment.


Development projects

In addition to the 150 access points already equipped, the city, which intends to open the area of Cangé to new activities for youth, will rehabilitate and equip its outbuildings with access control. The equipment of a new gymnasium is also planned.

These perspectives show the operational managers’ satisfaction of the solution, but also that of the municipal police, and daily users – elected officials, agents of the municipality and service providers.




35 Bd Georges Clemenceau 92400 Courbevoie – France
Tel: + 33 (0)1 56 37 00 50


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• Finances

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M. Jacques LAMBLIN

Mayor of Lunéville

Jacques Lamblin

Could you present us the theme of local finances for which you are in charge within the association Villes de France?

The theme of local finances is crucial for obvious reasons. The financial capacity of a municipality is indeed the first factor limiting the action of elected officials.

A necessary balance must be maintained between resources and expenses connected to the exercise of competences relating to the municipality.

The scope of these competences varies greatly with the reforms in recent years, the case is not simple.

Coupled with this is the need to ensure that the rigidity of municipal spending is limited. Indeed, as operating resources are essentially made up of State allocations on the one hand, and taxes on the other hand, we must never lose sight of the fact that the decline of the former may, of course, be offset by the rise in the latter, but also by the fall in operating expenses, alas highly rigid for most of them, and investment spending, less rigid but essential… for most of them.

We are not very far away from squaring the circle!

At present, the main concern is of course to analyse the various possible methods to compensate for the abolition of the housing tax.



What are your positioning and thoughts on local finances and especially on the 2019 budget bill and the reform of the housing tax?

We must plan for the ultimate end of this reform: the total abolition of the housing tax.


Two concerns are regularly expressed:

  • The first is the risk of our communities’ loss of autonomy, linked to the disappearance of a significant part of our ability to raise taxes, and therefore a major part of our autonomy.
  • The second is to be sure to have evolving compensation, not one determined in the form of a set endowment which would be promised to us that it would be indexed… Experience calls for caution in the face of promises of this type.


Two observations must, however, give pause for thought:

  1. The disappearance of the housing tax is obviously appreciated by our fellow citizens. It is therefore difficult to oppose it.
  2. Regions see the bulk of their revenues based on a taxation of which they do not control rates. This is done correctly because, as the bases of these tax revenues are quite dynamic and in line with the general economy, they generate recipes that evolve in an acceptable way.


Mairie de Lunéville







Hôtel de Ville • 2 place Saint-Rémy
54300 Lunéville • 03 83 76 23 00


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• Sustainable Environment & City

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Mr David BERMAN & Mr Philippe LAGRANGE, the group's head of public affairs and Partnership Manager of Villes de France, VEOLIA

During the recent European elections, our fellow citizens have restated their strong expectations on issues relating to the environment and the energy transition. Local elected representatives have considerable leverage on these affairs. Cities and their inter-municipal structures possess the relevant competencies in regard to water and sanitation, waste recycling and recovery as well as energy policy.

The Veolia Group, a partner of the territories for more than 150 years, works alongside local elected representatives to develop solutions that improve access to essential services, preserve natural resources and use and recycle them efficiently.


David BERMAN, Head of Public Affairs at Veolia

The VEOLIA group has long been very committed both in communities and to sustainable development, could you begin by telling us about your vision of the cities of the future?

The Veolia Group was one of the first to have a “Raison d’être”, anticipating the French PACTE law (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation). It reminds us that reducing our environmental footprint and that our customers are at the core of our business and our business model. It is this horizon of sustainability that must be at the heart of tomorrow’s cities, ensuring a better future for the next generations.

According to the United Nations, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas today, and this proportion is expected to rise to 68% in 2050. However, it is also urban areas that concentrate greenhouse gas emissions (75%), but they are also the ones that intend to play a leading role in the energy transition, with the promotion of development models that are more environmentally friendly and more concerned with quality of life.

Our role as a service provider is to support cities in this process, because our expertise in our traditional business models (water, waste and energy management) enables us to provide our municipal customers with global solutions, including innovations in the fight against heat islands or in the control and treatment of the air quality in buildings, enabling the cities of tomorrow to be smart, inclusive and resilient.


Philippe LAGRANGE, Deputy Managing Director, Veolia’s French delegation

What can cities do in terms of circular and inclusive economy?

The circular economy draws its inspiration from ecosystems in order to reuse resources, if possible infinitely. With this in mind, the circular city seeks to save resources, create jobs and reduce its CO2 emissions. To this end, it establishes a functional economy to share infrastructure and services.

More specifically, renewing resources notably involves recycling materials (plastic, paper, glass, precious metals), transforming waste and wastewater into compost or energy, and recuperating these renewable and recovered energies (biomass, biogas, waste energy)…

In connection with these challenges, we have reinvented our business by moving from service delivery to the resource production.
Ensuring the sustainable management of water resources implies promoting the reuse of waste water, with the aim of reducing pressure on this resource. This reuse can go through many modalities (irrigation, reuse in industrial processes…).

Social support for the most vulnerable, reflected by the concept of inclusive water, corresponds to a strong expectation on our stakeholders’ part. Our Group has a solidarity program which is adaptable to the challenges of each community, and which also uses digitalization to support vulnerable groups. In addition to this, we ensure a deeply-rooted local presence with the transformation plan that was recently initiated. Veolia has in fact increased its territorial network, which now relies on a network of 68 water territorial directorates (compared with 25 previously).


Hubgrade enables the optimisation of the management of water, energy and material flows in real time (Photothèque Veolia – Antonio Liébana)

For what reasons do public private partnerships, including Public Service Delegations, have a future?

The public service delegation (or concession) corresponds to the execution by a private entity of a public service defined by elected representatives. As such, it is a flexible tool that can be adapted to the new challenges that territories must meet to easily integrate the performance criteria which the operator must achieve.

Performance criteria are frequently used in energy efficiency service markets but can also be used for waste treatment. For example, Veolia, via the Lilébo subsidiary, has signed a performance contract with the city of Lille concerning urban cleaning. These commitments are measured using 14 indicators: 9 quality of service indicators (monthly) and 5 sustainable development indicators (yearly) that Lilébo plans to achieve with the help of a territorial organization while taking advantage of digital solutions (implementation of an application to manage real-time intervention requests).


Artificial intelligence at the service of circular economy: automated waste sorting centre in Amiens (Photothèque Veolia – Nicolas Vercellino)

What about the role of digitalization? In what way is it a major environmental issue?

The digital revolution should allow us to be better at our jobs, for example through the robotisation of sorting lines to increase sorting efficiency (with the launch of the Max AI robot in Amiens) or the real-time detection of leaks on drinking water distribution systems (via our platform Waternamics). The remote data center of the Société des Eaux de Marseille (SEM) enables the monitoring of 8,300 kilometers of networks and 1,200 hydraulic works over a territory of 2 million people.


Water treatment plan in Perpignan, France (Photothèque Veolia – Salah Benacer)


However, digitalization should not be the enemy of jobs. Humans have always been key differentiators in our Group. In this context, our company is proactive in training our employees in these new technologies, thanks to our 4 Veolia campuses shared out across France. Likewise, Veolia Group’s employees have been supported at every step during the deployment of our cloud computing system.

In addition, Veolia, particularly through 2EI or Nova Veolia, is developing numerous applications for the services of cities and their citizens.


STEP Avignon



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Responsible renovation: the focus on carbon

Engaged in a process of decarbonising its economy, France seeks to move to an accelerated pace towards the success of its energy transition. To do this, the renovation of the housing stock must change the existing housing stock towards a clean and energy efficient model, a prerequisite to move towards a responsible and sustainable future.


Dominique Desmoulins, Directeur Général

Towards carbon neutrality?

Since the entry into force of the Energy Transition Law for green growth and the signing of the Paris Agreement, France has emerged as a major player in the fight against global warming on the international stage. A position nevertheless dependent on the results obtained in terms of carbon reduction.

In 2018, it reduced its CO2 emissions by 3.5%, which is an above-average decrease as compared to the average of the 28 countries of the European Union (2.5%). France accounted last year for 10% of CO2 emissions in the European Union, on par with Poland and Italy. Germany was the largest contributor (22%), followed by the United Kingdom (11.4%).

To reach the neutrality of its GHG emissions by 2050, a genuine change of direction has to take place. It’s the building sector in particular that finds itself in the crosshairs: with 27% of GHG emissions, it alone accounts for 45% of the country’s final energy consumption.


The key focus: a renovation in accordance with environmental issues

Of the 35 million homes in France, only 425,000 new homes are built each year. It is therefore on the existing heritage that we should refocus our efforts, especially when one knows that barely 15% of the housing stock is considered as energy-efficient (against 36% of the public housing stock).

Announced a year ago, the plan for energy renovation of buildings aims to accelerate the process, by acting primarily on the 7 million “thermal strainers” identified in the country, a way for the country to strengthen its efforts to combat energy poverty.

If the directions set out in this plan are going in the right way with regard to the current environmental and social urgency, the carbon factor must continue having its full place in the way in which renovation is thought of and carried out on the ground.

Neglecting this issue in favour of the sole energy criterion would increase the risk of never achieving the zero CO2 objective, a risk that is all the more present when we know that 27% of renovation operations do not improve the environmental label of the housing, and that 10% of them go so far as to degrade it.

Focusing on a responsible renovation, where all the key items of the building are considered in relation to their environmental footprint and their performances, is the best way to ensure a result in phase with the energy transition requirements. An approach that will promote the use of bio-based materials, short and local supply chains, and clean and carbon-free energy sources.

At a time of an overall climate mobilization and the promotion of circular economy, public authorities, real estate professionals and all the actors invested in the renovation of buildings find themselves in need of committing to the same purposes without delay.

  1. Sample of 944 renovation operations certified by Promotelec.




Dominique Desmoulins
Directeur Général de l’Association Promotelec




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• Attractiveness / revitalization of territories / economic development

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Mr Frédéric CHEREAU

Mayor of Douai

Frédéric Chereau

Action Cœur de Ville was born from the report, initially carried by the mayors, of a slow commercial desertification of medium-sized cities, aggravated for ten years.

Three causes explain this phenomenon. The first two, the development of large commercial areas on the outskirts and the peri-urbanization of housing, are already longstanding. This double centrifugal movement has weakened medium-sized cities from beneath the surface for several decades.

A third phenomenon, more recent, suddenly revealed these weaknesses. Over the past fifteen years, the digital economy has been concentrating added value in metropolitan areas and dematerializing an increasingly important share of trade – probably more than 10% in 2019.

While only one out of 10 medium-sized cities had a commercial vacancy rate above 10% at the beginning of the century, this is now the case for one out of two medium-sized cities. Successful cities, touristic or with a growing population, which were considered safe, are affected today by the phenomenon.

Alerted by the mayors, noting the establishment of more and more local initiatives, the state unveiled in February 2018 its national plan “Action Cœur de Ville”, intended to revitalize French cities. 222 of them have been selected to join this five-year development plan (2018-2022).

Largely concerted with local elected representatives and their associations, this plan is based on a double principle of transversality.

The response to the crisis must address all the parameters of attractiveness of city centres. If commercial desertification is the most visible symptom, a city centre revitalization plan must systematically examine housing, mobility, public and private services, living environment and development.

The projects must then involve all the actors concerned. At the heart of the system, the city centre and the agglomeration are meant to work in pairs, even if only to jointly fix the rules of cohabitation between the city centre and the outer areas. A new tool, the Territorial Revitalization Operation (ORT), allows a mayor to veto a commercial facility on the outskirts.

The State intervenes in support of the local initiative, through a panoply of operational actors, gathered around the prefectural institution: departmental delegation of territories and the sea, Caisse des Depots et Consignations, Public Real Estate Establishment (EPF), Action Logement, National Agency for the Improvement of Housing (Anah), National Public Establishment for Development and Restructuring of Commercial and Artisanal Spaces (Epareca)…


It is with the city as a partner that the Furet du Nord, present in Douai for thirty years, has just inaugurated its most beautiful store, in the heart of the city in an Eiffel-style building. Former landmark emblematic of the rue de la Mairie, the building was bought and rehabilitated by the city (1.7M €) which now leases it to the cultural sign – photo André Jacquart


State funding, which is close to 5 billion euros, is aimed at private operators as much as at local authorities and takes many forms: support for engineering or studies (Caisse des dépôts, EPF, Epareca), subsidized loans to communities (Caisse des dépôts) or individuals (Action Logement), direct grants to local authorities (Local Investment Support Fund) or individuals (Action Logement, Anah), land piggybacking (EPF and Epareca, now authorized to intervene in the city centre once a perimeter of ORT has been defined). The State has also set up a specific tax system, the Denormandie in its former format, which encourages renovation in the ORT sector.

In addition to these permanent financings, there are also occasional calls for proposals, such as the call for interest “Reinventing our city centres”, which offers national visibility to emblematic renovation projects.

The trio commune-agglomeration-State is generally associated with consular structures, trade associations, the Region and the Department. The Regions can provide a decisive complement to Action Coeur de Ville projects, by mobilizing European funds for the costliest and most emblematic investments, for which the Fsil cannot suffice.

A European vision is also expected on an issue that all European countries face, even if France, which has opted for an extensive urban planning more than the others, is particularly affected!


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Infrastructure innovation through collaborative research

Infrastructures are indispensable components in contemporary societies because they are deeply rooted in their modes of operation. Their availability and quality are essential elements for the attractiveness of territories in terms of population, activities and economy.

Today, infrastructures face three major challenges:

  • The challenge of ecological and energy transition;
  • The challenge of digital transition, for smarter and more connected infrastructures;
  • The challenge of economic constraint in social equity, for more resilient and more accepted infrastructures.




Collaborative research and innovation are fundamental vehicles for responding to these challenges. They bring technical and technological solutions to the fight against climate change and its impacts, to increase efficiency and the preservation of resources, and to improve the living environment.

Among the support mechanisms for research and innovation in France, the “national projects” mechanism, supported by the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, provides a framework adapted to collaborative applied research and to experimentation, including full-scale experimentation, aimed at advancing the knowledge, practices, tools and methods used in the design, construction and management of infrastructures. It’s an effective and operational tool, helping to meet the objectives of energy transition in line with public policies.

The IREX, Institute for Applied Research and Experimentation in Civil Engineering ( actively participates in the implementation and animation of this system: administrative and financial management, technical coordination, valorisation, communication and dissemination of results, animation of scientific and technical communities. The IREX mobilizes nearly 300 actors around the projects that it animates. These actors have activities related to the design, the construction and the management of infrastructures: project owners, operators of infrastructures, engineering departments, construction businesses, manufacturers, public and private research laboratories, universities and engineering schools.

The examples below illustrate the diversity of the subjects dealt with in the framework of national projects but also their stakes for the evolution of the sector:

  • The development of recycling in the construction and heavy maintenance of infrastructure: the RECYBETON project ( on the recycling of concrete construction demolition products to manufacture new concretes; the MURE project ( on the multiple recycling of asphalt pavements; in both cases, the demonstration is made that high recycling rates are possible;
  • Improving the protection of infrastructures against natural hazards, with the C2ROP project (falling rock, rock hazards and protection works) –;
  • Improving the effectiveness of road network maintenance policies with the DVDC project (the life of Pavements) – ;
  • The development of Data Modelling (BIM – Building Information Modelling) to accelerate the digital transition of infrastructures, as part of the MINnD project (modelling of interoperable information for sustainable infrastructures) –, whether it be roads, railways, engineering structures or underground works, in all their dimensions.


In addition, the four clusters for innovation in the construction sector (CREAHd in New Aquitaine; Eco-site in Burgundy – Franche-Comté; Indura in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; Novabuild in Pays de Loire) and IREX have just created an informal structure Innov’Infra, the “competitiveness hub for development and infrastructure” in order to harmonize, consolidate and render their actions more visible.


Brice Delaporte,
Délégué Général Irex


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Former Minister of State, Mayor of Vitré and President of Vitré Communauté

You have signed the agreement on Action Coeur de Ville with many partners towards the end of 2018. Could you introduce your programme and the actions resulting from it?

Vitré is one of those so-called “medium-sized” cities that have a centrality function for their catchment area and a regional influence. Vitré defends its role as an indispensable link in the structuring of the regional territory, between rural areas and large cities.

The program “Action Coeur de Ville” represents an opportunity to build the future on diverse topics such as economy, heritage, culture and social. This dossier creates territorial dynamics seeing as it is developed in consultation and partnership with the elected representatives of the territory, as well as with the economic, technical and financial actors. Accordingly, “Action Coeur de Ville” will allow to give our city back the place it deserves within the framework of a renewed cohesion policy of the territories. It will especially enhance the attractiveness of the city centre both on housing supply and on the economic and commercial dynamics. It will also attract visitors, create collective well-being, and develop service offering.

To achieve these objectives, the master agreement “Action Coeur de Ville” consists of 5 axes:

  • Axe 1 – From rehabilitation to restructuring: towards an attractive offer of housing in the city centre;
  • Axe 2 – Promote balanced economic and business development;
  • Axe 3 – Develop accessibility, mobility and connections;
  • Axe 4 – Highlight urban forms, public space and heritage;
  • Axe 5 – Provide access to public facilities and services.



Many actions will be implemented, some of which will be preceded by studies.

In terms of studies, it will of course be necessary to return to the current and potential uses that are almost inevitably linked to the development of digital technology. Studies will, of course, focus on housing, commerce, tertiary development, marketing strategy…

In terms of actions, we can only mention a few of them spread over 5 axes:

  • Technical support, the leasing of vacant units and the fight against unworthy habitats, the mobilization of financing mechanisms, work commitment on the buildings which we have identified as priorities…
  • Working on the global commercial dynamics of the city centre (creation of a commercial nursery, pop-up shops, animations…)
  • Improvements to promote access to the city centre (signposting, pedestrian paths, intermodalities, green lanes, bus stops…), creation of meeting points…
  • Renovation and enhancement of our heritage assets (castles, religious monuments, implementation of luminous pathways…), creation of playgrounds, development of urban biodiversity, urban densification, new urban furniture…
  • Development of a “health centre” and an out-of-hours service in the heart of the city, creation of a public service house, installation of Wi-Fi terminals, development of digital services while making sure not to exclude anything…

Who are the actors? Who are the beneficiaries? And who provides the funding?

This program “Action Coeur de Ville” must allow, by a global and coordinated approach between the actors, the creation of efficient conditions for the renewal and development of Vitré. Each party has made its commitments:

  • The community is committed to mobilizing the necessary human and financial resources to ensure the steering and implementation of the programme.
  • The funding partners undertake to draw up the project and action proposals, and to mobilize their resources for the realization of actions within their field of intervention.
  • The State undertakes to lead the network of programme partners, to designate within its services a departmental coordinator and a regional coordinator to study the possible co-financing of the actions.
  • The Regional Council of Brittany undertakes to mobilize local projects within its teams, elected representatives and services. To include this project in its public policies, and to participate in governance bodies.
  • Bank of the Territories proposes to contribute to the effective implementation of the Action Coeur de Ville programme by mobilizing means covering engineering, operational expertise, innovations… It also undertakes to offer loans and subsidies around renovation projects.
  • Action Logement finances social housing operators or private investors who carry out a project to revitalize the city centre and rebalance the urban and peri-urban tissue. Priority will be given to rental apartment offers for employees and young, mobile workers; this contributes to social mixing. Priority will also be given to the old park’s energy renovation policy.
  • ANAH undertakes to co-finance the post of project manager of Action Coeur de Ville, housing-related study expenses as well as the follow-up and animation of the programs put in place. It also assists in the realization of works for the rehabilitation, energy improvement and adaptation of housing and buildings.
  • EPF Bretagne is committed to supporting the community from a technical, administrative and legal point of view for the operations of its project that require the public control of land holdings; acquisition and land piggybacking necessary for the operational implementation (works, depollution / deconstruction…).
  • The Departmental Council of Ille-et-Vilaine is committed to human and territorial solidarities to mobilize local engineering, and to participate in governance bodies.
  • The Association “Sites et Cités Remarquables de France” will accompany the city of Vitré in the consideration of the remarkable Heritage Site as part of the living environment and structuring element of the convention.
  • The territorial actors: CCI, CMA, MEEF, Vitré Atout, social landlords, undertake to mobilize their engineering, to facilitate the implementation of actions, to participate in governance bodies and to participate in the evaluation of the programme.


You have already initiated projects in that sense; could you give us a feedback regarding the most advanced ones?

• Axe 1 – From rehabilitation to restructuring: towards an attractive offer of housing in the city centre

  • Launch of the OPAH RU study led by Urbanis
  • Consideration of the ORT perimeter
  • Accompanying private / public project promoters in their efforts to rehabilitate vacant housing in the city centre (AMO- to help with financing requests to facilitate the project, support for the city with the help of FIH and FRP…)
  • Project management and works on the degraded buildings of the Coeur de Ville accompanied by Urbanis AMO
  • Strategic study on the social real estate heritage of the City and CCAS


• Axe 2 – Promote balanced economic and business development

  • Launch of the strategic commercial study on the citywide level and focus on downtown Vitré
  • Consideration of the establishment of commercial nurseries in the city centre participating in its revitalization


• Axe 3 – Develop accessibility, mobility and connections

  • Creation of a meeting point on street Duguesclin


• Axe 5 – Provide access to public facilities and services

  • Establishment of digital luminous pathways marking out all the heritage of the city centre
  • Reception at the musée du château
  • Redevelopment of Château Marie
  • Maintenance of an out-of-hours medical service in the city centre



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• Smart City Digital

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af83 is a digital consulting firm, a service company that puts design at the core of its business as a link between people, organizations and environments. Its team of 30 people carries out assistance missions to project management, consulting, design, architecture and implementation of B2B or B2C applications, as well as user tests. It records all of its activity and skills in dynamic, agile and iterative projects.



af83 builds tools for communities. At a regional level, the firm has worked on innovative topics with a strong societal dimension such as the FALC project (Easy to read and understand) or the design of ChatBots allowing users to be guided in their search for information. It also offers its public partners, transport managers, a set of management tools for passenger information data accessible online (

Louis Montagne, President of af83, has chosen to use the Design methods, which constitute his company’s DNA, to address the complex and strategic issues that preoccupy communities. This method assumes a different approach from those used in traditional consulting or AMOA missions. It achieves pragmatic results, based on the problems of the territory, and supports change through co-design.



With a team made up of experts in change management (Emilie Collet, Marine Belluet and Arnaud Merle), he worked on the “median city” concept to give a new name to “medium-sized” cities and restore their full place within the national territory.

Currently too often neglected, these median cities are nevertheless the lungs of France and provide it with energy and diversity. It is in these cities that we find the solutions of the future and the emerging innovations which, after being tested locally, will be useful to all.



With this same team, Louis Montagne accompanied the design and implementation of the first edition of SIIVIM (International Innovation Summit in the Median Cities), as well as communities in the definition of their smart city strategic roadmap. On the basis of determining factors, findings, data from shared diagnoses or foresight exercises, and key ideas provided by elected representatives, concrete action plans were developed. In particular, they reveal the structuring elements to be introduced or to be changed to transform a territory into a smart city.

Jean Nouvel wrote in an article what he liked about design: “A form of evidence. And the emotion that gives me. For me, a successful object is an object that is familiar to me right out of the factory.” The same goes for strategy design and smart city design: both must provide emotion, be familiar, and be obvious.


Louis Montagne
af83, 15 rue Poissonnière, 75002 Paris
Tel : +331 40 27 83 83 / +337 77 92 04 60 et


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Interview with Mr Franck BENITZA, President

M. Franck BENITZA, President

Could you give us a quick introduction to KeepTRACE, its history, its competencies and the key figures of your activity?

KeepTrace from INNOVACTION group, a conglomerate of expert companies in the fields of telematics, network, innovative electrical cables, and access control created in 1996, is now an expert in geolocation of motorized objects (cars, trucks, etc.) or not (containers, trailers etc.).

In fact, with our various technology partners and our R & D (Research and Development) Division, we have developed innovative and scalable embedded solutions to offer efficient and customized application solutions.

Our international presence in countries with demanding criteria, has enabled us to enrich our know-how and offer made to measure and in-depth geolocation solutions dedicated to the management of resources: fleets of vehicles. The DNA of our customers!


KeepTRACE interface view via the website solution © KeepTRACE, 2019

Could you explain to us your partnership agreement with Mobileye?

MOBILEYE, company of the group Intel, is the global leader in the domain of vision and artificial intelligence, data analysis, localization and cartography apply to advanced systems of driver assistance and autonomous driving. Through Mobileye, companies exploiting fleets across the whole world were able to see a significant reduction of collisions and associated costs.

In this way, the MOBILEYE and KEEP TRACE companies offers you a complete solution. On the one hand, you benefit from an innovative technology watching constantly the road in front of the vehicle. The Mobileye system identifies the risky situations and supplies visual and audible alerts to enable the driver to avoid or ease a collision. That way, when customers buy both Mobileye and our telematics platform KeepTRACE, they receive a full solution for all their needs. Those on-board and application solutions are an absolute management tool enabling to maximize the organization, improve the productivity and consequently reduce the operating costs of your company car fleet.


Photo taken at “Flottes Automobiles” at the KeepTRACE/Mobileye stand © KeepTRACE, 2019

In this regard, you are directly linked to mobility and consequently to community transport systems and networks. How do Mobileye and KeepTRACE really contribute to the emergence of the “smart city”?

Mobility is at the heart of smart city projects. These smart cities need to integrate the intelligence of embedded systems capable of communicating with many systems in real time. The main issue to the ideal of a smart city is for us to propose a system that is both efficient, easily accessible, affordable, safe and environmentally friendly. This integration allows a reduced environmental footprint, optimizes the use of the urban space and offers drivers a diverse range of mobility solutions that meet all their needs.

Geolocation systems promote the safety of employees, but also the goods or people they are responsible for, especially in the event of failures or accidents. The collision avoidance system improves the driving habits of motorists while providing a more serene and safer driving. A study on vehicle fleets showed that the use of these technologies reduced the risk of accidents by 45%.


Image illustrating the Mobileye collision avoidance system’s alerts © Mobileye, 2019

What is your vision of autonomous vehicles within cities? What are the objectives to be met? What are the constraints?

Most road accidents are caused by an error made by the driver. Autonomous cars help reduce accidents and improve road safety. Also, they allow to make traffic more fluid and limit traffic jam caused mainly by the reaction time of man and his inattention.

Mobileye is working to develop technology for fully autonomous cars. The solution designed by Mobileye aims to supply the “eyes” to the onboard system. No fewer than twelve cameras are placed at different locations in the vehicle to offer a 360-degree configuration for a long-reach panoramic view.

Despite the many advantages brought by the autonomous car some reluctance persists. Regulation issues still arise: “who will be responsible in the event of an accident?”, “will the driver’s license still be mandatory?” But also, ethical questions, “what will be the reaction of these machines facing a situation of extreme urgency or even a vital decision?” But this question is contradictory because the autonomous car will have enough security devices (emergency braking, anticipation of obstacles, etc.) so that the probability of such a scenario is much lower.


You are currently working on an innovation dedicated to people with reduced mobility. Could you talk to us about your approach on this subject?

We work with several partners specialised in the transport of person with reduced mobility, which intervene especially on behalf of local authorities and regions.

Our goal is to provide an automated solution for the care of people with disabilities and children. It will be possible to be informed at any time about the pick-up and the drop off of the person transported (on the points of interest: schools, houses, centers…) via email or SMS notifications or directly through the solution interface.

KeepTRACE is already present in many cities and regions. What are your development opportunities?

The year 2019 should be a year of strong growth on the French market. We want to strengthen our presence with the local communities either with the KeepTRACE solution or KeepTRACE/Mobileye solution. We have already started pilot tests. We are also pursuing our development in European and international markets thanks to our technological and strategic partners (Mobileye, Teltonika…).




20 bis rue Barnave, 38400 Saint-Martin-d’Hères
TEL : 04 57 38 17 77




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