• 08 Apr 2019

    Covenant cities' long-term visions: Grenoble puts emphasis on citizen participation

    At the end of November 2018, the European Commission adopted its 2050 vision for a climate-neutral Europe. In its bold long-term strategy, the EU executive body stressed the importance of local actions in reaching the ambitious goals set by the Paris Agreement.

    Are European cities ready to take on this challenge? We interviewed representatives of Covenant signatory cities that have already developed their own long-term roadmaps. This week, the City of Grenoble presents its vision and its ambitious perspective on citizen participation.

    Grenoble, France, 160,800 inhabitants

    Anne-Cécile Fouvet, Project Manager, Environment and Quality of Life Department


    Could you tell us about your Grenoble’s 2050 vision? How does being part of the Covenant of Mayors help you fulfil your ambitions?

    Grenoble’s 2050 vision is based on European, national and local objectives. For example, the agglomeration’s energy master plan aims to reach - 22% in energy consumption, - 30% in fossil energy and + 35% in renewable energy by 2030.

    On this basis Grenoble has defined three strategic axes for its area:

    • Combating climate change and air pollution
    • Adapting to climate change to reduce the vulnerability of the area and its inhabitants by working for example on urban heat island, floods, energy dependence, evolution of citizens’ life style
    • Taking action with its inhabitants and the stakeholders in its area to improve health and preserve the environment.

    For several years, the city has been prioritising actions. Thanks to its perseverance and a constant will to move forward, Grenoble got the “Cit'ergie” label. We are now confident enough to apply for the next “European Green Capital” award.

    Networking and experience sharing between elected representatives and between technicians in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors encouraged us to be more ambitious. Thanks to the European Covenant of Mayors, cities are motivated to continue on their energy transition paths in spite of the obstacles they may face.


    Citizen participation is at the core of your roadmap. How did you ensure that all relevant players could express their views and take part in the roadmap preparation?

    Habitants, NGO, academics, professionals... Grenoble promotes both the emergence of citizen initiatives, but also the involvement of a broad spectrum of actors in the actions carried out by the municipality:

    • Collective thinking sessions take place before new projects are suggested. This is done via an independent citizen council, but also through workshops, "territory and transition" discussions and other fora. This kind of brainstorming helps us create a shared vision of the territory.
    • To propose new ideas and enable civic, associative and professional initiatives, the city launches participatory budgeting projects but also provides public space and facilities such as the “Maison des habitants” (literally “Inhabitants’ house”) and the Grenoble Civiclab.
    • Joint actions are collectively undertaken thanks to initiatives such as “Chantier Ouvert au Public” (literally “works open to the public”), where volunteers can use their handcrafting skills for their neighbourhood, or “Energ’y citoyenne”, an investment fund supported by the municipality to develop renewable energy projects.

    This diversity of tools available allows everyone to contribute in the way that suits them best, and thus creates a real "urban laboratory" of transitions. These projects will be put in the spotlight in March 2019 at the “Biennale des villes en transition” organised by the City of Grenoble


    Learn more on Grenoble's energy policy and Grenoble's climate policy.

    Grenoble’s signatory profile.

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    © image Ivar Leidus