CE22 - Mobilité et systèmes urbains durables

Local public investment and territorial systems: sustainable development, local authorities and financial viability – INVEST

INVEST

Local public investment and territorial systems: sustainable development, local authorities and financial viability

Main issues raised and general objectives

The research questions the sustainable development of territorial systems in a context of increased financial austerity. It explores two main hypotheses. Firstly, the rationalities, instruments and practices associated to budgetary rigour influence the priorities and content of local public action related to sustainable development. Secondly, public action under financial constraints increases intra- and inter-territorial inequalities. In this perspective, the project claims that the existing literature has not paid sufficient attention to the political-economic constraints and opportunities in which sustainable development policies unfold. This is related to the fact that social sciences works which reflect either on the role of local authorities in sustainable development or on the consequences of budgetary discipline onto urban governance still remain highly fragmented and have failed so far to question the interactions between those two sets of requirements. To go beyond this research gap, the project will scrutinise the financial practices and associated power relations according which financial rigour transforms the agendas, goals and conditions of the production of sustainability-oriented public action. In this light, an original feature of the research will consist in factoring the diversity of territorial systems and the specificities of the policy sectors under study.

The research has four main work packages. The first one will describe the evolutions in central state’s policies dealing with the implementation of financial rigor and its relation to sustainable development, and how local authorities react to them. The second will consist in a case study based research on local public action in six different urban inter-municipal bodies in France. This will be the basis for a cross-territorial and cross-sectorial comparison. The fourth work package will seek to disseminate the results to three targeted audiences: in addition to academic debates on the implementation of sustainable development, the project will circulate the result to students and develop hands-on deliverables to practitioners. The research methodology is innovative in several regards. Firstly, the perspective is pluridisciplinary and brings together tools, methods and concepts from geography, planning, policy analysis, and economic sociology. Secondly, it undertakes a multi-level analysis since public action cannot be reduced to just the local scale. Lastly, the methodology engages in a two-pronged comparison which will cover a period starting from the mid-2000s: namely a comparison between six inter-municipal authorities, and within them, between their municipalities; and a cross-sectoral comparison that seeks to go beyond a fragmented, sector-based conception of sustainable development. Such an integrated perspective leads us to compare five public policy sectors selected on the basis of their financial importance and their relation to sustainable development issues: local authorities’ public land and real estate; local water and energy networks; social housing; urban development and planning; sustainable mobility.

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Not relevant at this stage

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The research questions the sustainable development of territorial systems in a context of increased financial austerity. It explores two main hypotheses. Firstly, the rationalities, instruments and practices associated to budgetary rigour influence the priorities and content of local public action related to sustainable development. Secondly, public action under financial constraints increases intra- and inter-territorial inequalities.

In this perspective, the project claims that the existing literature has not paid sufficient attention to the political-economic constraints and opportunities in which sustainable development policies unfold. This is related to the fact that social sciences works which reflect either on the role of local authorities in sustainable development or on the consequences of budgetary discipline onto urban governance still remain highly fragmented and have failed so far to question the interactions between those two sets of requirements.

To go beyond this research gap, the project will scrutinise the financial practices and associated power relations according which financial rigour transforms the agendas, goals and conditions of the production of sustainability-oriented public action. In this light, an original feature of the research will consist in factoring the diversity of territorial systems and the specificities of the policy sectors under study.
The research has four main work packages. The first one will describe the evolutions in central state’s policies dealing with the implementation of financial rigor and its relation to sustainable development, and how local authorities react to them. The second will consist in a case study based research on local public action in six different urban inter-municipal bodies in France. This will be the basis for a cross-territorial and cross-sectorial comparison. The fourth work package will seek to disseminate the results to three targeted audiences: in addition to academic debates on the implementation of sustainable development, the project will circulate the result to students and develop hands-on deliverables to practitioners.

The research methodology is innovative in several regards. Firstly, the perspective is pluridisciplinary and brings together tools, methods and concepts from geography, planning, policy analysis, and economic sociology. Secondly, it undertakes a multi-level analysis since public action cannot be reduced to just the local scale. Lastly, the methodology engages in a two-pronged comparison which will cover a period starting from the mid-2000s: namely a comparison between six inter-municipal authorities, and within them, between their municipalities; and a cross-sectoral comparison that seeks to go beyond a fragmented, sector-based conception of sustainable development. Such an integrated perspective leads us to compare five public policy sectors selected on the basis of their financial importance and their relation to sustainable development issues: local authorities’ public land and real estate; local water and energy networks; social housing; urban development and planning; sustainable mobility.

Project coordination

Ludovic Halbert (Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

TELEMME Temps, espaces, langages europe méridionale méditerranée
CDED CENTRE DE DROIT ÉCONOMIQUE ET DU DÉVELOPPEMENT
ESPACE Etudes des structures, des processus d'adaptation et des changements de l'espace
LAB'URBA Laboratoire d'Urbanisme
LATTS Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés

Help of the ANR 306,396 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2019 - 36 Months

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