CE22 - Sociétés urbaines, territoires, constructions et mobilité

Converting an urban wasteland into a sustainable and educational living-lab, based on a replicable phytomanagement approach – ECOPOLIS

Restoration of an industrial wasteland in an urban environment

Converting an urban wasteland into a sustainable and educational living-lab, based on a replicable phytomanagement approach

Initial objectives of the project

The ECOPOLIS project is structured around three specific objectives: (1) characterize in a complete spatial and quantitative way the pollution, the mobility of pollutants, the environmental and human impacts of the site, using innovative methods that will be deployed on site to meet the technological challenges related to the management of polluted sites and soils; (2) set up a living-lab following the National Methodology for the Management of Polluted Sites and Soils and its associated standard (NF X31-620) to associate communities, public and private actors, companies, associations and individual actors in order to test different pollution management scenarios (3) to assess the potential for replicability on other marginal lands in the territory. The objective, in the longer term, is to capitalize on the method to allow the initiation of phytomanagement actions on part of the other marginalized lands of the NFC. We hypothesize that the establishment of this living lab will allow the population to acculturate to the management of industrial heritage and will serve as a model for the dissemination of phytomanagement methods throughout the NFC territory and more widely in the areas in industrial restructuring. By revegetating more wasteland, it makes it possible to participate in the fight against climate change and contributes to the general objective of carbon neutrality and Zero Net Artificialization by 2050. In addition, the cross-fertilization of the knowledge of each actor in the territory is essential to identify the sites most conducive to compatibility with phytotechnologies

WP2. A mapping of the pollution on the study site was carried out, with more than 100 soil samples analyzed.

WP3. The methods implemented are the study of potentially interesting sensors to deploy, the design of a hardware architecture with a measurement centralization point and measurement «nodes« based on micro-controllers (using the chosen sensors), the study of wireless communication solutions interfacing with micro-controllers and finally the development of the software architecture and the optimization of the software architecture, from the point of view of energy consumption.

WP4. The transfer of contaminants to the vegetation was studied during successive sampling campaigns in 2021 and 2022. The microbial communities have been described, the microorganisms isolated and characterized and the throughput sequencing approaches underway or planned for the fall of 2022 will allow to identify and characterize the key functions linked to the site's contaminants (mainly Pb, Cde and Zn).

WP5. In addition to scientific research, the ECOPOLIS project also aims to prepare the spread of phytomanagement on other industrial sites in the North Franche-Comté territory. The ADU has developed a method shared with the members of the consortium. It is based on 4 steps making it possible (i) to identify and fill in the polluted sites in a geo-referenced database, (ii) to select the sites technically compatible with phytotechnologies, (iii) to prioritize the sites with regard to a multi-criteria analysis and finally, (iv) to confirm the opportunity to implement phytomanagement techniques with political leaders and landowners.

WP6. In anticipation of the interviews with the political leaders of the municipalities concerned by the pre-selected sites, the ADU has prepared an interview guide and a FOCUS, a document explaining the approach. The FOCUS is also disseminated on the ADU website contributing to wider awareness. Another target for raising awareness: students from colleges neighboring the wasteland.

WP2. The spatial distribution and the contents of metallic elements on the site revealed a very highly contaminated zone, in particular Pb and Zn. A general As contamination of the site is also identified. Measurements of the bioaccessible concentrations of As, Cd and Pb reveal that As is weakly to very weakly bioaccessible throughout the site and that the bioaccessibility of Cd and Pb is highly variable.

WP3 & 4. Sampling campaigns revealed strongly accumulating species such as garlic mustard and woody species (poplar, birch, willow) present on the site.
The hardware and software solution that has been developed for the network of micro-controllers and the centralization of measurements is fully operational. The recovery of measurement data is also simple and does not require any technical expertise. On the other hand, optimizations of this solution are still under study, for example the charging of the batteries of the nodes via photovoltaic panels, or the study of new wireless communication modules.

WP5. During the period concerned, the agencies identified more than a hundred potentially polluted former industrial sites across Nord-Franche-Comté. 2. The census carried out within the framework of WP5 gave rise to the publication of a cartographic atlas made available to the consortium at M12. It includes analysis maps at the scale of the entire territory and detailed sheets for the 118 sites. A selection and prioritization work was then carried out with the members of the consortium and 12 sites would seem compatible with the techniques studied on the Vieux-Charmont site. The method and the selection were the subject of a detailed report submitted to the members of the consortium at M18.

WP6. Pending the opening of the Living Lab to the public in 2023, 5 workshops relating to pollution and phytomanagement took place between February 2021 and March 2022 in two colleges neighboring the wasteland. A total of 125 young people have been made aware of through the facilitation of workshops by the ADU, Chrono Environnement, PMA, the Pavillon des Sciences and students. The pupils of the Sochaux class will benefit from a meeting with the scientists in situ and a site visit. At the national level, the ADU presented the ECOPOLIS project within the network of urban planning agencies (FNAU) as well as partners of the urban planning agency of Mulhouse, a neighboring industrial territory of North Franche Comté. Raising awareness within these networks will be continued. 3. A 3'30'' mini film was produced by the ADU and made available to the consortium and agency partners within the framework of WP5 and will be widely distributed during the various interventions (INTERSOL, etc.) and on the sites. partners.

Despite the delays for certain tasks, related among other things to the adaptation of the management plan and the setting up of the laboratory, communication on the ECOPOLIS project has been intense, both locally and nationally. The production of a mini-film by the ADU highlights the efforts made by the consortium for a wider dissemination of the project's objectives to the general public and decision-makers. It will be widely disseminated in the media and at symposiums and conferences. The beginning of 2023 should see these efforts materialize with the opening of the living lab to the public. The scientific and technical activities related to the initial characterization of the site, the search for innovative solutions for the deployment of a network of sensors and the creation of a cartographic atlas have been carried out collectively and, for some, will intensify for achieve the initially planned objectives. The numerous technical meetings underline the will of the partners to carry out this project collectively.

1. S Domas, C Guyeux, M Chalot ; Implantation d’un réseau de capteurs sur une friche industrielle pour évaluer l’impact du phytomanagement, Journées Capteur OSU, 8 avril 2021
2. M Chalot ; Restauration d’une friche industrielle du territoire nord-Franche Comté par le phytomanagement ; Journées ID Friches – Pôle AXELERA, 27 avril 2021
3. M Chalot, C. Bertheau, P. Binet, L. Ciadamidaro, J. Collot, A. De Vaufleury, J. Parelle, F. Tatin Froux, B. Pauget, C. Guyeux, S. Domas, N. Kieffer, C. Kuhn ; Restoration d’une friche industrielle par le phytomanagement et l’implantation d’un living lab: un projet collaboratif à enjeu territorial ; INTERSOL Lyon, juin 2022 ; affiche
4. B. Pauget, A. De Vaufleury, M. Chalot, C. Guyeux N. Kieffer, C. Kuhn ; Caractérisation des risques sanitaires et environnementaux dans le cadre de la remédiation d’une friche industrielle par le phytomanagement : projet ECOPOLIS ; ; INTERSOL Lyon, juin 2022 ; communication orale

1. Conférence annuelle territoriale (PMA) ; Festival INOUIH ; 25 juin 2022
2. J. Collot, L. Ciadamidaro, M. Chalot ; Un living-lab sur une friche industrielle : pour quoi faire ?; Journée écologie environnement biodiversité ; 2 juin 2022 ; Dijon & Besançon

The overarching aim of ECOPOLIS is, based on the involvement of the whole urban ecosystem restoration community (site managers, practitioners and academia, urban, regional decision makers, civil society) and on a Living Lab, to develop, test and foster the implementation of economically valuable nature-based solutions to improve the urban environmental quality at the polluted wasteland in Vieux-Charmont (Doubs, France).

The implementation relies on three specific objectives: The implementation relies on three specific objectives: (1) to fully characterize spatially and quantitatively the site's pollution, mobility, and environmental and human impacts, using innovative methods that will be deployed on site to meet the technological challenges related to the management of polluted sites and soils (2) to set-up a living-lab following the National Methodology for Managing Polluted Sites and Soils and its associated standard (NF X31-620) to bring together local authorities, public and private actors, companies, associations and individual actors in order to test different pollution management scenarios (3) to evaluate the replicability potential on other marginal lands of the territory. The objective, in the longer term, is to capitalize on the method to enable phytomanagement actions to be initiated on part of other marginalized lands in the NFC. ECOPOLIS focuses on urban ecosystems because the leverage effect of cities in terms of reducing ecosystem degradation is higher than in rural ecosystems. This is primarily due to the high rates of resource use, consumption of energy and Green House Gas emissions in cities. Urbanisation usually leads to degradation of ecosystems by e.g. soil sealing, soil consumption, air water and soil pollution, human exposure to contaminants and loss of biodiversity. This occurs not only locally, but also at broader scales through long-range transport of air-borne pollutants and contaminants in waterways. These degradations hamper the delivery of ecosystem services such as food and water supply, flood prevention, climate change regulation and recreation. Focusing on urban ecosystems restoration, cities can provide a good leverage effect for improving the delivery of ecosystem services at large scales.

ECOPOLIS will be carried out over 42 months. The work plan will be organized around 6 WPs, to fully address the three objectives described above. WP1, WP5 & WP6 are cross-cutting WPs, and will be dedicated to the project management & coordination (WP1), dissemination and exploitation (WP6) of result, as well as to the replication potential of the phytomanagement solutions (WP5). The research fields considered in ECOPOLIS are therefore agronomy and ecological sciences (through measurements of the impact of phytomanagement on the biodiversity), engineering sciences (soil engineering, ecological engineering and process engineering through restoration work Environments, environmental applications of wireless sensor network).

The expected benefits of ECOPOLIS are as follows: 1) to demonstrate that it is possible to manage industrial pollution efficiently through phytomanagement; 2) to make the wasteland a laboratory dedicated to scientific and teaching innovation (from Secondary school to doctorate) by implementing relevant and innovative field tools, complementary to laboratory approaches, 3) to develop a pedagogical tool that makes it possible to tackle many themes: environmental awareness, biology, chemistry, geography, industrial history, ecosystem management, urban planning; 4) to bring these degraded spaces back to life in the city without losing their historical trace. Training and dissemination of the ECOPOLIS activities and results will contribute to further involvement of stakeholders and cities, to long-term observation of restoration by nature-based solutions, and to the exporting of best available techniques and businesses within the whole territory.

Project coordinator


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.


PMA Pays de Montbéliard Agglomération / Direction Enseignement, recherche et formation

Help of the ANR 495,937 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 42 Months

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