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    The Intercultural cities programme (ICC) supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage.

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter


    Kick-off meeting in June (Mollet des Valles). Transnational meetings in October (LAG Payd de Condruses) and December (Pyli).
    Transnational meetings in April (Sodertalye), June (Fundao), July (Jelgava) and September (Abergavenny).
    Transnational meetings in March (Mouans Sartoux) and April (Petrinja). Final event in April (Baena).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600


    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova


    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027


    City of Naples
    Urban Planning Department 
    Phone +39 081 7958932 - 34 - 17 


    The Barnsley Digital Media  County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW
    Phone +44 01226 720700 


    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    City of Piacenza
    piazza Cavalli 2 - 29121 Piacenza - Italia
    tel centralino 
    Phone +39 0523 492 111 

    City of Bilbao
    Plaza Ernesto Erkoreka nº1. 48007 Bilbao. Phone +32 944 204 200 

    City of Poznan
    plac Kolegiacki 17,
    61-841 Poznań


    Westmisnter City Council
    Phone +44 020 7641 6500

    City of Gdańsk
    5 prof. Witolda Andruszkiewicza St.
    80-601 Gdańsk

    City of Baena
    Plaza de la Constitución 1
    14850 Baena (Córdoba) 


    Rethinking Agri-food production in small and medium-sized European cities is the aim of this Action Planning network. Agri-food production is a mature industry that continues to play an important role in terms of GDP, employment and environmental sustainability. That is why new growth potentials must be activated by means of innovation, new business models and strategies. Our vision is to place cities at the core of a growing global movement that recognizes the current complexity of food systems and the links between rural cities and nearby cities as a way to ensure regional development.

    The roots of the city
    Ref nid
  • BioCanteens#2




    LEAD PARTNER : Mouans-Sartoux - France
    • Liège - Belgium
    • Gava - Spain
    • Wroclaw - Poland


    • Kick-off meeting
    • A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum

    What's new

    News & Events

    BioCanteens#2 Transfer Network is about ensuring the distribution of sustainable school meals in participating cities as a key lever towards the development of an integrated local agri-food approach, protecting both citizens’ health and the environment. The project aims to transfer Mouans- Sartoux’s Good Practice in the field of collective school catering, to other highly committed cities across Europe.

    Education - Food - Environment - Local Economy - Governance
    Ref nid
  • A municipal farm to supply local canteens


    Paving the way for city leadership in local food production

    Ivanka Dzhabrailova
    Project Coordinator
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    33 500


    Troyan developed the first municipal farm of Bulgaria, with the aim to producing food for its school canteens. During 2.5 years, it got inspired by the Good Practice of Mouans-Sartoux which enabled empowering an already on-going transformation at city local level.  In the long-run, 15 ha of publicly owned land, including 200 m2 of greenhouse tunnel will produce food for the 500 children in the town’s kindergartens.

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    Troyan is a town in the hills of central Bulgaria known for its strong plum brandy and with strong ambitions for its agri-food sector. Its 2014-2020 Municipal Development Plan already prioritised organic farming, support for young farmers, and conservation.

    Troyan aimed at delivering fresh organic products to its school canteens and started working with a research institute to plan the development of organic fruit and vegetable production – including locally-adapted plum and apple varieties. To support this, in 2018, the town announced that 15 ha of publicly owned land would be dedicated to a municipal farm, with areas for vegetables, fruit trees and cattle grazing. Troyan joined the BIOCANTEENS network to help develop an operational process to carry this out.

    Troyan’s municipal farm is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. To achieve this, the town took a step-by-step approach - initially aiming to provide half of the vegetables required in local canteens, then expand production later.

    In March 2019, a meeting with Rozalina Rusenova, Deputy Mayor, confirmed the new farm’s overall infrastructure: three 200 m2 greenhouse tunnels, with an irrigation system and space for a fourth tunnel; and farm building facilities including a hall, storage space, refrigeration chambers and a preparation room for end products.

    Whilst the pandemic and the cold 2019 winter slowed the municipal farm’s development, good progress has been made. Local farmer Maya Genkova was recruited to run the farm – including both production and educational visits.

    Organic fruit orchards and first vegetables were planted in greenhouses at the end of 2020. These are expected to supply fresh organic fruit and vegetables to all 500 children in the town’s kindergartens during the course of 2021. Activities will also be organised for children on site.

    The organic certification process was also launched with the National Food Agency - an essential step before serving the food in school canteens.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    Troyan’s approach followed the main integrating axes of the good practice it was transferring, Mouans-Sartoux:

    • Horizontal integration: by supporting smart land use, organic production and local agri-food systems development, the project has a strong environmental dimension. It also has an economic dimension through the creation of 1 farmer job. From a social aspect, the activities organised on the farm will enable raising awareness of children on local organic production and healthy eating. Production is 100% organic.
    • Territorial integration: the project is totally integrated in the overall strategy of the city as owned by the municipality and directly linked with school canteens provisioning.

    Troyan’s transfer process benefited from a particularly positive situation: the strong political involvement of Mayor Donka Mihaylova to improve the quality of city school canteens; no major financial barriers to set the farm, the city owning a provision of suitable land in a region with good assets for agriculture; a city canteens system relying on “traditional” independent kitchens organized to prepare fresh vegetables and fruits; a good mobilization from start of stakeholders in the ULG involving Heads of all city schools and kindergartens, civil servants and representatives of parents association; last but not least, a BioCanteens’ project that raised the enthusiasm in the local stakeholders ecosystem.

    Participatory approach

    This process was supported by an URBACT Local Group involving heads of all city schools and kindergartens, civil servants, parents’ association, local producers and representatives of children associations.  During the course of the project, 10 ULG meetings with stakeholders’ involvement were held in Troyan. The main subjects discussed during the meetings were the Municipal Farm Platform, the Kitchen Micro-good practices and the organic demand and supply.

    What difference has it made

    • The Municipal Farm has been made with minimum resources;
    • Children are provided with fresh organic vegetables and fruits’;
    • The amount of money parents pay per month for daily kids food at the kindergarten was made cheaper;

    With that difference of that payment, we invest in more quality products.

    Transferring the practice

    Troyan has been part of the BIOCANTEENS Transfer network led by Mouans-Sartoux (France) together with other 5 European cities LAG Pays des Condruses (Belgium), Vaslui (Romania), Trikala (Greece), Rosignano Marittimo (Italy), and Torres Vedras (Portugal).

    The success of Troyan is in part due to a transfer process in the framework of an URBACT network arriving at the right time to boost and implement an ongoing policy orientation toward healthy and sustainable food in the city: this is certainly a lesson learned for URBACT transfer process who best apply when empowering an already on-going transformation at city local level. 

    Beyond the inspiration and guidance provided by Mouans-Sartoux, one of the most valuable network activities was a network workshop on public procurement. This helped Troyan understand what it is possible to achieve with the right plans, procedures and award criteria.

    The transnational meeting hosted in the city itself in July 2019 also had an important local benefit in reinforcing support for the municipality’s agri-food strategy. The involvement of the Mayor Donka Mihaylova in this meeting was key.

    While work with school kitchens and on the municipal farm continues to develop, Troyan is starting to apply new ideas and perspectives on Public Procurement to improve supply to school canteens. Further next steps include an initiative to support the preparation of meals inside school canteens, and expanding the supply of local, healthy organic food to the municipality’s elderly residents.

    Is a transfer practice
    Ref nid

    LEAD PARTNER : Union of Bassa Romagna Municipalities - Italy
    • Alba Iulia - Romania
    • BSC Kranj and Gorenjska - Slovenia
    • Larissa - Greece
    • Region of Coimbra - Portugal
    • Szecseny - Hungary
    • Tartu - Estonia


    Kick-Off Meeting - Phase I

    Kick-Off Meeting - Phase 2

    Webinar "Culture, Gastronomy and Territorial Food Brands"

    Integrated Action Plans

    IAP Region of Coimbria
    Da natureza para a sua mesa - Coimbra region food strategy

    Read more here!

    Region of Coimbra - Italy
    Integrated Action Plan Gorenjska Region

    Read more here !

    Gorenjska Region - Slovenia
    Empowering rural & urban food connections within European regions

    Read more here!

    Union of Municipalities of Bassa Romagna - Italy
    Integrated Action Plan Alba Iulia

    Read more here!

    Alba Iulia - Romania


    Read more here!

    Szécsény - Hungary
    Tarty County Food Strategy

    Read more here

    Tartu - Estonia

    Recent experience suggests that it is necessary to promote a transition towards regional food systems. FOOD CORRIDORS encourages the creation of a network of cities committed to the design of food plans that extend from the urban and peri-urban areas through a corridor that facilitates an urban-rural connection. This approach enhances the generation of production and consumption environments founded on a base of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    Empowering rural & urban food connections within European regions
    Ref nid
  • Municipality attendance vehicle


    A travelling van visiting villages geographically and socially isolated using information and communication technology (ICT)

    Joaquim Carapeto
    Staff of Palmela Mayor
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    62 831


    The Municipality Attendance Vehicle of Palmela (PT) is designed for citizens who live far from the central public services of the city, or for inhabitants who are socially and economically isolated. The vehicle is a living lab which provides all local public services, and several national ones in a technological way. Its schedule allows citizens from the most rural areas to easily access all the services provided by the municipality. With 32 bus stops, it is the first travelling citizen store in Portugal. This initiative shows how a city can combine an approach both human and connected. 

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    At first, the services provided by VAM were those treated at a municipal service desk and related to urbanism, water and sewage, advertising and occupation of public space, licenses for business activities (schedules and endorsement of licenses), acquisition of lunch passwords in schools, requisition of school transports, information and consumer support, miscellaneous licensing, presentation of opinions, suggestions or complaints, and information on cultural, sporting, touristic and leisure offers. Through an agreement with the Central Administration Agency (Agency for the Modernization of PublicServices in Portugal), VAM then became the first mobile one-stop-gov, providing services on social security, pensions, justice, registry and notary services, health, and much more. In addition, it’s also possible to pick up and return books requested via the internet from the municipal libraries of Palmela. In this way, VAM contributes to the reduction of bureaucracy and the reorganization of public services, thus increasing the quality of citizens’ life, good governance and simplification of public service processes, ensuring equal access to public services for rural citizens and citizens socially and geographically isolated, and a greater involvement of citizens in setting priorities in governance.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    VAM is part of the municipality of Palmela's integrated policy for urban development. It reflects the growing concern about the integration of urban and rural areas, viewed as complementary in a society with different lifestyles, thus requiring various modes of service supply. Considering the peri-urban territory and the citizens' needs, VAM is the best solution to satisfy these needs, engaging all stakeholders through an agreement between the local and central administration. This process contributes to local synergies, and promotes territorial sustainability and cohesion by taking into account the principals of subsidiarity and solidarity. To this end, VAM interconnects with the functional areas of municipal services, such as urban planning and strategic planning, that acts as the brain of the strategy. The opinion of citizens, companies and other stakeholders, as well as the holistic vision and the integrated work between several municipal services, are one of the crucial aspects to ensure the sustainable and integrated approach to tackle urban challenges and needs. It's a "less money, more innovation" policy that ultimately aims to increase resilience, the cohesion of territories, social inclusion and public shareholding without forgetting the compromise between the organisation, citizens and businesses (namely, maintain the quality of public services provided in different shapes).

    Based on a participatory approach

    Palmela started the co-design by organising some executive meetings including the population. This way, people could see who was ruling the place where they lived, they could talk about their needs and suggest solutions. Again, the beginning of VAM’s work was a way of squeezing the distance between citizens and executives. Citizens can solve their problems near the place they live and pass their concerns on to the person they talk to. On the other hand, municipality employees are much more motivated to listen and to try and help the population with issues. Inhabitants took part in the conception of VAM project through meetings with neighbourhood associations, “Parish Weeks” (decentralisation of the local government to the five parishes for a week) and public debates, as also thought communication with the different city hall employers. At the same time, a co-working process as an extern stakeholders work occurs inside the City Hall, that leads not only to a co-design process but also a co-production one. The implementation of the project includes various partners such as AutoEuropa (vehicle production), AutoVision and CEIIA (R&D Centers), in order to satisfy the citizens' needs, and provides the city hall with solutions in smart symbioses and synergies.

    What difference has it made?

    VAM is part of the Integrated Urban Development, Governance and Social Inclusion Strategies of Palmela municipality. The VAM project contributes to the improvement of quality services available to citizens, tailoring the services to their needs and thus avoiding long travels through the country, to reducing bureaucracy and streamlining processes, to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of services in a global quality perspective in accordance with the new model of decentralised attendance of public services (integrated and multichannel), to the organisational development and economic and financial sustainability of the municipality; to the promotion of innovation for the benefit of local communities, and to the increasing qualification of human resources. Therefore, VAM is an important project for territory development, increasing the ability to attract and support inhabitants and economic activities as well as promoting social and economic cohesion and governance-by-partnership processes. By using the Internet in order to find the best solution for citizens' needs, the VAM project is a crucial stage in the implementation of the Palmela Human Smart City Hall strategy.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    The VAM could be replicated in the whole country, or in other European countries, because a territorial presence of public services in rural or isolated areas has been rethought in most countries in the European Union. Considering the need to provide public services to these populations, usually with specific needs, and the economic and financial unfeasibility to maintain the traditional fixed front desk administration, the bet on a format using a mobile unit promotes greater efficiency and effectiveness, allowing even greater personalisation of the service provided. The possibility of using vehicles with different functions of public services (i.e. health and education) could be considered.

    Is a transfer practice
    Ref nid
  • Collective school catering


    A sustainable initiative for a territorial agri-food policy

    Gilles Perole
    Elected representative of Mouans-Sartoux
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    10 331
    • Adapted by the BioCanteens Transfer Network
    • and by the BioCanteen#2 pilot


    Mouans-Sartoux is a city of 10,000 inhabitants located on the French Riviera. Since 1998, the city has been connecting food, health and environmental issues. To overcome the lack of a local organic food offer, a municipal farm was created, and two farmers hired to grow vegetables for school canteens, thus meeting 85% of the needs of the three local schools (1,000 meals per day). Public procurement rules were changed so that local producers could answer calls for bids.
    Since then, the city has been serving daily meals in its schools that are 100% local and organic. Developing this approach, Mouans-Sartoux is now working on local agri-food systems and education to extend the initiative at national, European and international levels.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    This initiative offers multiple benefits:

    • 100% organic meals, by a progressive increase of organic sourcing (adaptation of the public procurement policy) with no extra costs;
    • Dramatic reduction of food waste by a set of simple solutions. The economic savings made it possible to offer 100% organic food, served in the canteens at a constant cost. Public procurement rules were reoriented towards local products, using a set of criteria focusing on food quality, environment preservation and cost;
    • Creation of a municipal farm to deliver local organic vegetables to the canteens;
    • Employment protection: two municipal farmers collaborate with cooks, a nutritionist, managerial staff and elected representatives. Short supply chains and local consumption have increased employment;
    • Shift to a healthy diet: food quality, nutritional standards (PNNS), providing fresh, seasonal and balanced non-industrial products, local and organic, cooked on-site from raw products. An effort is put into vegetable proteins in the diet, a savings that enables the purchase of better quality meat;
    • The MEAD (House for Sustainable Food and Education) aims at developing a set of projects related to municipal agri-food policy;
    • Behavioural change: an Observatory of Sustainable Food was created to follow up on actions and families’ food and consumption habits and evolution of their practices;
    • Sustainable land use: to deal with urban sprawl, the local urban planning strategy protected 112 ha. of agricultural land, thus tripling the area dedicated to farming.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Horizontal integration: by supporting smart land use, organic production and local agri-food systems development, the project has a strong environmental dimension. It also has an economic dimension through the creation of jobs (2 jobs at the municipal farm, 2 jobs at the local grocery store), and a social dimension by supporting a "Jardin de Cocagne" as part of a national network: an organic farm that employs 50 people offering social integration through economic activity.
    The other social aspect is the access to sustainable food in the canteens for every pupil, who pays a price adapted to his or her parents’ income. Shifting to 100% organic with no price increase can also be considered as sustainable. Moreover, educating children in nutrition, health, food origin and products, fair trade, etc., is a core action of the project.
    Territorial integration: the project is well integrated in the overall strategy of the city since it manages its own public services (water supply, canteens, farming, etc.), giving autonomy in decision making.
    The project adopts a transversal approach and shared governance through the collaboration of many internal services such as youth and education (through animation, school catering, health, prevention and sustainable development sectors), environmental services (managing the municipal farm), the city urban planning office (especially for the agricultural land area project aiming to install new farmers), with crucial cooperation among all stakeholders.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The project triggers empowerment. Many citizen initiatives have emerged, like local grocery stores (Boomerang: unpacked-food shop, MCE: Fair-trade NGO), community gardens, local groups working on sustainable development actions (Collectif Mouansemble), Incredible Edible, etc. People are particularly involved in the city's activities, and there are many project leaders.
    Multi-level governance: through the MEAD and the Observatory for Sustainable School Catering steering committees, the project associates a wide range of actors in the field of agriculture, health, environment and sustainable development who take part in the governance of the whole good practice: consular chambers (Chambre d’Agriculture), NGOs and national networks of the organic sector (Agribio06, Un Plus Bio), public health NGOs (CODES, CRES: regional and local health committees), decentralised state services (DRAAF: Ministry of Agriculture Regional Service), universities and research institutes (INRA Avignon: agronomy, Côte d’Azur university, LASCAUX: research on food access and food laws, ITAB: organic farming research institute, etc.).
    Being part of the AGRI-URBAN project, local stakeholders are associated as members and partners of the URBACT Local Group (AGRI-URBAN): citizens, parents’ associations, private sector (cooperatives, NGOs, farmers), multi-scaled administrative and educational institutions, etc. By changing their eating behaviour, parents as well as the local population are significant stakeholders of the project.

    What difference has it made?

    As a result of this initiative, a circular economy approach was developed. Projects were born thanks to the change of mentalities (i.e. direct marketing of food goods such as AMAP (Community Supported Agriculture), and small local grocery stores like Boomerang). Jobs linked to local agri-food systems were created (production, retail, sales, organisation). The demand for quality local products is high.
    Other results involve:

    • Environmental protection: zero pesticides, increase of biodiversity by organic crop production and use of melliferous plants that attract pollinators, short low carbon supply chain;
    • Agriculture: the Local Urban Plan Strategy has tripled the agricultural area, allowing the installation of an organic farmer who sells his production locally. In 2016, the municipal farm produced 24 tons of organic vegetables for schools, covering 85% of the requirements;
    • Food waste: 80% decrease in canteens, 30g/meal are now wasted instead of 150g (national average);
    • The observatory: public health and food diets have evolved. Surveys done in 2013 and 2016 revealed that the proportion of families in Mouans-Sartoux who eat 100% organic food has increased from 6% to 13% (in France, less than 2% eat 100% organic, BVA survey 2014). In 2016, 85% of the sample declared that their food practices, behaviour and way of consumption had changed. 31% of parents buy at the producer’s once a week (vs. 19% at national level), 20% weekly at the farmers’ market, and 99% of parents are satisfied with the city’s food policy.

    Transferring the practice

    It has also improved its own practice on the following objectives identified in the city’s improvement plan at the beginning of BioCanteens transfer network Further involving citizens and local stakeholders in the city’s food project Launch of the project Citizen feeding the town (Citoyen Nourrit la Ville) in 2020. In this project, citizens are invited to carry out a participatory mapping of unused public and private lands with the view to turn them into family plots self-managed by small groups of participants, who commit to redistribute a share of their yields to the city’s social grocery. More importantly, a group of citizens was created to ensure a smooth project steering, and to progressively raise their awareness on a wide diversity of food-related policy topics (ex. Food sovereignty, preservation of agricultural lands, food poverty etc.) beyond the issue of market gardening. This group will become the first basis and test-bed of Mouans-Sartoux’s future local food policy council. Taking stock of the relative failure of Mouans-Sartoux ‘s ULG (progressive disengagement of participants because of an overt-intellectual approach), the MEAD team opted to support people’s mobilisation into the city’s food governance through a progressive , flexible and concrete manner. Strengthening the social dimension of the Good Practice A study to better understand the eating and purchase habits of the social grocery’s beneficiaries was carried out enabling to better adapt the service delivered by the city’s centre for social action (upcoming organisation of workshops of sustainable food , better (more attractive) presentation of vegetables on food stalls, partnerships with local organic suppliers to improve the quality of food distributed...) Increasing action-research activities and partnerships with academia, research centres and relevant practitioners. (Pending approval in June 2021): Application to a call for project at national level (Programme National pour l’Alimentation) to carry out an action-research project on how to ensure the coordination of different local authorities’ food project at different governance levels (city, group of cities/metropolitan areas, département). The project’s hypothesis to be verified through 4 case-studies (City of Marseille/Métropole Aix-Marseille- Provence/Bouches du Rhône, Mouans-Sartoux/Alpes Maritimes, Plouguerneau, Epinal) is to show that a food project needs to be developed at each level of local governance, that there is not one better level to coordinate them than the others, but that coordination is needed to build a common narrative and objectives, despite possible different actions. (Approved in June 2021) : A research project will be launched in the second half of 2021 for 2 years in collaboration with the University Hospital of Nice to measure the impact of the sustainable canteens project onto children health (epigenetics study). (Also relevant for the point below) Greater dissemination of the city’s food project and know-how at regional, national and international levels Over 2.5 years, Mouans-Sartoux has led the BIOCANTEENS network, transferring its practice to 6 other cities: LAG Pays des Condruses (Belgium), Vaslui (Romania), Trikala (Greece), Rosignano Marittimo (Italy), Torres Vedras (Portugal) and Troyan (Bulgaria). You can, in particular, check Troyan’s Good practice here. The approach was based on 8 modules which adaptable to each city’s reality: a municipal farm platform, kitchen micro good practices, organic demand and offer, food governance, food sovereignty vision, open dialogues and outreach, working with public procurement, and food education micro good practices The modules are all available as handbook on the URBACT website. Mouans-Sartoux also shared its practice more widely:

    • At national level:
      • via the Cantines durables – Territoires Engagés, French transfer of the practice of Mouans-Sartoux, making it a French BIOCANTEENS network;
      • via a training programme called Management of Sustainable Food Projects for Territorial Communities, in order to adapt and develop projects according to each city's individual situation, together with the University of Côte d’Azur; and,
      • as a significant stakeholder of the national community network Un Plus Bio.
    • at European/international level:
    Is a transfer practice
    Ref nid
  • Atlas of metropolitan spaces


    An atlas of interdependency and interconnections, with a view to implementing efficient partnerships across the territory as a whole

    François Cougoule
    Urban Designer, a’urba
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    246 586


    For the Agence d'urbanisme Bordeaux métropole Aquitaine (AURBA), accepting that society functions as a network is central to understanding the changes at work in urban and metropolitan systems. In 2016, they produced an atlas of the metropolitan spaces of Bordeaux (FR) that not only analyses the evolution of factors like population, employment and mobility, but also shows exchanges with other territories.
    The idea is that this “relational approach” to certain spaces enables the notion of changing reality to be integrated into their development and urban management. In this way territories can be understood according to their interdependency and interconnections, rather than in terms of distribution and localisation alone.
    The atlas builds on the conviction that in a context of diminishing public resources and inward-looking attitudes, improving familiarity with, and understanding of, our neighbours fosters greater openness and new forms of partnership.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Metropolisation is a process. Our analysis does not focus on a finished geographic object, but rather seeks to shed light on dynamic processes and trends. Our angles of interpretation and perimeters are multiple. Pre-existing limits are discarded in favour of explorations of territories fashioned by exchange networks. The Bordeaux metropolitan area is varied in nature - Bordeaux exchanges employees with the Arcachon basin and Libourne, patients with La Rochelle and Toulouse, clients with Bayonne and Langon, second home owners with Royan and Périgueux, spectators with Angoulême and Toulouse, engineers and editors with Paris and Lyon, tourists with Barcelona and London, students with Bucharest and Dakar, researchers with Munich and Los Angeles, and bottles of wine with the whole world. Our aim is to promote ways of developing territorial strategies in full knowledge of the forces at work, the existing stocks, interactions and exchange networks. Whether metropolisation is to be endured or desired, ignored or regulated, it concerns everyone. The issues at stake are thus extremely numerous - demography, migration, employment, the economy, public facilities, services, the environment, tourism, local resources. In addition to exhaustive monographs of stabilised perimeters and detailed indicators, dynamic explorations are also presented, with a view to comparing and contrasting different scales, themes and objects of observation (as well as exchanges and stocks).

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Over and above urban challenges, specifically territorial challenges lie at the heart of this atlas. Understanding the functional reality of a territory, by comparing and contrasting themes and scales is the raison d’être of this work, as a means of shaping a global, structuring vision of how territories function. This approach examines a variety of interrelated themes: the environment (water resources, nature reserves etc.), the economy (links between head offices and branches, patents, exports etc.) or social factors (residential migration, utilities and public facilities, etc.). Horizontal thematic integration is essential if we are to gain a full grasp of the metropolisation phenomenon. This comparative approach is also adopted in terms of spatial scale, as a means of exploring this subject on a comprehensive level. Metropolisation is of course a large-scale phenomenon, taking place on the European or world scale, but it is first and foremost a daily development, clearly observable in cities and neighbourhoods.

    Based on a participatory approach

    A participative approach has not been implemented in the development and production phase. The complexity of the phenomenon under study is such that it demanded the formation of an academic committee comprising researchers in the field of geography and experts in data analysis and cartography. The most significant phase is now commencing, with the delivery of our first results for discussion. These findings were initially addressed to political decision-makers, as they are directly responsible for managing territorial resources. The light shed on existing and upcoming partnerships makes it possible to make budget savings by offering support to ongoing dynamics (be they social or economic). The results are also of interest to people living in the areas studied. People across the region have shown a clear interest in our research and cartography during public presentations of our work.

    What difference has it made?

    As described above, our research aims to shed light on areas of effective partnership between territories, towns and cities. In the current climate, it is becoming increasingly necessary for services, facilities and resources of all natures to be pooled, and towns will be able to build on our findings to begin to work with rather than against each other. This will make way for the creation of new structures on which partnerships may be founded, such as the “Metropolitan Poles” already in action across France, through which territories commit to clearly defined cooperation goals in a range of precise areas (e.g. academia, culture, economic development).

    Why should other European cities use it?

    Metropolisation is a process which affects the whole of Europe, both in urban, peri-urban and rural environments. While major conurbations often see it as a positive element, rural and outlying areas seem to endure rather than control it. Tracing the contours of the process shows that, in reality, all territories have their part to play and that rather than merely modifying the size of our towns, a whole set of measures and policies of an inherently local nature are driving this trend. If metropolisation is inevitable, then it is important that it be understood by all, and that all territories should play their role to the full.

    Is a transfer practice
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  • Diet for a Green Planet


    Project launch
    Project completed

    Food and agriculture accounts for a key part of global environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity, nitrogen and phosphorus. Diet for a Green Planet is a way for every person who eats food to engage and become part of the solution.

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