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Monday 18 March 2019

Grenoble, a laboratory for citizen participation

Since 2014, the mayor of Grenoble and his team have been working on transforming the city into a true “transition city”, in the most democratic way possible.
Grenoble works as an urban laboratory and is implementing a slew of initiatives related to democratic transition.


In the face of energy and climate challenges, the city of Grenoble is implementing various tools aimed at kick-starting the environmental transition. Several ideas are currently being tested:

Supporting citizen initiatives

To this end, the city has set up three main tools:

  • Participatory budget: a system allowing Grenoble residents to decide on the allocation of part of the city’s investment budget to projects proposed by citizens. The projects are voted on by residents and evaluated by the city government, and the projects which get the most votes are implemented. The participatory budget amounts to 800,000€/year.
  • Independent citizen councils: Groups of citizens composed of up to 20 volunteers and 20 randomly selected residents. Their objective is to initiate economic projects, co-host public debate, and drive solidary actions. They can submit open questions to the city government at city council meetings.
  • Citizen petitioning and voting: The ability for Grenoble residents to petition the City Council. If a petition gathers over 2.000 signatures, it must be debated upon. Any petition that is dismissed by the Mayor must be brought to the attention of citizens during a citizen vote held at least once a year. If such a petition receives over 20,000 votes, it must be implemented.

Involving citizens in municipal initiatives

In addition to the support for local initiatives, the city of Grenoble is also trying to involve the territory’s various players in its own initiatives. In 2016, it launched a platform called “Grenoble, ville de demain” (Grenoble, city of tomorrow).
This platform is evidence of a real will to test new methods and develop new practices. With this goal in mind, the smaller scale ensures better control over the actions and a certain flexibility.

You can learn about more actions involving Grenoble citizens, and find detailed information about the initiatives undertaken in Cadiz, Maastricht and other cities, in the study “Fabrique de transition démocratique : implication des citoyens dans la transition énergétique en Europe”. (in French)

Fabrique de transition démocratique - Implication des citoyens dans la transition énergétique en Europe Fabrique de transition démocratique - Implication des citoyens dans la transition énergétique en Europe

Étude Exploratoire - Décembre 2018
Fin 2015, les États du monde entier se réunissaient à Paris. Ils affirmaient leur volonté commune d’empêcher la hausse des températures par rapport à l’ère pré-industrielle et de tout faire pour la limiter à 1,5°C. Pourtant en 2017, après trois années de stagnation, les émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre sont reparties à la hausse. Le dernier rapport du GIEC confirme que les engagements pris pendant la COP21 seront particulièrement difficiles à atteindre et appelle à un sursaut international : faire plonger les émissions de CO2 de toute urgence.
Dans ce contexte, les villes ont un rôle très important à jouer. Elles sont en effet des acteurs incontournables de la mise en place des politiques publiques de transition énergétique au niveau local, à l’échelle des bassins de vie des citoyens.
Leurs actions s’inscrivent dans les territoires et visent à fédérer l’ensemble des parties prenantes pour la mise en place d’une réelle transition énergétique. Cependant, à l’heure où la société se trouve face à une forte crise démocratique, les villes doivent aussi réinventer leurs façons d’agir.



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©photo: ville de Grenoble



by Béatrice Karas on 18 March 2019 / 510 visits




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