Sustainable development and urban governance



The institution of a sustainable development model is a major priority for the international community. It brings in the principle of global resource management and aims at environmental protection, improved living conditions, equity and social cohesion and economic efficiency.

The implementation of sustainable development principles and objectives stirs cities, in the North and the South, to strike a balance between controlled urban development and the preservation of natural and rural areas and resources, to promote diversity in urban functions and social diversity, to protect the quality of the environments, architectural heritage and landscapes, and to prevent risks and pollution. It guides them toward a broader view of relations between the city and its hinterlands.

1. Supporting strategic planning approaches

In order to help its partners in the South take up these challenges, French Cooperation supports participatory urban planning built on an inclusive vision of the city and urban governance, structured around the concepts of sustainability, horizontality, budgetary realism, partnership, subsidiarity, needs fulfilment, land availability, strategic steering, concern for the poorest, mobilisation of local resources and consistency between differing public policies. This broad thinking process, combined with a medium- and long-term vision, is aimed at “producing” metropolitan areas designed as part of a whole, with high economic performance, caring, friendliness, modulability, extendibility and the capacity to take in a growing population stream, all the while preventing the proliferation of spontaneous settlements.

2. Supporting rehabilitation and promotion for old city centres

The production of urban forms must take into account the spatial, social, cultural and economic practices of local inhabitants, as well as respect the ties between the city’s past, present and future. Because of this, French Cooperation supports projects that take into account the relationships between bordering areas and the old city centres. The latter are a fundamental structuring component for the metropolitan areas to which they gave rise. Rehabilitating and promoting their heritage is thus of great symbolic importance and contributes to the reunification of an area that is increasingly fragmented.