A brief by Elise Baudelet, junior expert in territorial marketing at the CAAC
Quality of life and good environment are the new headlines to design the future urban landscape.
Respecting the environment, green cities projects, rethinking the urban building and the transportation as well as the “green tourism” have become a new urban trend. As private companies communicate on their sustainable and green actions to differentiate, the cities outline their environmentally friendly planning. Social megatrends have an impact on businesses and institutional decisions.
Sustainable urban development is challenging since competition is a driving force of territorial marketing: places have to stand out in order to survive. Finding a balance between both is paramount. For instance, the equilibrium between the cultural heritage and the new urban planning has to be tackled. Regarding transportation, two concerns arise: on the one hand the traffic correlated with the city expansion, on the other hand the air quality that suffers when places are intensifying their density. The management of the waste, the natural resources and the energy are also hard to combine with the territorial growth.
However, the recent study, “Urban Climate Change Governance Survey” has found that 75% of cities worldwide are now aware of climate change becoming a new challenge in their planning strategies. Places intend to focus on endogenous development.
Place marketing has an essential role in pushing real changes through its communication. More than promotion, it should build up an integrated vision. Working together with citizens, associations, companies and urban planners, cities start to achieve the green objectives. European projects drive territories in this direction. The Urban development forum, URBACT projects, European Green Capital… all set for long term improvement and citizens’ life quality. Fully involved in the process, the CAAC pursues these ambitions. Indeed, through the San Sebastian Charter, it signals its “intention to perpetuate this vocation [to promote a balanced development of the European territory] of the Atlantic area on the basis of a renewed strategy focusing on sustainable development and on defining a new “green” urban model.”