Introduction to Territorial Intelligence

GirardotThe fundamental principles of territorial intelligence were established by the Catalyse method of assessment and observation and is organised around three areas:

  • Consider the needs expressed by the communities concerned as the starting point for developing action projects.
  • Seek participation that unites all intelligences, elicit cooperation of wills and energies, and encourage people to work together to transcend boundaries, divisions and tensions.
  • Scientific instrumentation. TIC enables stakeholders to work in a network despite the distance and differences in sectors. The use of scientific tools such as multi-criteria analysis and spatial representation provide the distance needed to help generate new projects. These tools will then be useful for stakeholders to pitch their projects, and subsequently to manage and assess their actions. They will also be able to observe their territory and have a forward-looking vision.

At the time, as is still often the case, the projects’ success were based on stakeholder skills or – worse still – projects were designed by managers who were too often far removed from the theatre of operations. This focus on needs quickly proved to be consistent with the conceptual framework of sustainable development. Catalyse then quickly addressed the fears of stakeholders and users by three ethical principles: privacy, cooperation and involvement.

Mosaïque, the collaborative project of the Departement of Doubs, which saw the development of Catalyse by researchers and stakeholders, was one of the 40 pilot schemes of 3rd European programme to combat poverty, this was then followed by Horizon, the first European programme for economic and social inclusion. Mosaïque was selected after a local assessment of the RMI (Guaranteed Minimum Income) demonstrated the complex and diverse needs of RMI beneficiaries in the context of the socio-economic crisis of the 1980s. The needs outstripped the welfare state’s social service schemes and assumed the decompartmentalisation of social service programmes and the involvement of both public and private stakeholders. Mosaïque helped almost 3,000 marginalised people, and delivered good results for economic and social inclusion. It supported many initiatives in the areas of social services, housing, preventive health care and social protection as well as mutual support, micro-credit, and above all economic and social inclusion networks. The health card, which later became the Universal Health Insurance, is one of them. It has been emulated around Europe such as in Charleroi, Belgium. Mosaïque also originally supported les Jardins de Cocagne, which demonstrates how it factored in the ecological dimension at the same time as helping society’s most marginalised people to find employment. Regular assessment of Mosaïque, at the European Commission level, with the support of the national assessors, has demonstrated the importance of social and economic inclusion for young people, workers without qualification, older and rural workers. From 1991 Mosaïque coordinated with other European pilot schemes and the first employment support centres (mainly in Huelva, Charleroi, Auxerre, Perigueux), the first European Network of Economic and Social Inclusion (REIES) which convinced the European Commission to broaden the theme of poverty to include economic and social inclusion, as part of the Horizon programme.
As part of REIES, scientific ambitions emerged which would subsequently lead to territorial intelligence, and assessments and observations were carried out on many innovative initiatives, including:

  • A social Map, a Local Employment Observatory and assessment of the Urban project ” Huelva acción” in Huelva (Spain)
  • Assessment of the charity shops of the Foundation Abbe Pierre and the Haltes des Amis de la Rue
  • Assessment of the Mission Régionale de l’Emploi de Charleroi (Belgium) (Regional employment support centre), the Employer group for employment support, the Qualification de Pontarlier and the employment support centre in Yonne
  • Preliminary audit for the Departmental Plan for employment support in Doubs
  • National Network of migration observatories, Accem (Spain)
  • Network of regional observatories for implementing the minimum income in Portugal

In 1998, the concept of territorial intelligence stated its scientific ambition to gather together “all the multi-disciplinary knowledge that helps understand territorial structures and dynamics and also aims to be a tool for sustainable development professionals in territories”. The research work undertaken then led to the creation of the European Network of Territorial Intelligence in 2002 which brought together research teams and stakeholders in different territories, and then to the European scientific coordination of the European Network of Territorial Intelligence (caENTI) for the 6th Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development of the European Union, from 2006 to 2009.

The Catalyse tools have evolved a great deal thanks to CaENTI’s scientific research in the fields of cooperative territorial observation and participatory governance.

Beyond identifying opportunities and technical constraints that it encounters at the local level (especially at the sub-municipality or district level), territorial observation has proved itself as a meta-method for integrating and analysing information from local government areas. Its objectives are no longer restricted to helping policy makers make decisions, but also to become an information tool accessible to all with the goal of improving participation.

Governance is also important, particular at the level of the territory (local government area), for a cooperative sustainable development process to foster the involvement of the community as a whole, in order to resolve a tangible problem in a given time. Territorial intelligence has distanced itself from the concept of economic intelligence, which is driven solely by economic and financial principles. Clearly focussed on sustainable development, territorial intelligence has added new ethical principles for participatory governance: co-construction, learning, solidarity, rationality, transparency, prevention and precaution.

CaENTI led to the creation and integration of a European network that has grown from fifteen members in 2006 to about fifty partners in 2009, both in Europe and the rest of the world. After having replied to several large scale European programmes that addressed major social issues, the network was awarded an international coordination role: “International Network of Territorial Intelligence” (INTI), with a strong participation from Latin America and now North African countries. Contacts in Asia and North America are also bearing fruit, both with research teams and local initiatives.

Faced with social issues exacerbated by the economic crisis of 2008 in which the depletion of fossil energies and environmental disruption are taking an ever larger place, territorial intelligence has turned its attention to making tangible progress toward sustainable development. How can we tangibly combine the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable development at the local government level? What processes are needed for a territory to engineer a socio-ecological transition towards sustainable development and how much time will it take? How can we strengthen the resilience of a territory against economic, social, cultural and environmental risks? Socio-ecological transition, inherent changes in individual behaviour, territorial resilience, lateral governance are the new key concepts which have significantly influenced proposals for European projects and which have become major communication goals in the INTI network’s international conferences and seminars: “Social and ecological innovation” (Strasbourg, France, September 2010), “The sustainable economy within the new culture of development” (Liege, Belgium, September 2011), “Intelligence, Communication, and territorial engineering” (Gatineau, Quebec, October 2011), “Vulnerabilities and resilience between local and global” ( Salerno-Caserta, Italy, June 2012), “Territorial Intelligence and globalisation. Tensions, transition and transformation” (LaPlata, Argentina, October 2012), “Territorial intelligence, socio-ecological transition and territorial resilience” (Besancon and Dijon, France, May 2013), “Social Innovation and new modes of governance for ecological transition” (Huelva, Spain, November 2013) and “Towards a sustainable intelligence of territories: the scales of the resilience” Roscoff, May 2014.

As part of scientific events, territorial intelligence encounters and is also interested in a range of new concepts aimed at contributing to sustainable development such as assemblies, capabilities, common property, environmental justice, circular economy, etc., with which it seeks a convergence within a new development model based on human behaviour, and geared to the search for the well being of each and every person. It also produces new concepts such as adding value to the land (terroir) and the quality of the territory.

The aim is to let each local community focus on sustainable development by combining tangible social cohesion, cultural diversity, environmental protection and economic efficiency.

Of course these new directions are also reflected by new initiatives:

  • Observatory for socio-ecological transition in Franche-Comte
  • Fountaines d’Ouches, a district in transition, Dijon, France
  • Observatory for territorial intelligence and transformation in Minas, Uruguay
  • Integrated management programme to deal with climate change in LaPlata, Argentina
  • Observatory to enhance the territory of the Province of Ouarzazate, Morocco
  • Audit on the quality of the territory of Bejaia, Algeria
  • The role of women in grass root initiatives and struggles to improve the quality of environmental, social and economic life (Argentina, Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe)

Thus INTI has improved the collaborative research project of territorial intelligence by replying to calls for projects and by participating in local initiatives. This project, updated with each scientific event, proposes four research areas and two interdisciplinary themes:

    • Territories are links between geographical areas and communities in transition to sustainable development (University of Franche-Comte, France)
    • Information, communication and knowledge in an alternative culture of development guided by the well-being of each and every person (University of Franche-Comte, France)
    • A governance agenda that organises structural reforms and initiatives for socio-ecological transition (University of Huelva, Spain)
    • Models and observation systems for sustainable territorial development (University of Liege, Belgium)
    • Territorial vulnerability, vulnerable populations and territorial resilience (University of Rennes, France)
    • Gender and sustainable territorial development (University of Salerno, Italy)

Over three sections, this special issue will present the conceptual contributions in the different research areas of territorial intelligence, major initiatives, and new contributions. Our goal is to increase the awareness of policy makers to these action research fields.

Houda Neffati og Jean Jacques Girardot

Translator: Jackie Dobble

frIntroduction à líntelligence territoriale

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