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Design sustainable business models

Design sustainable business models

The construction and functioning of a city requires the mobilisation of diversified and innovative funding. This funding must be based on public and private resources and initiatives, be sustained by new modes of project governance and involve all the stakeholders, starting with residents, right from the design stage

Mobilisation of public/private partnerships

To guarantee urban development in line with their performance, quality of life and economic attractiveness objectives whilst safeguarding the public finances, a variety of tools are available to local authorities that can be used to ensure a good combination between their strategic and policy projects and the best skills offered by business, and all this in the context of constant awareness of residents' needs and preoccupations.

Public-private partnerships can also be a good option for the provision of equipment and infrastructure as well as for its operation and maintenance.

Trade in drinking water Credit André Durbec/ADVANCITY

Funding and operating essential urban services

Particular attention must be paid to the funding and operation of essential urban services because they are elements indispensable to the proper operation of a city and its social, as well as its economic and environmental, balance. In order to avoid wasting natural resources, the price of these services must ensure overall financial balance, whilst different mechanisms, including well identified public funding, can be introduced to ensure access to these essential services for the most disadvantaged populations.


The circular economy, short supply chains and local entrepreneurship

The city’s ability to limit its consumption of natural resources while ensuring its residents the best quality of life for its inhabitants relies on the development of a circular economy between all economic stakeholders and involving the participation of residents and users, each finding an advantage in economic, social and environmental terms.

Contrary to the "classical" linear economy, in which products are designed to be made, consumed then destroyed, generally in completely different units, the circular economy not only provides for the reuse or recycling of a product's components, but above all is rooted in an area, optimising local resources and use.

It is based on six main elements:

- moderate and efficient use of non-renewable resources.
- exploitation of renewable resources that takes the conditions for their renewal into account.
- the promotion of eco-design and so-called cleaner production.
- environmentally friendly consumption.
- recovery of waste as a resource.
- treatment of ultimate waste without causing pollution.

Unlike a globalised economy, this regional economy often depends on a different style of entrepreneurship, founded on a desire to combine economic principles of production and trade with principles of solidarity and social usefulness: consumer or employee cooperatives, associations, etc. These structures are based on decentralised initiatives that respond to residents' needs in an often innovative manner.

Romainville, pneumatic waste collection system. Credit Laurent Mignaux/METL-MEDDE

Consumer and user involvement

The performance and quality of city life cannot solely rely on the intelligence of designers and planners, nor on the techniques and technologies used. To provide an effective response to the needs of the economic stakeholders and population, a city's citizens and users must be heard and involved at every stage of a project.

To achieve this, permanent dialogue between various stakeholders must be organised.

In cities where resources and time have been devoted to organising participatory processes, cohesion is stronger, in particular at neighbourhood level, and residents are more willing to take on board both short-term strategies and long-term vision.



♦ Lyon 
♦ Bordeaux
♦ Grenoble
♦ Eiffage