States are faced with multiple challenges –an economic crisis, an ecological crisis and, in some cases, a political crisis– and their responses do not always seem to match the seriousness of the issues, particularly in Europe. By contrast, a number of towns and cities have gambled on a sustainable development strategy and are achieving some “rogue results”, as Jean Haëntjens reminds us in this article.
Investing massively in ecology and energy independence, they are attracting not only new residents, but also dynamic economic activities and tourists. And whereas national officials, particularly in France, are regularly cast aside, the elected leaders of these municipalities retain their positions comfortably. Have these cities found a miracle formula? This is what Jean Haëntjens sets out to analyse here and he shows that, in concerning themselves with the satisfaction of individuals and with available resources rather than a focus on wealth, they are veering from the classical path and employing other economic levers. In doing so, certain cities have developed a method that might usefully be followed by states too.