In 2003, the elected representatives for the region around Annecy, in the French Alps, commissioned a study of their area entitled Livre blanc du Bassin annécien, which highlights the challenges facing the region over the next ten to fifteen years. Isabelle Brun and Vincent Pacini, who took part in the preparation of the report, present the approach adopted and the results of this regional planning exercise.
In particular, they reveal the various phases of the study, such as identifying the region's characteristics, and the measures that resulted from it. The report led to the signing of a development agreement with the Rhône-Alpes region and another relating to the conurbation of Annecy. This initiative has allowed a greater degree of co-operation in dealing with shared problems despite the fact that such a partnership did not seem an obvious one in principle, given the differing concerns of those involved in the region and also the dominance of Annecy.
The authors explain that the report's success is largely thanks to its unusual approach, which did not follow the standard steps in French land-use planning. Instead it relied on three processes: understanding the region's features with input from local sources, analysing and tapping the full range of available resources, and then deciding what kind of change should be pursued. They argue that the example of the Annecy region shows how land-use planning can be more effective by being more operational and by taking account of both the potential and the real constraints of the actors involved.