Futuribles here continues the series of articles begun by Gilles Le Blanc in the May 2012 issue aimed at reflecting the “Territories 2040” foresight exercise launched by DATAR in France in 2009 and showing the lessons that can be drawn from it. This second contribution presents the most noteworthy points from the group foresight work done on intermediate cities and their local spaces.
After reminding us how to grasp the spatial system of so-called “intermediate” cities conceptually, Francis Aubert et al. bring out the main characteristics of these spatial systems at the sociological, economic and political levels. They then present the hypotheses and main determinants which, at these three levels, underpin the scenarios they elaborated with respect to the future of the intermediate cities in the years to 2040. After a more precise description of these four alternative scenarios (“Uncertain Communities”, “Green Laboratories”, “Competing Specialisms” and “Interconnected Satellites”), the authors show what their analysis of the spatial systems of intermediate cities contributes to the general “Territories 2040” foresight exercise from the angle, on the one hand, of the “empowerment of all territories” and, on the other, of the coordination between territories and actors.