Futuribles Journal n° 407

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Territoires, réseaux

The Third Industrial Revolution in Nord-Pas-de-Calais: Building a New Collective Destiny


Echoing the forum in this issue devoted to “France between declinism and tradition” –and particularly Cécile Désaunay’s article, which highlights the many new initiatives aiming to set the country on the path of transition, Éric Vidalenc shows here how a region –Nord-Pas-de-Calais– is taking its fate into its own hands and embarking on this path. Still bearing the scars, both in its landscapes and socio-economically, of the last two industrial revolutions (coal, followed by the steel and textile industries), Nord-Pas-de-Calais has in fact been embarked, for several years, on a resilience process aimed at implementing a “third industrial revolution” (of the kind advocated by Jeremy Rifkin), based on control of energy consumption, renewable energies and digital technologies. Éric Vidalenc shows how that process got underway, describes its aims, the actors and the resources mobilized, and outlines the first lessons that come out of this ambitious strategic, forward-looking exercise. It is, of course, too early to see tangible results in economic, social or environmental terms etc., but we should probably welcome the dynamic that has been set in train and the pro-activeness of the local actors who have formed a stern resolve to put an end to decline by taking the path of a self-chosen sustainable development.

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