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Euralens An Innovative Local Tool to Redevelop Pas-de-Calais Former Mining Basin?

Abstract : Background The Pas-de-Calais mining basin is a predominantly urban conurbation of approximately 650,000 inhabitants, situated in the North of France, about 35 km south of Lille and at a reasonable distance of Paris, London and Brussels. The territory have been facing since the end of the mining activity in the 1980s an alarming socio-economic situation, ranked last in France for most of the indicators. Against this background, local and regional actors have created in 2009 a local association, Euralens, in order to use the implementation of the antenna of the Louvre in Lens as a catalyst for territorial development. The association has today two main missions: to prepare and to facilitate the emergence of a metropolis institution; to foster local development by supporting innovative local initiatives through a label process. Findings Created in 2009 at the regional level, Euralens is neither a classical (in France) top-down State intervention nor a genuine bottom-up local initiative. The association has taken a rising importance in the organisation of the territory, favouring the cooperation between local authorities, but also between institutional stakeholders at different levels, the civil society and private actors. Doing so, it gives the Pas-de-Calais mining basin a clearer and louder voice. The recent creation of a specific state policy towards the Mining Basin is a good example of such an assertion and demonstrates the clear redistributive impact of Euralens for the benefit of the locality in the national space. On the question of the distri-bution of territorial engineering, another accomplishment of Euralens is its the capacity to mobilise external national and international expertise to imagine with local stakeholders policies supporting social and territorial development. Outlook However, the effort seems still insufficient over time. The enormous environmental impact of mining activity as well as the deep social impact of the collapse of this activity have let the territory dry. Albeit positive, the action of Euralens is relatively modest in comparison to the extent of the needs. At the social level in particular, the rebuilding of individuals trust is a long-term policy that deserves more attention. Too often, Euralens disregard the social and the procedural dimensions of injustice. It does not pay sufficient attention to the integration of the civil society to the decision-making in a time of democratic crisis. Yet, symbols, power balance, transparency should be cornerstones of Euralens action in the territory in order to better exemplify change in the locality.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 1, 2020 - 2:47:32 PM
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Cyril Blondel. Euralens An Innovative Local Tool to Redevelop Pas-de-Calais Former Mining Basin?. [Research Report] Case study no 17/33, Université du Luxembourg; University of Eastern Finland; Commission européenne. 2019. ⟨halshs-02560329⟩

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