14th INTI Conference “Sustainable Development of Vulnerable Territories.” – Ouarzazate2015

New call for papers 

The 14th Annual International Conference of Territorial Intelligence in Ouarzazate (Morocco) will focus on “Sustainable Valorization of Vulnerable Territories.”

Papers will be divided into five topics:

  1. Socio-ecological transition and vulnerable territories resiliency
  2. Observation of vulnerable territories
  3. The valorization of vulnerable territories
  4. The quality of territory
  5. Initiatives in vulnerable territories

Proposals for papers should be sent by email by June 30th to: m.oudada@uiz.ac.ma with copy to jjg@mshe.univ-fcomte.fr
(cf.: Answering the call for papers)

Mankind has realized that the system based on the accumulation of material goods spurred by competition in the context of globalization and financialization leads to unsustainable inequalities between men and local communities, product depletion resources on a global scale with an uneven impact in different territories, and increases the environmental risks that challenge the very existence of the human species.

Territorial Intelligence, “action research project whose object is sustainable development of the territories and the subjects of which are local communities” (Girardot, 2008, 2013) wants to establish the prospect of another development model oriented by improving the well-being of each and every (Council of Europe, 2005), democratically developed by each local community. It suggests a process of co-construction of a collective intelligence that links the actors of a territory within the territorial community, to develop concerted sustainable local project and realize cooperative, transparent, efficient and equitable way. The participation of the territorial community, and each person, targets the improvement of the quality of life of each and everyone.

Socio-ecological transition and vulnerable territories resiliency

To do this, territorial intelligence embraces the concept of socio-ecological transition that seeks to harness the demographic, economic, social, and environmental challenges and reversing the increase in social and territorial inequalities (Baer, 2009). Territorial intelligence focuses on changes in social behavior, but also the individual who will, if they are stimulated by structural reforms and adequate governance, reduce fossil resources consumption and reduce social and territorial inequalities.

Local communities are encouraged to reclaim their territories to improve resiliency by promoting initiatives that have been marginalized by the financialization of the economy.

Territorial intelligence contributes through a multidisciplinary at scientific level and multisectoral in action approach to the balanced combination of economic efficiency, social equity and environmental protection. as such, it differs from business intelligence that is limited pursuing a competitive advantage, a monetary gain, on the global competitive market. Territorial intelligence does not confuse the territory with a market, or a business, nor citizens with clients or employees. She is not only concerned about economic competitiveness.

Territorial resiliency is one of the key concepts of socio-ecological transition, popularized by Rob Hopkins in “Transition Handbook” (2008). Resilience is inspired by the design of Hollings (1973) that after a perturbation the system is not marked by a return to equilibrium, expression of mechanical behavior, but instead often reacts positively , creative, thanks to multiple adjustments. To the extent that “The concept of transition evokes the opportunity to co-construct a rational evolution, peaceful and transparent, but radical, against the risk of an authoritarian change” (Girardot, 2012) “The resiliency of a territory described the ability of its community to assume its peaceful transition from a development based on the criteria of short term selfish gain towards sustainable development, reconciling economic, social, environmental and cultural aims face external shocks that increase its vulnerability and calls into question its existence “(Girardot, 2013).

We propose to continue, in the specific case of vulnerable areas, the discussions initiated during international meeting of Roscoff (May 2014): How to develop a transition agenda and an integrated analysis of the resiliency of territories, highlighting the risks and opportunities? What are the milestones of the transition agenda and indicators of resiliency? How do they articulate with the territorial governance arrangements and especially with a lateral participatory governance.

Observation of vulnerable territories

In a logic of territorial intelligence, territorial observation is based on the collection, sharing and crossing data on users and services with territorial indicators to develop and argue partnership projects, to manage and evaluate them in a participatory way.

At the local level it faces five major challenges:

• The most important is the lack of open  information available at the sub municipal level.
• Paradoxically we may be faced with a mass of information on smaller scales.
• Next is little social and environmental indicators consistent with sustainable development.
• Disparities between sectors, spatial divisions and updating data in time, complicate the mapping.
• Local information still lacks transparency.

These difficulties are a priori more important in vulnerable areas. What forms do they take then? How about it?

Territorial valorization

Territorial valorization has a more ambitious objective than economic competitiveness. It refers to the concept of collective intelligence evaluating “results from the collaboration and sharing of information, as well as the competition between many individuals … Collective intelligence can be considered as a form of network, enabled by recent developments in information technology “(Prior, 2010).

Territorial development is not limited to economic growth, or economic competition. The economic logic of the partnership, instrument of the global approach, is based primarily on cooperation (including within clusters) and aims to bring together local resources before resorting to other means. Networks allow private actors, associations and individuals, such as the public, to participate in decisions in the context of participatory democracy. From a territorial valorization perspective, participatory democracy is a space for competition as well as cooperation.

Quality of territory

The quality of the territory is a complementary concept of territorial valorization. Quality has been understood as the ability of a product or service to satisfy the expressed or latent needs of consumers. They are the intrinsic attributes of the product or service. Customer satisfaction and continuous improvement of the product or service have been central to this specific understanding. Within a territorial framework, however, quality has a broader meaning by virtue of which territorial community replaces consumers and dimensions of sustainability replace product or service attributes. Therefore, we can define the quality of the territory as the ability of the latter to meet the needs of its community through continuous improvement of its economic, social, environmental and cultural dimensions. It is often equated with quality of life, a concept born as a result of changes in lifestyles of today’s society and the perception of risks arising from economic development.

Initiatives in vulnerable territories

Regardless of international and national programs, sustainable development is characterized by local initiatives taken by local authorities, associations, informal groups or individuals.

We are interested in those that are part of the socio-ecological transition, contribute to the territorial resiliency, value territory and illustrate its quality.


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