Spatial planning: strategic presentation of the cross-cutting policy

Ministry Of Territorial Cohesion And Relations With Local Authorities

Ministère De La Cohésion Des Territoires Et Des Relations Avec Les Collectivités Territoriales, 2022

This document, published as part of the Finance Bill 2022, sets out the principles and challenges of the cross-cutting policy for spatial planning. It sets out the strategic axes of the policy of territorial equality and cohesion and the benefits of their development, based on the creation of a Territorial Cohesion Agency designed to meet the challenges of regional planning and provide better support for local authorities. Lastly, it presents solutions for evaluating this policy.

To download : dpt2022_amenagement_territoire_01.pdf (150 KiB)

The Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local and Regional Authorities is responsible for ensuring the territorial continuity of the French Republic and the capacity of each territory to respond to its specific characteristics and assets. The Directorate-General for Local Authorities (DGCL), in its capacity as manager of programme 112 « Impulsion et coordination de la politique d’aménagement du territoire » (impetus and coordination of regional planning policy) and in its role as supervisory authority for the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT), assists the Government in coordinating and implementing the policy for territorial equality, cohesion and development, aimed at combating the widening of territorial inequalities and inequalities of destiny between citizens. ANCT is involved in monitoring and implementing these policies.

Fundamental principles of regional planning

Spatial planning policy is built around five fundamental principles:

Strategic axes of the policy of territorial equality and cohesion

In response to the challenges facing the regions, the State is implementing an interministerial policy based on two principles: « to promote the competitive and sustainable development of the regions » and « to encourage balanced and mutually supportive regional planning ». These two guidelines express the State’s desire to harmonise the two complementary imperatives of regional solidarity and competitiveness, with a view to sustainable development and the enhancement of the regions. In this context, sustainable development is not a specific sector of regional equality and development policy, but a cross-cutting aspect. The purpose of this cross-cutting policy document (DPT) on spatial planning is to provide a comprehensive overview of the State’s budgetary efforts in the area of spatial planning. It covers 29 programmes in the general budget. Each of these programmes is not entirely devoted to spatial planning and development policy. Within each programme, an analysis has been carried out to identify, from among the objectives and performance indicators and the appropriations entered in the actions and sub-actions, the data that are directly concerned and, as such, should be included in the DPT, based on the following three criteria:

The new challenges require a shift from a planning policy to a policy of territorial equality and cohesion.

Today’s territories are exposed to new issues and challenges that require a renewed political approach. Globalisation, new ways of doing business, the growing mobility of people, goods, capital and information, the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs), new lifestyles, a growing and ageing population, the need to take the environment into account, the concentration of people and jobs in urban areas, suburbanisation, the profound and contrasting changes in rural areas, the redefinition of the tasks of the State, local authorities and civil society players, and the increased presence of Community policies in an enlarged Europe: All these phenomena are arguments in favour of reinventing regional planning policies and pursuing the ambition of a more balanced and sustainable development of the territories. This ambition requires the implementation of a differentiated treatment of territories, which takes into account for each of them their potential, their assets but also their weaknesses and their vulnerabilities.

Whether they are rural or urban, peri-urban, mountainous or coastal, all areas are concerned by the need for a territorial policy designed to promote their attractiveness and reduce inequalities. This policy is based on the fundamental principles of territorial cohesion and the balanced and sustainable development of activities and jobs in different parts of the country. It also responds to a desire for national solidarity in favour of the most disadvantaged regions. It must address the new challenges posed by the demographic, economic and social changes affecting our country.

In this context, the policy of territorial equality and cohesion, because of its cross-cutting nature, is of strategic importance, for three main reasons.

Firstly, in the face of globalised economic and social competition, the State must support the most dynamic players to develop their strengths and complementarities, to improve their collective organisation and to strengthen their economic development and research strategies, in order to open up new prospects for employment and well-being for the benefit of the territories and their populations. The aim is to organise the region in such a way as to capture, retain and accumulate factors of production, particularly innovation capacity. Encouraging polarisation and synergies at different territorial levels is therefore a first structuring point.

Secondly, insofar as there can be no attractiveness and dynamism without balance and solidarity between regions, this logic of making the most of the resources and local initiatives of the most dynamic sectors is also the first stage of action in favour of the most fragile regions. Indeed, the organised growth of more attractive areas has a knock-on effect on outlying - and often more fragile - areas, through the spread of activities that themselves provide opportunities for development. It is clear that, in the name of national solidarity and territorial equality, support for competitiveness does not exclude an active policy of economic and social cohesion to benefit disadvantaged areas. This means developing their potential and strengthening their assets. It also strives to support a strategy for developing economic activity and employment in deprived urban areas, supported by motivated local players and an overall vision of the balance of a conurbation.

Lastly, far from being a restrictive framework for regional development, sustainable development has proved in recent years to be a source of innovation and economic competitiveness. Territorial equality policy therefore plays a key role in supporting and encouraging projects that meet the requirements of sustainable development, in particular by promoting energy-efficient modes of transport, encouraging the reconciliation of economic activities and environmental conservation, and promoting local development projects that incorporate these issues.

Government action in favour of a renewed contractual and public intervention framework for support tailored to the specific needs of each region

Faced with these multiple challenges, the Government’s objective over the last five years has been to ensure that the funding provided by the State is consistent with the specific needs of each region.

This ambition has been reflected in the overhaul of the contractual framework for relations between the State and its local partners, based on new multi-year, global territorial contracts that are differentiated to meet the specific needs of each region. The first example of this differentiated approach was the introduction of Convergence and Transformation Contracts (CCT) in the overseas regions, replacing the existing State-Region Plan Contracts. These plans define a long-term convergence strategy (over 10 to 20 years) tailored to each overseas territory, with a view to reducing the development gap with the regions of mainland France. The same desire to adapt to local realities has governed the implementation of the new generation of CPERs and inter-regional plan contracts (CPIERs) for rivers and mountain ranges for the period 2021-2027, whose contractual themes may vary from one region to another. They also make it possible to improve the link between the different types of contract, by starting from regional projects, encouraging an interministerial approach and bringing together the State’s intervention measures in a common contract, thus demonstrating an ambition to make public action more coherent, for the benefit of citizens and regions, beyond the strict financial negotiation of a multiannual contractual envelope. The strategic dimension of the 2021-2027 CPERs has been greatly enhanced compared with the previous generation. Finally, in 2021 the Government has proposed a new type of contract to sub-regional authorities: the Ecological Recovery and Transition Contract (CRTE). Signed for a period of six years, this inclusive contract aims to support projects in all regions (rural, urban, overseas) by bringing together the State’s support measures for local authorities, which have been considerably strengthened by the funding provided under the France Recovery Plan, of which it is the embodiment. In parallel with this overhauled contractual framework, the Government has endeavoured to implement, in collaboration with the players in the regions, specific support programmes focusing on key themes for local development. These programmes represent a genuine decentralisation of public action, based on local authority projects and trusting local elected representatives and players, with decentralised support. Some of the most emblematic initiatives include

The creation of a National Agency for Territorial Cohesion to meet the challenges of regional planning and provide better support for local authorities.

On 17 July 2017, at the first plenary meeting of the National Conference on Territories, the President of the Republic announced the creation of a National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT). Created by the law of 22 July 2019, this agency responds to the desire of elected representatives to have simpler access to State services and to the various operators working in the territories to support their projects.

Since 1 January 2020, the merger of several players (Commissariat général à l’égalité des territoires, Agence du numérique and Établissement public national d’aménagement et de restructuration des espaces commerciaux et artisanaux), and agreements with operators (Agence nationale de la rénovation urbaine, the Agence nationale de l’habitat, the Centre d’études et d’expertise sur les risques, l’environnement, la mobilité et l’aménagement, and the Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie) make it possible to combine the resources of the State and its operators, in a way that complements the tools developed by local authorities. The ANCT acts for the benefit of all territories, with priority given to the most fragile territories, whether urban or rural, taking into account the specific characteristics of each. In addition to national programmes (Action Cœur de Ville, Territoires d’industrie, Petites Villes de demain, etc.), the ANCT provides « tailor-made » assistance through technical and financial engineering support by mobilising and coordinating the resources of the State and its operators. It is organised on a largely decentralised basis, with departmental prefects acting as the agency’s territorial delegates, and regional secretariats for regional affairs (SGARs) and massifs commissariats.

Evaluation of the territorial equality and cohesion policy

Finally, in order to assess the effectiveness of the territorial equality and cohesion policy, a performance indicator has been introduced to monitor the disparity in wealth creation at regional level. The « dispersion of regional GDP per capita » indicator, which represents the standard deviation of regional GDP per capita, is monitored each year to take account of the reduction (fall in the standard deviation) or increase (rise in the standard deviation) in inequalities in wealth creation between regions. Each year, the estimate of GDP per capita is updated over the last three years to take account of new data published by INSEE since the previous publication.

In addition, the GDP per capita estimate is based on the GDP per capita of the 13 major metropolitan regions. In this new regional framework, the estimate of the inter-regional dispersion of GDP per capita, on a perimeter limited to mainland France and excluding Île-de-France, results in a considerable reduction in inequalities: the dispersion around the average regional GDP per capita amounts to €1,804, compared with €2,207 in the old regional framework. However, once the overseas territories and Île-de-France are taken into account, this standard deviation rises to €9,287, which is mainly due to the very disparate levels in the overseas territories and Île-de-France. At the time of publication of this DPT, data beyond 2018 had not yet been published by INSEE.

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