Happy New Year!

Contrib’City sends its best wishes for the year 2022 to all its readers and to their loved ones.

The year looks to be full of events, whether at the local, national or the global level, each of these aspects being linked to one another.

We will continue to monitor the level of the transparency in public life, in France (from the municipal level to that of the parliament), amidst the presidential elections and amidst the corona pandemic with the new Omicron variant. In this regard, the European Union will also be brought under scrutiny, particularly on the question of the lobby groups and of their management by the elected official and senior european civil servants.

Several cars burnt in front of a garage, in Jouy-en-Josas (South-West Paris region), in the beginning of this year, and more than 5100 burglaries occurred in Yvelines and in the Essonne départements [1]a départment is grossly the equivalent of a British county in 2021: we will look through the security, in the context of sharp decrease in police presence in peri-urban areas. Decisions in the matters of local monitoring need to be made: do inhabitants need to surveille their living spaces themselves? Should they themselves assure security to their territories as well? 

In development matters, we will continue to talk about the geophysical risks such as the surface run-offs or floods. For example, we will discuss the public authorities, who themselves sometimes under pressure of the local representatives, who authorise construction in flood-prone areas. We will return to the example of the grand construction project in the major riverbed of the Bièvre river in Jouy-en-Josas and to the one of the construction permits below the sea level, such as in the Faute-sur-Mer (a commune) in Vendée (a départment in Western France) where the responsible agencies had asked the inhabitants, during the hurricane Xynthia, to lock themselves up inside their homes, making the latter prisoners inside their own homes invaded by the waters.

Socio-economic questions will be addressed once again: the hyper centralisation in France (with its repercussions on the housing and the transport) and the French public debt [2]A debt is always paid off. Every time. Except that, when the debtor can not pay, it is the creditor who does that. henceforth, out of control although the creditors will indeed have to pay the debt back one day. We will see the budgetary slippages of certain local authorities for some construction projects in or out of France, and whose usefulness is contested upon. We will not forget the over-indebtedness of the households in the context of the – temporary or perennial – inflation and of the real estate prices. We will also examine how immensely strong geographical centralization of (human, material, scientific or financial resources) capital, if it offers potential for growth, can also lead to profound unrest and fragilities in our daily lives.

The year 2022 promises to be full of all kinds of events. CC remains vigilant, to the very modest extent of its means and of its knowledge, and will bring you its view on not just the current events but also on the structural risks too that we ourselves create within our societies, thinking that it will be the next elected representative or the generation of our children or of our grand-children who will resolve the problems.

Naturally, your comments and articles are appreciated because it is together that we can improve our level of theoretical and operational knowledge. The French historian and urbanist Michel Carmona had several times compared a city with a huge brain: millions of reflections and experiences, interconnected to one another, permitting to increase the knowledge of this population.

It is in this dynamic of openness and of culture that Contrib’City once again sends best wishes to you and your families and proposes to you the idea to build together the next twelve months present before us. Like Hercules faced with his tasks at hand, with the power of the truth and the desire to work towards ameliorating the knowledge of our World, with its strengths and its temptations, we shall, collectively, contribute to creating a freer and more harmonious society.

Bertrand de Foucauld
[email protected]

 

Translation: Vidhi Taparia, BdF.

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