Publication date

February 15, 2024

For our 2023 annual conference in Modena, we travelled with Italo Calvino through his Invisible Cities. This famous novel “reveals” each city by exploring what we don’t see at first glance. Much like an anti-tourist guide, it is the relationships between the inhabitants, the ties to the land and the many historical and geographical influences running through them, that define the unique identity of a place far better than any Instagram photo.

Once again this year, we hope to continue this exploratory journey in Valencia on 26 and 27 June. For each city, any strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, 2040 or 2050 will only be possible if the “graft” is successful. Grafting is something of an art. It has been around for thousands of years, and there is something magical about it…

The first step is to prepare the rootstock, next take the scion. Then comes the nurturing, watering, sun and wind. The seasons will pass, and the tree will bear new fruit.

The rootstock is today’s cities, and to know them better, to discover what strengths will support the scion, from which resources it will draw, a thorough analysis will need to be performed, which goes well beyond an Excel spreadsheet and a PCAET (the French territorial air-energy-climate plan).

When drawing up a development strategy, we often spend much more time on future-oriented hypotheses. We imagine technological deployment scenarios, for example, without questioning needs.

During our annual conference, we would like to explore with you the strengths of each region, to reveal the invisible: what has this or that project changed for your city, your administration, what are the real needs of a city that protects against the risks of climate change and offers everyone a better quality of life? And what collective infrastructures are lacking to meet these needs?

To prepare for this conversation, we will be checking in with you over the coming weeks to find out what your local “gold nuggets” are, those projects large and small, recent or very old, on which future initiatives will be grafted. By presenting these gold nuggets to other towns and cities, we hope not only that the rootstock will be better prepared, but also that good ideas will be sown far and wide!