The ZAN, Catalyst for Innovations for Territorial Actors !

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In 2024 at GEM, the complex and controversial issue of the ZAN is at the heart of prospective solutions, developed by the Territorial Transitions Catalyst - a pilot device of collective reflections and actions, led by the GEM's TeT Chair. As a reminder, the objective of the ZAN, stemming from the Climate and Resilience Law, aims to slow down and compensate for soil artificialization in France, with two major deadlines: halving the rate of artificialization by 2030, and achieving neutrality by 2050.

The SAMSE Group, the Cheval Group, the Associated Notaries, and the Local Public Land Development Agency of Dauphiné (EPFL) are the new partners mobilized within the Transition Catalyst (see sidebar), whose activities are particularly impacted by the ZAN issue. For example, the ZAN fundamentally impacts the profession of notaries, whose tradition of heritage management is related to buildings, while land remains the key to the ZAN. In this regard, Thomas Plottin, a notary in Meylan and partner of the Transition Catalyst, is working on writing a white paper to raise awareness within the profession about the challenges and opportunities of the ZAN.


Embracing Collective Intelligence !

"The Territorial Transitions Catalyst brings together a 'rope team' of diversified professionals, representative of the ecosystem, which goes far beyond the construction sector: Urban Planning, Territorial Organization but also Ruralism and Biodiversity. They share the desire to advocate for innovative solutions and initiate actions that address the complex challenges of the ZAN," emphasizes Delphine Gatti, Innovation Programs Manager at GEM Labs, reflecting the Transition Catalyst, and member of GEM's TeT Chair.

Indeed, "the ZAN ticks all the boxes of #wickedproblems (problems with complex solutions). The diversity of issues and stakeholders, the degree of complexity of the ZAN, and the inherent uncertainty in its functioning and the effects produced by the recommended solutions make the ZAN a highly complex issue to address," notes Delphine Gatti. In this perspective, Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at GEM, highlighted academic approaches and analysis tools to address the complexity of the topic, which relies on collective intelligence.


Fostering emulation and "allowing" for imperfect solutions

Creating emulation among stakeholders, provoking controversy (constructive conflict), and capitalizing on a diverse knowledge base to envision potential (and imperfect!) solutions constitute the heart of the approach dedicated to wickedproblems.

"The first two workshops dedicated to the ZAN, organized in December 2023 and March 2024, focused on analyzing the ZAN issue (What challenges does the ZAN address); The second workshop specifically aimed at exploring the issue according to professional status (local authorities, companies, notaries, urban planners, environmental preservation associations...), and analyzing practices in other countries. Raphaël Languillon, researcher and author of "Land Sobriety, Evolution and Comparative Perspectives France, Switzerland, England, and Japan," enriched the debates.

At the end of the second workshop, and because one of the ways to address complex problems is to dissect it and tackle it, piece by piece; three personae were defined, facing different challenges: a resident facing the construction of a nine-story building near their residence; an elected official of a small town facing the implementation of the ZAN in their municipality, and finally, a young entrepreneur who chooses to establish their start-up in a "relaxed" area rather than in a tense urban area. 

Eddie Mathiolon-Catanese-Redman, the first B-CORP certified real estate developer, also provided his testimony on his positioning regarding the ZAN. Similarly, two prospective projects on "Imagining new uses for urban infrastructure without removing the initial use" were proposed by students led by Hélène Michel, teacher-researcher at GEM.

This Catalyst device, led by GEM's TeT Chair, will continue through two other sessions dedicated to the ZAN, in June and October this year.

Organizations participating in the Catalyst device :

Partners and patrons of the TeT Chair : 

  • Algoé 
  • Urban Planning Agency of the Grenoble Region 
  • Mountain Cluster
  • Isère Department 


New partners and patrons of the Catalyst device : 

  • SAMSE 
  • Cheval Group 
  • Associated Notaries 
  • EPFL of Dauphiné 


New associative/expert partners :

  • Grenoble Region 
  • SCoT Isère 
  • CEN LPO 
  • The Shifters
  • Energy transition
  • Chair
  • Territory

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