[Nantes 🇫🇷] A look back at the co-creation of a Healthy Corridor in the district of Nantes Nord

January 1, 2024

In 2018, Nantes Nord embarked on a journey towards sustainable urban transformation as part of the URBiNAT project. This six-year initiative has become a model of urban regeneration, blending social, economic, and environmental progress through co-creation and nature-based solutions (NBS).


The Vision of Co-Creation

Central to URBiNAT’s success was the involvement of local partners Nantes Métropole and IRSTV, alongside numerous local associations. This collaborative effort in designing and implementing the Healthy Corridor has exemplified participatory urban development.

The co-creation process involved several key stages to ensure community-driven and inclusive urban development. The process began with engagement and awareness, where local inhabitants were introduced to the project’s objectives and the concept of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). This phase was crucial for building a foundational understanding and garnering interest among the community.

Following this, workshops and participatory meetings were organized, providing a platform for residents to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas. These sessions were instrumental in gathering diverse perspectives and fostering a sense of ownership among the participants.

The next stage involved design and planning, where feedback from the community was integrated into the project plans. This collaborative approach ensured that the proposed solutions resonated with the local needs and preferences. The implementation phase saw the actual realization of the Healthy Corridor, with continuous community involvement to adjust and refine the project as needed.

Finally, the evaluation and feedback stage allowed for reflection on the project’s impact, ensuring that the Healthy Corridor continued to evolve and meet the community’s aspirations. Throughout these stages, tools like the Mobil’O bus facilitated ongoing dialogue, ensuring that the co-creation process was dynamic, inclusive, and responsive to the community’s evolving needs.

Projet Global: A Comprehensive Approach

The “Projet Global” for the regeneration of Nantes Nord is an ambitious framework with substantial budget allocation, aiming to revolutionize the district’s social and environmental fabric. Its objectives were:

  • Social Transformation: Enhancing community welfare, addressing social inequalities, and fostering inclusive community spaces.
  • Environmental Revitalization: Implementing green infrastructure, improving biodiversity, and promoting sustainable urban practices.

This comprehensive approach ensured that the district’s redevelopment wasn’t just physical but also socially and environmentally sustainable. The “Projet Global” for the district of Nantes Nord aims to rejuvenate the area through a combination of economic, social, and environmental strategies, with a significant emphasis on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). The project is not just about reshaping the physical landscape of the district but is deeply rooted in fostering social and economic revitalization. By integrating NBS, the project seeks to enhance urban biodiversity, create green spaces, and promote sustainable urban infrastructure, all of which are key to improving the quality of life for residents. Green interventions are designed not only to beautify the district but also to provide practical social and economic benefits, such as improving air quality, reducing urban heat islands, and creating recreational and communal spaces that encourage social interaction and community cohesion.


Nantes Nord as a Living Lab

Nantes Nord transformed into a ‘Living Lab‘ for urban transformation. This concept involved:

  • Regular Meetings with Citizens: Youth centers, provided by the city, served as hubs for residents to engage with URBiNAT project partners, fostering a sense of ownership and community in the project.
  • Mobil’O Bus Initiative: A mobile living lab initiative, the Mobil’O bus, became a dynamic space for citizens to discuss and co-plan the Healthy Corridor. This approach brought the project directly to the people, enhancing accessibility and engagement.

The Mobil’O bus in Nantes Nord, introduced during the URBiNAT project, represents an innovative approach to community engagement in urban transformation. Serving as a roving meeting point, it facilitates direct exchanges with local residents about the ongoing project and the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) being implemented in their district. This mobile living lab is a dynamic space where citizens gather to discuss, brainstorm, and provide feedback on the various aspects of the Healthy Corridor and other NBS interventions.

The bus travels throughout Nantes Nord, making the project more accessible and inclusive, ensuring that the voices of all community members are heard and considered in the co-planning process. This initiative symbolizes a commitment to participatory urban development, where residents are not just passive recipients but active contributors to the shaping of their living environment. The Mobil’O bus exemplifies a tangible effort to bring the project to the people, bridging the gap between planners and the community, and fostering a sense of ownership and involvement among the inhabitants of Nantes Nord.

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A Healthy Corridor Urban Plan for the District of Nantes Nord

As part of URBiNAT, an extensive co-creation process involving local communities, urban planners, and environmental experts resulted in the publication of a comprehensive URBiNAT Healthy Corridor Urban Plan. The document outlines a strategic vision for the development of a Healthy Corridor (Boucle Verte), integrating Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) to foster more liveable, environmentally friendly, and socially cohesive urban spaces. Central to this plan is an emphasis on green infrastructure, community engagement, and sustainable mobility, aiming to transform Nantes Nord’s urban environment into a healthier and more inclusive area. The publication serves not just as a blueprint for Nantes Nord but also as a guiding framework for other cities participating in the URBiNAT project.

This Urban Plan reflects a forward-thinking approach to city planning, where ecological well-being and community needs are balanced. By openly sharing this resource (link below), the project underscores its commitment to collaborative knowledge exchange and the promotion of NBS in urban regeneration.


Unveiling Nature-Based Solutions  

The URBiNAT NBS Catalogue guided the selection of sustainable interventions. This included urban gardens, cycle paths, and the innovative Symbiose project, representing a blend of urban living and nature.


Throughout the project Nantes partners of the URBiNAT project have participated in numerous academic events and published several research papers of aspects of the project.


The Nantes Nord URBiNAT Healthy Corridor

Nantes Nord URBiNAT Partners