Explicit and strong political commitment is named as one of the major success factors of the re-design of the former industrial area of “Luciline” into an ecodistrict. The political commitment was essential for the development and achievements of a project of this magnitude. The commitment of the city was not only strong in political terms, but also financially: they supported the project with about 28 million euros, which forms a substantial part of the total budget and thus helped the project in its success.
The initiators (the city of Rouen and “Metropole Rouen Normandie”) of the project managed to obtain several different subsidies (e.g. INTERREG, Ville de Demain), which helped in achieving goals. Compared to the total budget spent, these subsidies are not the largest part of the budget, but they have been supportive for specific activities (further explained in the section “Costs and Benefits”). The EU funded project Future Cities (INTERREG) further contributed to Rouen achievement, promoting an exchange of relevant experience with other cities, particularly Nijmegen (on planted roofs) and Arnhem (on urban heat island modelling).
The project planning and organisation followed the Environmental Approach to Urban Planning methodology (Approche Environnementale de l'Urbanisme, AEU) of the advising company ADEME. This approach started with an exploration of the areas and the identification of strengths, weaknesses, risks and priorities with respect to climate change. This phase was followed by the development of a general master plan and four focus areas: (i) contractual provisions for property concession, (ii) construction of a geothermal heat network, (iii) improvement of certain sections such as water management, climate change and urban heat effect, and (iv) raising public awareness.
The involvement and consultation of many different stakeholders has contributed to the project’s success, although it was also a major challenge to organise a project with so many parties involved. The coordination of different parties and discussions about their capacities and limitations has improved the working process. The users have been involved in the development process in order to create public awareness and commitment.
Finally, the project is supported by a monitoring and evaluation programme, in order to enable adaptive, flexible management, which is a key factor in effective adaptation strategies. This is most relevant for the urban heating system, because the optimal functioning of the system can only be investigated during its operation.
One of the limiting factors in the project was time management, due to the fact that before the start of the project there were still a few companies and private land owners in the area to be re-planned and re-designed. It cost more time than initially planned to organise the agreements with these land owners.