- Saint Etienne Urban Development Corporation- Etablissement Public d’Aménagement de Saint Etienne: EPASE
The Municipality of Saint Etienne is the heart of a 400,000 inhabitants metropolis located in France. It is strongly affected since the 70's by a process of demographic and economic decline which is mainly due to a dynamic of huge deindustrialization and also suburbanization. Unlike cities which have to deal with rapid demographic growth and their consequences with respect to providing affordable housing and basic services to their population, the Municipality of Saint Etienne has to face high vacancy rates in both its housing and retail spaces. Throughout the years, the city has implemented several innovative strategies in order to stem this decline. One of them is its positioning as a 'Design city', which contributes to raising the quality and performance of the city's economy. Saint-Etienne is the only French city to be a member of the 'UNESCO cities of design' network. The Saint Etienne Urban Development Corporation (EPASE), a public urban development agency, was created in 2007 in order to help local authorities restore the demographic and economic balance of the city. The mission of this partnership between the French state and the local government is to revitalize the city and to re-concentrate working and living in the city center. It therefore remodels several districts of the city in order to « upgrade » former less-gifted and unattractive areas into sustainable, resilient, and attractive places to live and to work.
The aim of the event, organized by EPASE with the collaboration of the French National Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), is to provide an overview of the strategies that have been implemented in order to tackle the challenge of urban shrinkage. It is also to share Saint-Etienne's experience in the context of an international dialogue, especially with Latin America, and to identify how the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals can be used as guidelines for the implementation of a sustainable redevelopment strategy.'