Located in the Alps, east of the Rhone valley corridor, Greater Grenoble is called the ‘Alps capital’ due to its size. The city has a population of approximately 158,000 and is situated at the junction of three glaciated valleys shaped by the Rivers Isère, Drac and Romanche and surrounded by three alpine massifs - Chartreuse, Belledonne and Vercors.
With a terrain that limits urban sprawl, Grenoble is now the third densest city in France (outside the Ile-de-France region) with 8,861 inhabitants per km². This constraint has become an asset: fully urbanised, the city has no choice but to rely on urban regeneration and rehabilitation, efficient public transport and quality public spaces to renew itself. This is highlighted by the urban regeneration programmes, and the transformation of brownfields into eco-neighbourhoods. The city is an important research, technology, and innovation centre with a high proportion of research and development (R&D) jobs and has a mix of traditional and high-tech industries including renewable energy.
Due to its topography Grenoble has had to make the most of the limited green space within the city, and is dedicated to improving the city's living environment through the use of green areas, implementation of an ambitious urban planning protocol, and through the enhancement of urban gardening. The municipality encourages the opening of private gardens and vertical greening, has an ambitious tree planting programme, and makes unused areas available to residents to create small gardens. The city has been unsealing, regenerating and actively building new parks for the last 15 years. Grenoble’s eco-neighbourhoods have won national awards, and the Flaubert eco-neighbourhood is a great example for other cities, and a model in the development of cities of tomorrow.
The city is very aware of climate impacts and has set clear ambitions and targets to become more sustainable, and already has achieved a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2005 and 2016, and demonstrated that reductions in transport is decoupling from population growth. Grenoble is working towards a 50% reduction by 2030 and shows leadership as many of its regulations are stricter than those set at a national level.
Grenoble is strongly committed to improved energy performance and was the first local authority in France to adopt a Climate Plan in 2005. The city also created a Commitment Charter engaging local players and an Observatory to assess the actions and monitor energy use, the production of renewable energy and GHG emissions. Looking forward, Grenoble has set ambitious and realistic goals through the Metropolitan Local Climate Air and Energy Plan 2019 which aims to reduce energy use by 40% by 2030 and 50% by 2050.
Citizen Diaries - Grenoble
Jacques Félix-Faure, architect for Atelier17C in Barraux (France) has engaged with a tremendous request to build an eight-floor social housing entirely in wood.
Isabelle Robles, agricultural engineer and founder of “MillePousses”, (“One thousand micro sprouts”) has realised her dream: she has built an urban farm with the aim to create social integration jobs and enhance circular economy in Grenoble.
Bernard Mehl, zero food waste ambassador and college canteen responsible, watches over and promotes the “En Isère, stop au gaspillage alimentaire!” plan that fights against food waste in college schools.
Gloria Leroy, female entrepreneur, vélotaxi (bicycle taxi) driver and soft mobility promoter had the glorious idea to propose a vélotaxi service (bicycle taxi) in Grenoble (European Green Capital 2022).
Pascal Aspe, a biologist holding a PhD in forest trees genetics, has been training people for years to garden at Terre Vivante.
Loïc Bouffad considers that a trained cyclist is a sustainable cyclist who will not give up on riding his bike at the first technical issue.