Le projet Places2b à Fitou

La FalaisePlaces2b est un projet de partenariat européen qui a débuté il y a un an et demi. Les principaux objectifs du projet sont de réunir les personnes intéressées par l’ouverture de canaux de communication avec les diverses parties prenantes de leur communauté en appliquant un processus participatif, et de créer un guide touristique local. Bien que le groupe initial était assez grand, une sélection naturelle des gens qui veulent et sont très enthousiaste à l’idée de travailler sur le projet a été rapidement établi, y compris ceux qui se sont d’abord assurés que cette initiative à but non lucratif a été à l’absence de danger pour leurs engagements et projets personnels. Avec seulement quelques participants de Fitou, quatre tables rondes ont été lancés avec succès et le guide touristique local est à quelques semaines d’être terminé.Contrairement à Fitou et sa région, les tables rondes tenues dans le cadre de ce projet de partenariat ont accueilli une grande réponse et surtout positive au nom des autorités locales dans toutes les autres régions européennes participantes. Leurs autorités locales et les municipalités ainsi que les citoyens individuels se sont montrés leur compréhension des besoins dont ce projet reconnaît et tente de répondre.

Au cours du projet, deux questions clés ont surgi:

  1. Pourquoi ce projet n’existe pas au sein de l’infrastructure d’une association loi de 1901?
  2. Pourquoi devrions-nous collaborer avec d’autres pays européens?

Pourquoi investissons-nous dans ce projet? Pourquoi est-ce que je participe à titre individuel à une initiative à but non lucratif qui pourrait améliorer l’environnement dans lequel je vis?

Nous sommes tous des citoyens, non seulement de la France, mais aussi d’Europe et nous avons une responsabilité de prendre soin de notre environnement, de notre chez-soi. En tant qu’un individu, il ne devrait pas être nécessaire de faire partie d’une organisation, une association ou un autre groupe existante pour être en mesure d’améliorer et de s’occuper de son environnement et de partager des expériences et connaissance.

Il n’est plus possible d’ignorer que nous font partie de l’Europe. Pourquoi l’Europe est si importante? Fitou ainsi que la région dans laquelle nous vivons est touristique. Il s’agit d’une région qui accueille des touristes de toute l’Europe. De croire que nous pouvons nous séparer des autres communautés européennes est naïf et auto-destructif. Partout en Europe – voire même le monde – des gens font partie de notre écosystème et il est donc essentiel de se réunir à travers des structures de manière durables, y compris le tourisme.

Il y a encore la possibilité pour les habitants de Fitou, les membres des municipalités et associations locales d’entrer en contact avec le groupe de projet et s’y joindre.

La dernière réunion de ce projet aura lieu au début du mois juin quand nous accueillons 14 participants de tous les partenaires européens, notamment les maires des villages italiens et gallois.

Tous ceux qui sont intéressés à contribuer à leur environnement et leur communauté sont cordialement invités à participer à cette réunion qui aura lieu du 8 au 9 juin 2012.

N’hésitez pas de contacter Christine Graf pour plus de détails.

Conception de programme pour la réunion de Places2b à Fitou, 7 – 10 juin 2012

7 juin 2012: Arrivée des participants (européens)

8 juin 2012

09:30 – 10:00 Bienvenue, le programme et les choses organisationnelles

10:00 – 11:30 L’introduction de Fitou et de la région présenté par le groupe de Fitou, y compris une promenade à travers Fitou

11:30 -12:30 Présentation des résultats du projet par les partenaires

12:30 -13:30 Déjeuner

14:00 – 17:00 Table ronde sur les

«Exemples d’actions collaborative de communauté – la motivation, les acteurs, le processus, les résultats”

Le but de cette table ronde est de comprendre comment les actions communautaires prennent effet, notamment en tant que catalyseur pour le développement local.

Dans un processus modéré nous allons entrer dans le détail des positions initiales et des motivations, du processus de développement et des résultats en comparant les différentes actions communautaires:

  • Le Maire de Mondavio, Italie, présente l’approche de budgétisation participative
  • Le Maire de Sant Angelo in Vado, Italie, présente une initiative de communauté pour développer le tourisme local
  • Le Maire de Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pays de Galles, présente le développement local d’un sentier de randonnée de classe internationale
  • Marcus Williams, représente la communauté de Pengwern, Pays de Galles, et présente le “Community Pub Project” (« projet d’un pub communautaire »)
  • Des représentants de Fitou peuvent présenter leurs activités pour développer un tourisme communautaire

19:30 Dîner 21:00

Concert avec « Gai Toms & Band » de Pays de Galles à La Chapelle de Fitou

9 juin 2012:

L’exploration d’un place2b (soit une promenade guidée autour de Fitou / l’Etang, ou un petit voyage sur le Petit Train Jaune ou Carcassonne, ou …).

10 juin 2012: Départ des participants (européens)

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Final meeting of the Places2b project

La FalaisePlaces2b is a European partnership project which began one and a half years ago. The project’s main goals are to bring together those people interested in opening communication channels with various stakeholders of their community, in a participatory process, and to create a local tourist guide.

Although the initial group was fairly big, a natural selection of people wanting and willing to work was soon established including those that first ensured that this non-profit making initiative was of no danger to their personal undertakings. With only a few participants from Fitou, 4 roundtables were successfully launched and the local tourist guide, is just weeks away from being finished. Contrary to Fitou and its region, the roundtables held in the context of this partnership project welcomed a large and positive response on behalf of the local authorities in all other participating European regions. Their local authorities and municipalities and individual citizens have manifested their understanding of the needs that this project recognizes and tries to fulfill.

During the course of the project in Fitou, two key questions have arisen :

  1. Why does this project not exist within the infrastructure of an Association-loi 1901?
  2. Why should we collaborate with other European countries?

Why do we invest in this project? Why do I take part as an individual in a non-profit making initiative that could improve the environment in which I live?

We are all citizens, not only of France, but also of Europe and we have a responsibility to take care of our environment, of our home. As an individual, it should not be necessary to be a part of an organization, association or some other sort of established group to be able to improve, share and care.

It is no longer possible to ignore that we are a part of Europe. Why is Europe so important?

Fitou and the region in which we live is touristic. It is a region that welcomes tourists from all over Europe. It is naive and self-destructive to believe that we can separate ourselves from other European communities. People from all over Europe – if not the world – are a part of our ecosystem and it is therefore vital to join through sustainable structures, including tourism.

It is still possible for the inhabitants of Fitou, members of the local municipalities and associations, to get in contact with the project group. The final meeting of this project will take place at the beginning of June when we welcome 14 participants from all European partners, including mayors of Italian and Welsh villages.

All those interested in contributing to their environment and community are welcome to attend this meeting that will take place from 8 to 9 June 2012.

Do not hesitate to contact Christine Graf for further details.

Draft program for the places2b meeting in Fitou, 7-10 June 2012

7th June:  arrival of participants

8th June:

09:30 – 10:00 Welcoming participants, program & organisational things

10:00 – 11:30 introducing Fitou and region by presentations from the Fitou group, including a walk through Fitou)

11:30 -12:30 presenting the project results by partners

12:30 -13:30 Lunch

14:00 – 17:00 Roundtable

“Examples of collaborative community actions – motivation, actors, process, results”

The aim of this roundtable is to understand community actions as a catalysator for local development. In a moderated process we will elaborate initial positions & motivations, the development process and results by comparing different community based actions:

19:30 Dinner

21:00 Concert with Gai Toms & band from Wales in La Chapelle de Fitou

9th June:

Exploring a place2b (either a guided walk around Fitou/ Etang, or a journey with the petit train jaune or Carcassonne, or…).

10th June: departure of participants

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The first year of the places2b project

La FalaiseAs the first year of the places2b project ends in few weeks, it’s time to summarize a bit what we have done and achieved so far.

We at cocoate.com aimed to start building a network of local actors and association as the basis for a common development of our village. The first talks with the biggest association in Fitou, VHV, were promising but when it came to binding actions, they quit. So we started from the scratch, distributed project information in the village, made some public presentations and we got an amazing group of people who are enjoying to explore and share and start such a community process in our village.A bit later on, we convinced our municipality to support this project, and yes, we hope they will do it more actively in the second year 😉
Coming from this point, I think it’s really great what we achieved so far!
We already had three roundtables with the participation of our local authorities, the regional newspaper writes regularly about the project, five Fitounaise took the chance to attend project meetings abroad, we re-discovered very beautiful places2b and still have a long list of places to describe.

And now we are going to prepare a big village event for the end of this year to bring together all the inhabitants of Fitou for a public discussion about tourism and European connections.

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It's your decision - https://www.flickr.com/photos/31034054@N04/3946702460/

Different Ways of Communication

Today, we had another meeting with some members of the places2b group, not to discover a place2b, but for getting a deeper insight into Facebook. Half of the group already use Facebook, the other half even had heard about it.

With the help of the summary Hagen prepared, we discovered fast the main points and some people learned something new.

But, very soon we were in a hot discussion about sense and nonsense of using something like Facebook and later on, what the hell the Internet enables.

Here are the main points listed:

  • You can connect and access everything, there is no secret in the world,
  • there is no privacy, you don’t know who has and use your data
  • social relations are more and more reduced to Facebook friends-collections
  • people send emails and messages instead talking to each other.
  • There should not be everything in the web, not even the “secret” places we will discover. What will happen, when all the tourists visit these places? We should keep them secret!

I am not that good in using the French language, and that’s why, I was not able to argue with precise words at the moment. Therefore some written words in English first.

Well, all is true, and it might be bad somehow. But, there are also some good points in the way communication has been changed.

The “good, old times”, when you were only the reader and not the creator of the news, when you could not buy or sell goods around the world, when it was difficult to stay in continuous contact with friends and family far away from your place, are over! Even the protection of your privacy was dubious. You always created a trail when living in a place, signing contracts, making phone calls, take money from your bank account. Could you always control who was doing what with your data?

I realized, in different situations, that the same people who are claiming for more transparency in politics are often trying to hide their knowledge. But, they also use the great possibilities of the web, if it’s suitable for them.

And there is nothing you can say against it, that is the web today: to communicate fast, spread information, create news, share knowledge, make business.

Imagine, you want to raise awareness of sustainable development, you want to protect nature, create a new business, you need to tell the world about it. Ok, you can go to your neighbours and discuss that issue, write a petition and call some friends and a journalist, have meetings, etc.

The journalist will probably write an article which will be published in the newspaper AND on the newspapers website, tweet about, post it to Facebook. Your concern will profit because there are for sure a lot more readers on the web than subscriptions of the paper. You will get a wider publicity using different communication channels and meet probably your goal (well that depends not only on the use of communications channels).

In that way not you chose the channels but others. You could have more fun, make new friends, inspiration, empower and motivate more people, if you actively use these media.

Love it or not, you can’t ignore the change of communication.

As Lisa Reichelt said ” …communication has become so convenient that it’s actually become ambient around us. It surrounds us wherever we want it, not necessarily when it wants us. We dip into it whenever we like.”

citoyenneté actif

Deuxieme reunion places2b

Hier, nous avons eu notre deuxième réunion locale pour travailler sur le projet places2b project.

Juste pour vous rappeler, ce projet vise à engager un processus participatif entre les acteurs locaux, les décideurs et les habitants locaux sur le développement durable des structures touristiques et à créer un groupe local qui établit un guide touristique local/régional.

La création du guide touristique local est probablement plus facile à réaliser et implique plus de plaisir.

L’autre tâche, le processus participatif, est plus chargé d’émotion et, par conséquent, un peu plus compliqué. C’est la première fois pour moi que j’effectue un projet complet en France et, en même temps, que je suis la coordinatrice responsable du projet entier. Je l’ai fait à l’époque en Allemagne de nombreuses fois, mais ce projet ici est différent en raison de certaines différences culturelles.

Hier, par exemple, un participant s’est demandé, que le groupe doit avoir un statut juridique avant de travailler sur les tâches du projet. Sinon, personne, dans notre cas, aucune municipalité, ne va écouter ce que nous discuterons et suggérerons. En d’autres termes, quand moi, en tant que citoyen «normal», discute certaines questions sur l’intérêt public, mes suggestions ne seront pas acceptées par les autorités judiciaires!

La personne mentionnée, il s’agit d’une chose en français. Mais, est-ce que c’est vrai? Cela implique, que je ne peux pas penser, dire et discuter des questions d’intérêt public, même pas pour le village où je vis? Je ne le crois pas! Chaque citoyen a le droit et devoir être une partie active d’une société démocratique et ne cesse de penser après avoir donné son vote aux élections.

Cette discussion a été un peu étrange pour moi, surtout après l’expérience d’une discussion ouverte d’esprit à l’atelier sur le tourisme la semaine dernière au Pays de Galles, où je faisais partie. Mais de toute façon, j’ai aussi réalisé, qu’il existe un grand souhait de la participation et la contribution de la part des habitants locales ainsi qu’un énorme soutient pour le projet. Et soutenir ce genre de la citoyenneté est l’un des grands objectifs des programmes européens d’apprentissage.

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Active citizenship

Deuxieme reunion places2b

Yesterday, we had our second local meeting for working on the places2b project.

Just to remind you, this project aims to start a participatory process between local stakeholders, decision makers and local people about the development of sustainable touristic structures and, a group of local people creates a local/regional touristic guide, online and a paper version.

The creation of the local tourist guide is probably easier to realize and implies more fun.

The other task, the participatory process, is more emotionally charged and therefore, a bit more complicate.

It’s the first time for me running a complete project in France and at the same time being the responsible coordinator of the project. I did it in Germany many times, but this project here is different because of some cultural differences.

Yesterday, such as, one participant questioned, that the group has to have a legal status before we work on project tasks. If not, nobody, in our case, no municipality, will listen to what we discuss and suggest. In other words, when I, as a “normal” citizen, discuss some issues on public interest, it will be not accepted by legal authorities!

The person mentioned, this is a French thing. But, is this true? That implies, that I am not allowed to think, discuss and contribute to issues of public interest, even not for the village I live in? I won’t believe that! Each citizen has the right and also, the duty, to be an active part of a democratic society and do not stop thinking after giving the vote in elections.

This discussion was a bit strange for me, especially after the experience of open-minded discussion I was a part of during the tourism workshop last week in Wales. But anyway, I also realized, that there is a big wish of participation and contribution on the part of local people and that sustains the project. And supporting active citizenship is one of the big aims of Europe.

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The future of tourism

Last week, I attended a workshop about The Future of Tourism: Tomorrow’s Tourist Today, held in Llandudno Junction, Wales.

It was a great opportunity to “spy” how the Welsh are approaching the topic and the inherent challenges as we are already started a project about the development of sustainable tourism in our region. About 45 representatives from local associations, municipalities and entrepreneurs discussed and developed in a very constructive way ideas for the development of tourism in Wales. There was enough room for brainstorming, free spinning of ideas, drawing wishes but also for the serious drafting of those ideas which a majority wishes to make real.

What impressed me was the self-conception of the players that only their unite actions leads to success. No envy-discussions, no hiding behind administrative or other barriers, just open minds.

I felt very inspired and on top, I got the tourism poker game, a tool, which I would love to use to moderate the round table discussions in our project here in Fitou.

Challenging work

We already started the work at the places2b project, locally and inside the partnership and I have to state that this work is really challenging for different reasons. We aim to bring together local authorities and local people to discuss the development of tourism and to create a regional tourist guide, containing unique places of the region. Sounds good, nearly everyone likes this idea, even the local authorities. So they’re saying. But when it comes to step up, they have many reasons not to show up. I know, that this is a long haul and we have to be really optimistic.

The partnership itself seems to have some difficulties, resulting from the different understandings of the general project framework and for political reasons. Strong hierarchical structures in a partner’s institution does not admit any creative action and it seems to be not thinkable for them to work with ordinary local people. And then there is an underlying cultural conflict, to follow group decisions when the group consists of women only. A hidden power struggle is ongoing, that is just tedious and absurd. O.k., it seems to be an intercultural conflict and everybody needs to be willing to compromise to find a common place. Right, it’s a good word, the reality is sometimes different.

But I still love the idea of this project and I am dying to start the work with the local people.

Tourism in Languedoc Roussillon

Today, while preparing the places2b meeting for next week, we did a little research about the situation in Languedoc-Roussillon.

It seems, we hit the mark with our project aims because we want to initialize a discussion with local people and local stakeholders about the development of sustainable structures for tourism in our region. There is a regional development program which listed important points such as raising the expenditures for tourism (today only 2 % of the region’s overall budget is spent for tourism), the improvement and modernization of accommodations and restaurants, make the region to an all-season-holiday target and invest in education. All by including local companies, decision makers, inhabitants.

Sounds good and it’s a long-term development.

We start smaller 😉

We try to get local people, stakeholders, decision makers involved in a participatory process by establishing round tables where we discuss local issues on tourism. A few weeks ago, we invited the mayor and local decision makers to welcome the project group and discuss the issues of the project. Until today, we have not gotten any reliable answer from our local government.

Maybe we will be more successful by involving a group of local people in writing an online travel guide for the region. We have our first presentation this week.

places2be

Due to fast globalization and the possibility to get to every place in the world in less time, people want to have authentic and individualized experiences while spending their spare time. The preservation and promotion of their landscape and culture for developing sustainable touristic structures will be important for European regions and its embedded local areas. That can also be a chance for supporting the diversification of regional economies.

European institutions from France, Italy, Wales, Turkey and Greece are partners in that two years project. They all have in common that they are situated in rural regions with growing tourism.

cocoate.com from France coordinates all activities.

The project has two main objectives:

  1. It will be a start of a participatory process between local stakeholders, decision makers and local people about the development of sustainable touristic structures.
    We want to share experiences, find similarities and develop new approaches by establishing regular discussion roundtables in each partners region.
    Thus, the project offers the possibility to take part at meetings in each partner’s country.
  2. We are going to write a local/regional touristic guide.
    We will pick out locations of character, those with personal connections and let people tell why they are special, unique and important for them and address why people should visit these places. We will consider the fact, that most of those places are threatened.
    Preserving such places for future generations can stimulate and enrich people to preserve their local identity and develop new business approaches.
    An active participation of the mayor, local representatives and local people are very welcome!

Needless to say, that we are coordinating this project also using Open Atrium 😉

All in all, I am so enthusiastic and happy to do that projects for the next two years.

Let’s see, how it works!