The French town of Passy celebrated the title of “Alpine Town of the Year 2022” on 14 October 2022. Delegations from other towns belonging to the association of the same name as well as numerous citizens from Passy were invited to the festive evening. Mayor Raphaël Castéra presented the already implemented and planned initiatives for sustainable urban development.
A community kitchen, air quality, energy efficiency and the management of sensitive natural areas: these are the four priorities on which the Alpine town of Passy is focusing. These were defined in a broad participation process, in which the population was able to contribute ideas and opinions in various sessions and meetings throughout the year 2021.
An important milestone in 2022 was the opening of the communal Frioland kitchen, which prepares around 900 meals a day for students and senior citizens using high-quality food from local producers. The children can participate in a committee and have a say in the decision-making process.
In the area of air quality, the municipality launched the digital platform “Air Attitude”, on which particulate matter and CO2 measurements are collected and the population enters their individual measures to improve air quality. The energy consumption of public buildings is also published and there is an open discussion about optimising energy performance.
The town is also active in the field of tourism: the Inventive Mountain Tourism Department of the University of Savoie Mont Blanc has been commissioned to develop a responsible and creative tourism concept based on respect for nature and soft mobility. Passy also offers events for the exchange of ideas, such as the Mountain Book Fair, where there is cooperation with the Alpine towns of Brig-Glis/CH and Trento/IT, as well as workshops and conferences.
Cultural festive evening
The city also proved its openness to new and innovative things at the festive event in the festival hall, where around 250 people were present. In addition to the presentation of the city’s projects and activities, various artists from the region were allowed to use the stage for works they had developed themselves – video projects on the measures implemented, a performance artist, young up-and-coming musicians, a local orchestra as well as contemporary dance. Afterwards, the newly installed communal kitchen served culinary specialities from all Alpine countries.
Activities in the association
“We are very pleased, to be a member of the Alpine Town of the Year Association and to exchange ideas with other towns facing similar challenges,” says Mayor Raphaël Castéra. He was elected to the board at the association’s general meeting, which took place the same day in Passy. The representatives of the Alpine towns also exchanged ideas in a workshop in the afternoon and presented their good examples of implementing the Alpine Convention – such as the cycling town of Sonthofen/D, which is successfully implementing soft mobility activities, or the town of Brig-Glis/CH, which is upgrading and cooling heat islands with low-threshold measures. Six students from Biella/I also looked across the Alps to New Zealand and showed that nature can be a legal subject with its own rights.
The days in Passy were marked by fruitful exchange, valuable input on good examples and celebrating the new member in the Alpine Town family.