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Sustainable Cities and Buildings

Programme Type
Funding programme
National (France)
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Infrastructure (INF)


Background & Policy context

The VBD programme (Villes et Bâtiments Durables) aims at exploring the changing attitude of cities and to transform what is perceived as an environmental burden into an asset, while ensuring the economic viability and social cohesion.

VDB is focused on the sustainability of settings and places of everyday life, from the building scale to large urban areas. It concerns structural changes like urban concentration, metropolitan growth, depletion of oil and mineral resources, environmental impacts of urban activities and buildings including greenhouse gases. It also aims at taking into account substantial uncertainties linked in particular to the impacts of climate change, aging society and funding capacity of local authorities.

The programme was defined within the framework of the ANR Strategy on Sustainable Energy adopted for the programming period 2011-2013.

This strategy was structured around three vertical programmes (BioME on fossil fuels, SEED on decarbonised energy systems and PROGELEC on renewable electricity) and two horizonal programmes: Sustainable Transport (TDM) and VDB. The latter two programmes aimed in particular at favouring integration between human and social sciences and engineering.

Strategic Objectives

The programme’s technical objectives were:

  • to strengthen research dynamics (including multidimensional and systemic approaches) initiated by the previous Sustainable Cities Programme
  • to strengthen scientific communities by structuring projects on energy efficiency of buildings
  • to attract researchers who have developed skills in other scientific areas
  • to allow the emergence of innovative projects at the interfaces: i.e. at spatial level, among scientific disciplines and crossing sustainable development goals
  • to develop solutions and approaches (integrating technologies, methodologies and/or services) to meet the challenges of sustainable buildings and cities
  • to establish public research institutes partnerships with companies of the involved sectors (construction, networks, urban services, etc.) and strengthen R&D in these companies.
Programme organisation

The VBD program was organized into four themes:

  1. Urban dynamics and organization, best practices and mobility
  2. Energy and environmentally friendly buildings, constructions and islands
  3. Urban environment, ecosystems, metabolism, and resource deposits
  4. Multi-scale and cross-governance approaches


Institution Type
Institution Name
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Pascal Bain
Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR)

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