Post-Covid: 4 forward-looking scenarios to understand the world after

What sustainable transformations will the pandemic inspire European cities and their infrastructures? Leonard and the representatives of some 20 institutions, companies and research organisations examined the factors of change imposed by the health crisis. Discover the 4 scenarios resulting from this exploration.

During 4 workshops organised in June 2020, Leonard brought together 26 representatives of institutions, companies, think tanks, research and reflection centres and teams from VINCI companies to examine the factors of change imposed by the health crisis, their breakdown into trends and their assessment according to their impact or uncertainty. They extracted 350 factors, seven major trends and four prospective scenarios up to 2030.

On 22 and 23 June 2020, the participants in the workshops led by Elisabeth Grosdhomme, Managing Director of Paradigmes et cætera and the Leonard team exchanged their views on:

  • The factors of change imposed by the crisis ;
  • Their declination in trends and their evaluation according to their impact and uncertainty;
  • The scenarios that are taking shape;
  • The first warning signs from a multi-sector perspective.

Read the report:

The report outlines 4 scenarios :

Scenario 1: Working together for local economic recovery

Driven by the relaxation of labour law, telework has become the norm. Employees are now seeking to improve their working conditions at home. They no longer hesitate to move to medium-sized towns, where property prices allow them to buy an extra room and sometimes a corner of garden. The “urban exodus” revitalises small towns and creates a positive dynamic for local economies. In return, territories must take up new cross-cutting challenges: inter-municipal mobility, development of services and new distribution channels… A dynamic of collaboration between public and private actors is taking place, giving a growing place to local authorities; this place is strengthened by financial support from the State.

Scenario 2: Urban exodus in a context of economic stagnation

The crisis has been very hard and the recovery has not really taken place. Unemployment has risen, as business bankruptcies. The search for economic opportunities or means of subsistence, particularly in the agricultural or forestry sectors, is one of the drivers of a large urban exodus. Teleworking has become the norm, but is increasing inequalities. While senior managers enjoy the freedom to spend more time in their second homes, other categories of urban dwellers suffer from increasing uncertainty. Growing inequalities feed an explosive social context. Population flows, revitalising neglected territories, are therefore becoming a political issue for local authorities. Public investment in the ecological transition, coupled with the establishment of a grey economy, is fuelling a dynamic of energy, food and ecological sobriety.

Scenario 3: Faced with territorial ruptures, the citizen’s start

The economic crisis created by lockdown could not be prevented by public aid measures. Successive recovery plans have failed to create the conditions for dynamic and sustainable growth. Business bankruptcies are on the rise, social plans are on the increase, unemployment is soaring and living standards are falling. The economic slump is barely halted by massive public investment. On the other hand, these plans favour the emergence of territories that manage to pull through and become economic, demographic and political poles. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, new social movements – described as “citizen jumps” – are being organised: more supportive and with a strong local presence, they are helping to recreate social links in the largest cities. Quite quickly, these social movements were transformed into political movements. They advocate greater citizen involvement in democracy and the local management of technological, economic and regulatory issues.

Scenario 4: The metropolitan runaway

Stimulus plans on different scales allow for rapid economic recovery. Growth is picking up again, and unemployment is finally decreasing. Lockdown is a bad memory, like its repercussions. Telework has not established itself as the new norm in most companies. Large public investments are partly concentrated in new technologies, the deployment of a European 5G network is encouraged. At the same time, major industrial projects are opening up to speed up autonomous driving, hydrogen mobility, the circular economy and non-carbon energies. These plans have a strong green component and also facilitate certain strategic relocations. Competitive, with a highly trained population, first-rate research centres and major infrastructures, the metropolises serve as a transmission belt for successive recovery plans.

What do we do?

The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.