Military Air Base was dissolved on June 2011 with the new military map of Ministry of Defense (Hervé Morin, July 2008). A plenary site committee (chaired by the Prefect of Marne) was set up in 2010 to accompany this dissolution towards a business airport project, a project abandoned due to a lack of economic viability, the voice of citizen collectives (Association Vacarmes-Reims), and local political drags before municipal elections. The project team led by the Departmental Direction of the Marne has identified reconversion tracks (2010-2011), such as the Eurostories theme park, the heritage city, etc.

The creation of the Mixed Syndicate of North of Reims in 2011 was an opportunity to bring together the municipal stakeholders concerned by the conversion of the site. The property located in Bétheny was the only part of lands ceded with a symbolic euro by the State at the Mixed Syndicate of North of Reims. A contract for the reinvigoration of defense sites was signed in 2013. The municipalities of Courcy and Brimont did not wish to join the Mixed Syndicate because the elected officials thought that the decisions taken by the urban community would not be adapted to their territory, and because of notary fees, rehabilitation (including networks) and depollution. The site was abandoned on June 30, 2012: 542 hectares that were occupied by 1,400 soldiers and a hundred of civilians.

Nowadays, TerraSolis association manages the experimental farm TerraLab: a research and development centre for sustainable agriculture implemented because of a new network between economic actors. The project is to test agricultural innovations in real conditions and to become a demonstrator in order to transfer these innovations to local farmers. Eventually, buildings will be renovated, networks rehabilitated and conditions improved to welcome researchers and start-ups. This site is now part of the Industrial Agro-Resources (IAR) cluster of the Marne for circular bio-economy. Production of organic-energy with a methanizer needs to position itself in front of fossil fuel-related lobbying, therefore a local and national political strategy.

Alliance Sens & Economy SCIC accompanies the development of micro-ecological town 112. Process is co-producing multifunctional urban project (companies, associations, housing): a sustainable urban project with landscape continuity (and greening), eco-conception, community of life, local currency, local consumption, local citizen governance, etc. Challenges arise in front of the formation of democratic subjectivities towards urban co-production, as well as experimental accessibility to the site

Geographical area

Military Air Base 112 is a former major French Air Force base opened in 1928 and dissolved on June 2011. The revitalization of this territory was politically (for the urban community of Grand Reims and municipalities involved) and economically (the disappearance of a pool of jobs) necessary.

Revitalization takes place through a project of micro-ecological town and an experimental farm. The sustainable turn is clear. These projects take into account the local landscape of the rural-urban continuum in Grand Reims, the notability of the agro-industry towards a circular bioeconomy (project defended by the Great East province in order to become European leader), and the historicity of the site as a military heritage.

First conflicts are about the kind of projects elected for the revitalization (an overall project such as a leisure park, a sportive project, or several projects such as agriculture, etc., but without a civil aviation project). Second conflicts are about the property of lands reassigned by the army to the urban community if there is a project leader, that leads to financial and political conflicts. Third conflicts are about the way to reshape the maladjusted territory, such as implementing primary networks that needs a cooperation between three municipalities. Moreover, questions arise about the way to manage the projects on a long-term, with more or less participative democracy.

The military base is located in North of Reims at the level of three municipalities: Bétheny, Courcy and Brimont. The project of micro-ecological town 112 extends on 90 ha (and 60,000 m² of buildings in Courcy that was the life zone of the BA 112); the experimental farm TerraLab extends on 420 ha (within sheds and 240 ha of agricultural lands); another part of the lands owns to the municipality of Brimont that wants to rent this part to TerraSolis; military radar will occupy a little part of this land.

Project Timeline