ISOPOLIS: Societal experimentation aimed at making Réunion island the city of open societal innovation

The project falls within the context of civil society’s demand to see Reunionese decision-makers commit to a credible alternative to the current territorial model. Indeed, the yellow vests crisis that erupted in October 2018 highlighted the need for the territory to deploy a clear strategy aimed at establishing a viable societal model, the current economic model of Reunion being almost 90% based on public funding that is no longer guaranteed.

ISOPOLIS thus aims more broadly to make Reunion a living global demonstrator of an agile and resilient society capable of combining environmental preservation, social equity and a prosperous economy.


The objective is to support the transformation of the Reunionese societal model towards a viable model, based on the individual resilience of Reunionese and territorial and collective resilience.

It is broken down into 3 specific objectives:

  • Strengthen Reunion’s territorial resilience capacities in order to develop its ability to integrate the environmental, social and economic constraints that threaten its development in order to establish a viable model over time.
  • Strengthen the individual resilience capacities of people of la Réunion to develop their ability to make a significant contribution to the development of their territory while cultivating a quality of being and of life. This will be achieved through the deployment of targeted experiments designed to strengthen the individual development, well-being and well-being of all ages and backgrounds by supporting their quest for meaning and contribution.
  • Mobilize the population of Reunion around societal issues in order to consolidate cohesion and robust unity, through the culture of knowledge and the recognition of its culture.

In order to achieve these objectives, three approaches have been chosen: the evaluation of the impacts of public policies by scientists, governance and cooperation by sociocracy, or governance by consent and the use of an alternative territorial index to the Product Gross National (GNP): Gross National Happiness (GNP).

In this project, IRD researchers are adopting an original position: that of supporting civil society by evaluating and measuring the impact of its interventions or experiments. This project is thus rooted in interdisciplinarity and citizen science.

The Beta phase has three objectives:

  • Evaluation of the mobilization and co-construction approach of the ALPHA project to identify areas for improvement in order to take them into account in the ISOPOLIS project
  • Territorial mobilization: engage local stakeholders in the ISOPOLIS project, identify and mobilize researchers likely to support the project and publicize the project among citizens, civil society in particular, via the RISOM network and gather the opinions of Reunionese.
  • Preliminary methodological structuring: continue the structuring work identified in ALPHA