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The initial situation – our remote places and their treasures

Dorlay Valley

In the heart of the Pilat Regional Natural Park, the Dorlay valley has developed a know-how around the textile industry since the 18th century. These traditional skills are associated with a rich heritage of industrial buildings and infrastructure linked to the use of the river’s water as a source of energy — water milling. During the last century, the villages of the Dorlay valley have undergone major changes: the textile factories have closed, and the villages have become mainly residential, with most of the inhabitants working in towns more than 30km away. Today, there are people, the associations of inhabitants in these villages who want to revitalise the Dorlay valley and to revalorise the historical know-how of the valley.


Nearby, Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is famous for its Carthusian monastery, which has become the centre of the village. The inhabitants wish to safeguard and enhance the historical buildings and the intangible heritage, but also the more recent history of the current inhabitants of the village, not only for tourism but also to allow for intergenerational transmission.

The insight into the rural social fabric

Since 2022, several participatory workshops, based on the SMOTIES Toolkit model, were organised by the Cité du design to exchange with the local associations and inhabitants. These workshops were an opportunity to consult people about the assets and challenges of the territory, to vote for the desired scenarios and talk about ideas for future projects.

What emerged from the Dorlay valley was the existence of a wealth of natural and heritage resources, but also challenges to be met, in particular the problem of mobility due to the absence of public transport. The increased use of private cars has led to the transformation of public spaces into car parks. The inhabitants are trying to develop solutions to reduce car use, but these actions are not very visible and remain marginal.

In Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez, during the participatory workshops with the inhabitants it turned out that SMOTIES could contribute to creating a means of transmission between the generations, a means of exchange and sharing of memory, to enable the inhabitants to link their family histories to the collective history of the commune.

Topics, locations and first prototypes

Using the different tools developed by SMOTIES partners, we decided to focus on the following “Windows on the Future“: Project Communities, Co-created ecologies and Distributed Education for the Dorlay Valley, and Beyond Tourism and Proud to be Silver for Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez.

In the Dorlay Valley, ideas for promoting green mobility will be developed around the valley’s industrial heritage. On the one hand, professional designers are working closely with local actors to design usage scenarios and experiment with prototypes on site. On the other hand, a workshop of ESADSE students in the Dorlay valley should lead to artistic proposals for intervention on the territory, questioning the historical heritage, the topography, the contemporary textile know-how, etc.

A public restitution of the project valorising green mobility solutions will be organised during the TRESSE alors! festival in Dorlay valley on 2 and 3 June 2023. Other events will allow the SMOTIES project to be tested and highlighted at the end of June and during the European Heritage Days on 16 and 17 September 2023.

In Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez, the inhabitants voted for the creation of an intergenerational card game to encourage exchanges and the transmission of memories between generations. The “Cartusiens game” can be played in a private and public setting, by organising game sessions throughout the village. The aim is to create a new calendar of events, mainly for the inhabitants themselves.

The first opportunity to test the game in public will be in September during the European Heritage Days.

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Contact person: Inge Eller