Research topic 1 : Daily practices and territorial construction
The first topic is built around three types of questions.
- Consideration of life styles : the fundamental role of housing in the spatial integration of individuals and in the construction of their territorial markers seems to be reinforced by the increase in mobility, especially professional mobility. Questions related to behaviour, the structure and ways social groups function, and those related to changes in the effects of life cycles with modifications in professional calendars have been integrated into our considerations. Psychological and anthropological dimensions, inter-generational differences in lifestyles are also being re-questioned, in relation to the evolution of family structures.
- Territorial reconstruction of the urban fringes : in co-ordination with research carried out in axis 1 around the theme of metropolitisation, methods of urban spread, landuse problems at agglomeration margins, originality in territorial construction in the periphery of large agglomerations and questions related to their governance, are being studied in particular.
- The development of “beautiful” landscapes and the demand for “natural” areas, expressed more and more clearly by city-dwellers in the context of growing metropolisation, are the subject of several research projects to help with consideration about inhabitants’ practices and representations, and about competition for space and territorial reconstruction within or close to large urban areas.
Research topic 2 : Planning skills : images, ideas and comparative approaches
The second topic questions images and ideas in planning processes more specifically.
- Consideration of the visual role in building disciplinary knowledge as well actors’ practices, notably planning, has generated several lines of research in the laboratory.
- Another perspective, which consists of questioning the actors’ planning practices from a unified point of view, is at the heart of operations which in this case are related more specifically to ideas, or to operations which open up comparative prospects.
Co-ordination with the other two research axes
The issues in axis 2 “Daily Territorial Reconstruction : representations, practices and projects” interact with those in the other two axes at several levels. Indeed, territorial reconstruction results from reasoning whose understanding requires other the scales of interpretation widely represented in axis 1. Regarding this, we must emphasise the common interest due to circulation of knowledge as well as exchanges of action models, or the examination of projects and strategies of different actors or groups of actors in competition with each other in the same area.
The issues treated by several research projects in axis 2 concern representations and practices related to “nature” where urban vulnerabilities are confronted with environmental issues and although based on different areas and objects, they echo the more specific questions covered in axis 3. Similarly, a review of town-country relationships, notably during the evolution of life styles and daily movements, brings to mind debates carried out within axis 1 on the new types of land fragmentation related to processes of metropolisation and the redistribution of production or reproduction functions. Some of the research carried out within axis 2 is thus linked to cross-cutting operations which make up the Rural and Urban Observatory, in the context of studying the validity of categorisation and essential transformation, as a result of comparing fields of study with inhabitants’ representations.