Presentation of project

The objective is to set up an international network that will bring together research institutions and researchers working on "scattered urbanisation". This expression encompasses relatively dense and discontinuous urbanisation processes acorss extended territories where coexisting heterogeneous urban,  rural and industrial forms give rise to hybrid socio-spatial configurations. These massive urbanistaion processes break down into a variety of forms and have comme to be known by different names, including città diffusa in Italy, périurbain in France, edge cities and post-suburbanization in North America, and desakota in South-east Asia and China.

While there is no shortage of case studies in scientific research, the bulk of these use the conceptual and theoritical frameworks that have developed for the geographical area in which they are located. Indeed, approaches are often extremely segmented between research into land use patterns (and then into its different variants, i.e., residential, industrial and commercial land use, etc...) and practices, lifestyles, urban forms and governance of these spaces. However, the network seeks to forge multi-disciplinary and international comparaisons (which are still relatively rare, with the notable exception of comparisons between Europe and North America) which analyse the manner in which specific geo-cultural contexts "territorialise" these urbanisation processes and pave the way for new methods of understanding them. In doing so, we place our investigations firmly in the field of comparative and relational urbanism which aims to decompartmentalise scientific knowledge between Northern and Southern cities and produce "de-westernized" urban theories. We plan to challenge conceptual and theoritical frameworks that deal with "scattered urbanisation" and to at least try to deconstruct them in light of our comparisons.

 

 

Project objectives

The objective is to set up an international network that will bring together research institutions and researchers working on "scattered urbanisation".

This expression encompasses relatively dense and discontinuous urbanisation processes across extended territories where coexisting heterogeneous urban, rural and industrial forms give rise to hybrid socio-spatial configurations These massive urbanisation processes break down into a variety of forms and have come to be know by different names, includint città diffusa in Italy, périurbain in France, edge cities and post-suburbanization in North America, and desakota in South-East Asia and China. These processes profoundly challenge what urban actually means today in terms of its forms (i.e. its density, dispersion, or urban/rural interface), centrality relationships, the lifstyles of people who live there (mobility, consumption or leisure practices), governance of these apparently un planned spaces, or in terms of how these urban mega-regions are structured. Does scattered urbanization make cities ?  and if it does, for whom and in what analytical perspective may we talk of "edge cities" ? These general considerations shape the research crried out by the network members.

The two research focuses

In the long term, we wish to adopt a heuristic method that can handle any questions that may arise during the research process, but in the short term (especially the first two years of the network's existence) we plan to focus our investigations around two main issues in order to federate and structure our research team.

The first focus will forge a comparative reflection around different conceptual and theoritical frameworks that lave been developed to assess the territorial extension of scattered urbanisation processes in various geographical contexts.

The second focus will develop a research approach that is based around scattered urbanisation processes, particularly the weight of individual private logic in producing the edge city.

The international network platform

The network will be underpinned by an IT platform hosted by LABEX Urban Futures that has a twofold purpose.

Coordinating the network, showcasing and consolidating our initiatives and those of our foreign partners, both for organised events (i.e., seminars, conferences, study days, common ground, etc.) and forthcoming publications (books, conference proceedings, etc.).

Producing specific resources on edge cities as part of a comparative approach : analyses and work on definitions and concepts used in the scientific and political spheres to describe edge cities ; international monitoring of scattered urbanisation issues ; and working papers, case studies, collective field reports, interviews with the stakeholders involved in edge cities, audiovisual resources, etc. We are looking to gradually build a shared methodological framework along with our partners to move towards comparability.

The objective will be launch larger-scale comparative research that can make a significant potential contribution to understanding these phenomena and for which we will need to forge strong partnership with local research bodies.

To learn more about DCUN's goals, actions and partnerships, visit its internet platform : https://dcun.hypotheses.org/.