CE22 - Sociétés urbaines, territoires, constructions et mobilité

Transboundary management and regulation of diffuse urbanization – GeRTrUD

Cross-border Management and Regulation of Diffuse Urbanization

Diffuse« urbanization, i.e., on the margins or outside urban agglomerations and of a sparse and dispersed nature, concentrates many of the challenges of contemporary urban production, in particular sustainable development, and puts to the test the capacities of public actors to manage and regulate urbanization. For these issues, cross-border situations constitute an interesting field of study.

understand the management and regulation of diffuse urbanization

GeRTrUD has two main objectives. The first objective is to better understand the practices of actors in terms of diffuse urbanism in cross-border spaces and to provide knowledge on the management and regulation of diffuse urbanism. The second objective is to share the practices of actors, developed on a case-by-case basis from the available tools and the problems encountered, in order to manage these spaces in the best possible way.

Through GeRTrUD, we propose to analyze the processes of diffuse urbanization and the way they are regulated, in five urban regions across the border with France linked to the polarities of Bayonne-San Sebastian, Geneva, Lille, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.

Our analysis is based on a qualitative survey, using semi-structured interviews with public and private actors in urban planning and cross-border cooperation, acting at the local, sub-regional or national level depending on the case study.

Cross-border situations constitute both a fertile framework for international comparison of planning systems and a means of studying the specific forms of regulation of diffuse urbanization that develop within an urban region that crosses borders. The sites correspond to large urban regions and present a variety of locations of «diffuse« urbanization (margins of large conurbations, around small or medium-sized cities, on the more rural bangs, etc.), types of land use change and development dynamics (residential, economic, tourist, etc.).

Diffuse urbanization, at the margins of urban centers, usually sparse and dispersed, focuses the issues of urban production today, including sustainable development issues. It is also where urbanization is the most difficult to control and to organize for public stakeholders, even though new forms of public intervention in these territories can be observed. This research aims to empirically highlight how these processes are concretely organized; to understand the difficulties to plan, manage and govern diffuse urbanization; and to empirically identify original practices and innovative project. We will conduct a comparative analysis of European diffuse urbanization processes), and of their regulation, in five cross-border urban regions in France (Bayonne, Geneva, Lille, Luxembourg, Strasbourg. We will analyze strategies of public and private stakeholders who are facing these processes. We will also organize workshops with professional groups and elected representatives groups, from territories faced with these issues, in order to exchange and to analyze their practices in such cases. Cross-border situations constitute a very rich field for our research, both as a good framework for international comparison, but also for their specific forms of regulation of diffuse urbanization.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 268,920 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2020 - 48 Months

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