DS0601 -

Geopolitics of the struggle with urban sprawl – GELULE

Submission summary

GELULE aims to analyze the dissemination and implementation of "best practices" for sustainable urban development and the fight against climate change, their stakes and the political, economic and social tensions they imply. Indeed, the fight against urban sprawl can be interpreted and implemented in various ways. It is embodied in the international diffusion of a set of various measures with sometimes unexpected and even contradictory effects. This diversity allows many opportunities to serve certain interests over others, build compromise or crystallize opposition.

If the fight against urban sprawl is often presented as a purely technical action, the central hypothesis of GELULE is that its implementation is the product of conflicts and compromises between various actors and that its effects, which go far beyond the only environmental issue, offer a particularly relevant angle to analyze the - often contradictory - production of the contemporary metropolis. Moreover, urban sprawl dynamics vary profoundly in different contexts, leading the strategies aiming to limit the phenomenon to affect various actors and groups, and ultimately producing urban policies which are heterogeneous in their content and purpose and often resulting in unexpected effects. The project therefore proposes to mobilize an approach inspired by the geopolitics of spatial planning, inspired among others by the work of Philippe Subra. Indeed, the fight against urban spread encounter local governments. Faced with such an injunction, they react in different ways according to their interests, the alliances they can forge and the power relations they may constitute. The project will therefore interrogate both inputs and outputs of the fight against urban sprawl. It will also examine, in theoretical and normative terms, what can be the right to the city for the inhabitants of areas "in-between", claiming a share of rural identity. It will focus on the tensions and contradictions between what could be the rights of the suburbans and the requirements of the struggle with urban sprawl.

To investigate these questions, CAPSULE offers to contextualize and compare the fight against urban sprawl by closely analyzing four contrasted case studies, two in the north (Lyon and Saint-Etienne) and two in the south (Rabat-Sale-Temara and Casablanca). This approach will enable the team, which mixes urban and rural expertise expertise,to take into account all the scales of diffusion and implementation (international, national, local) of the fight against urban sprawl. Mobilizing a multidisciplinary team (political science, geography, urban planning, sociology) composed of a group of French and Moroccan young researchers supervised by several more experienced researchers, the project will use a mixed method (quantitative and qualitative) to analyze the expected and the unexpected effects or the struggle with urban sprawl.

Project coordination

Max Rousseau (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement)

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.


CIRAD Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement

Help of the ANR 313,998 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2016 - 36 Months

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