Cities and Territories

Our team’s scientific project aims to observe and analyse the dynamics and transitions at work in cities and territories. The idea of a dynamic implies action, trajectory and historicity, whereas a transition introduces the possibility of a rupture, the switch from one state – or even from one socio-economic and cultural, but also territorial model – to another. These processes apply to the notion of a city as an object of analysis, which in turn links up with a process of fabricating space and with the urban phenomenon, and to the notion of a territory, which focuses on ‘territorialization’ processes.
This scientific project is based on a legacy and on international recognition of the Grenoble school of urban and territorial thought, on recent theoretical inputs specific to this group of researchers, on objects capable of feeding horizontal empirical and methodological thinking, and finally on a place, Grenoble’s Cité des Territoires.


Director : Magali Talandier


Our key research objects (energy, mobility, heritage, creativity, food, planning, urban renewal, land use, etc.) and the diversity of the fields we observe (metropolitan areas, but also rural, peri-urban and mountain spaces) contribute additional substance to this common ambition, which seeks to theorize urban and territorial dynamics and transitions, develop empirical and analytical studies, but also methods the better to understand ongoing changes.
Among recent theoretical input produced by researchers in our team we may cite work on the territoriality and territorialization of action; territorial resources; territorial ecology; (mixed-use) residential and productive economy; habitability (practice, custom, ways of life, ways of inhabiting).
To understand these mechanisms, observe, measure and objectivate them, we have developed the necessary specific methods and tools:

  • Quantitative analysis to measure flows;
  • Qualitative analysis, allowing for the materialities characteristic of lived in spaces;

The members of our research team also make a point of staying in touch with territorial action:

  • Through work on urban and territorial engineering and its planning, observation and diagnostic tools, all of which illustrate the move from knowledge to action;
  • Also through investigation centring on new experiences (living labs, co-working spaces, third places) which are currently emerging as new tools for rethinking the fabric of cities and space.


Research projects of the team




The annual programme of events staged by the Cities and Territories team hinges on a thematic cycle on transition studies, a young researchers one-day event jointly organized every year in the autumn with another laboratory and various other scientific gatherings.

Discussing Transition cycle: issues relating to transition, in particular ecological transition, may form the basis of many types of civic, political or institutional commitment, but what about the urban and territorial dynamics these issues underpin and which justify, here and there, many local public actions? Is this a fleeting concept or a genuine paradigm capable of rekindling learning on cities and territories? Advocated by our team, the Discussing Transition cycle of research aims specifically to sketch the outlines of a new research agenda for Pacte in the fields of geography, town planning and territorial economics. The cycle has three objectives:

  • To create a common understanding around transitions, encourage appropriation of and a critical approach to this concept through monthly seminars;
  • Identify and promote networking between European researchers working on transition studies, by holding regular study sessions during which we host researchers from many countries;
  • Open up and share this debate with citizens and local actors by holding public meetings at various urban locations.

Grenoble, a metropolitan transition demonstrator? 31 January 2017
Inter-territorial relations in the field of energy transition, the TEOosCV case in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, 17 February 2017
Cities and territories in transition: sketching out a new research agenda, 10 March 2017

  • Initiate a project-oriented dynamic in the team by proposing papers at symposiums, articles in ranked English-language journals, and special sessions at international  symposiums.


A young researchers day is jointly organized every year with another laboratory. This event gives rise to a call for papers, publicized in the form a special issue of the review.

Open days to present and debate the team’s research projects.

Study days focusing on urban and territorial dynamics  

A three-day French-language scientific research convention for doctoral students (ASRDLF) will be held on 28-30 March 2018, bringing together 70 PhD students and 15 or so researchers (economists, geographers and planners), to discuss their work in regional and urban studies.    Mettre les lien


Team news

Jeff Carney
Presentation of the INTERREG project in Ljubljana

Latest publications from team members

All publications are available on the open archive hal