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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.

See the List of team members.

Director : Frédéric Santamaria

Research Thematics

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.


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.



  • 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.

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

Voiture dans une rue colotée


Scènes Culturelles, Ambiances Et traNsformations urbAine

Janvier 2019 –décembre 2022

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Logo Interreg


Préserver l'environnement par la coordination entre les politiques de transport et d'urbanisme

Novembre 2016 - Octobre 2019

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Graffiti : "Grenoble ne peut pas accueillir tous les ingénieurs du monde"


Démonstration, Exploration, Transformation. Les trois régimes urbains de l'innovation

Novembre 2018 - Avril 2021

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Schéma ville éco responsable


Eco-district : Safe, Efficient, Sustainable and Accessible energy

Janvier 2017 - Janvier 2020

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Paysage de montagne ; groupe de randonneurs


Médiation du patrimoine oral et pratiques artistiques : de nouvelles ressources pour les territoires ruraux ?

Février 2020

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Paysage de forêt au crépuscule


Des forêts à ménager ? Gestions du foncier sylvicole et gouvernance territoriale des Sols dans le morvan

Septembre 2021 - Décembre 2022

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une paire de pied, devant plusieurs choix de mobilité : pieds, vélo, voiture, train


Une étude interventionnelle sur le changement de comportement de mobilité

Novembre 2018

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personnes dans une gare


Just in15 Minutes Developing planning tools for the social and environmental Just 15 Minutes City


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Valoriser les paysages périurbains pour une meilleure qualité de vie dans les aires métropolitaines alpines. Programme Transnational Espace Alpin, priorité 3 Un espace alpin où il fait bon vivre

Novembre 2016 - Octobre 2019

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boulette de papier


Innovations autour de la Valorisation des Spécificités Locales dans les Arrière-pays Méditerranéens

Octobre 2016

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Une montagne à sapins de Noël en transition : coexistence des modèles et adaptation au changement climatique dans le Morvan


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logo Popsu


Grenoble dans son environnement ou le pari d’une métropole résiliente

Octobre 2018 - Octobre 2020

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logo rouages


Capabilité territoriale, biomasse et transition énergétique : l’écologie territoriale appliquée aux réserves de biosphère

Octobre 2016 - Septembre 2019

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Cycles de Séminaire

Submitted on March 31, 2023

Updated on October 2, 2023