Previous Events

7th Session: “DCUN Working Seminar”

VENUE: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville (ENSA PB) 60, Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris, FRANCE – Metro station ‘Belleville’ – Lines 11 / 2) Access map (link). 

On Monday 25th February 2019, the DCUN hold its first seminar event for the year 2019. This seminar was considered as a “working seminar” and was focus on the discussion for implementing comparison between urbanized territories facing urban diffusion.

This session was the opportunity to present two cases that some of our DCUN members are currently elaborating:

  1. The case of Siem Reap (Cambodia) / Melaka (Malaysia) by Adèle Esposito (CNRS / UMR AUSser) and Pierpaolo De Giosa (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology);
  2. The case of Istanbul (Turkey) / Hanoi (Vietnam) by Filiz Hervet, Helin Karaman (Observatoire Urbain d’Istanbul) and Clément Musil (Associate Researcher UMR AUSser).

For this working seminar, three “guest researchers” (Sonia Guelton (Professor Paris Urban Planning School, University Paris-Est, Lab’urba), Charles Goldblum (Professor emeritus, University Paris VIII, UMR 3329 CNRS AUSser) and Ozan Ramadan (CNRS, LATTS)) were invited to provide specific inputs. For reference, programme’s event available in PDF here.



6th Session: “Wording Urban Diffusion” –  Workshop

21 November 2018 (Venue: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville (ENSA PB) 60, Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris, FRANCE – Metro station ‘Belleville’ – Lines 11 / 2) Access map (link).

DCUN’s sixth events was organized on 21st November 2018 at the Paris Belleville Architecture School (Paris – France).

Co-organized by the Diffuse Cities & Urbanization research Network (DCUN) and the Research group “Vocabularies of architectural and urban design across time” (CNRS-AUSSER) this workshop was particularly focused on the examination of the lexicon related to the global phenomenon of the territorial diffusion of urbanization with the purpose of questioning the conceptual, disciplinary, and methodological frameworks that have oriented knowledge production on urbanization processes in different contexts and historical moments.

  The content of a total of eight presentations made during this workshop were recording and are available online by following this link.   For information, workshop’s programme is available here. The selection of the workshop speakers was based on a “call for contribution” issued in July 2018. Details regarding the “call of contribution” can be found here.        



DCUN Seminar series – “New Urban Epistemologies & Diffuse Urbanization” – 5th Session: Diffusing urbanization and hybrid economic activities in the agricultural suburbs areas”

27 September 2018 (Venue: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville (ENSA PB) 60, Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris, France (Metro station ‘Belleville’ – Lines 11 / 2). Access map (link). From 10.00AM to 1.00 PM.

DCUN 5th seminar was organized on the last 27th September 2018. This session entitled “Diffusing urbanization and hybrid economic activities in agricultural suburban areas” was focused on the development of hybrid activities in former rural peripheries.

In various geographical contexts, massive urbanization of former rural peripheries leads to the emergence of new economic activities that profoundly transform the traditional socio-spatial organization: farmers become land or real estate operators, develop agro-tourism activities for urban citizens or offer farm picking. The presentations proposed in this seminar explore the stakeholders who are initiating these hybridizations, what kind of new activities are developed, how these processes are transforming urban forms, and also raise the question of compatibility of these hybrid schemes with initial agricultural activities.

A first talk was provided by Andrew Marton (Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives – University of Victoria, Canada) who delivered insights of his work on the hybrid spaces in the lower Yangzi Delta (China). A second guest, Gwenn Pulliat (CNRS – Lab Art-Dev – UMR 5281, France) focused her presentation on the roles for farmlands in expanding cities based on various case studies in Vietnam and Thailand. Each presentation gave the opportunity to the speakers to discuss with the participants and to raise comments as well as questions.

– details regarding the annouce of this session can be found here (link).







DCUN Seminar series – “New Urban Epistemologies & Diffuse Urbanization” – 4th Session: « Hybrid Electric Systems and Diffuse Urbanization » –  « Energy for diffuse cities. Comparative perspectives on policies and projects in periurban, semi-rural and rural Territories ».

25 June 2018 (Venue: Campus de la Cité Descartes, 14-20 boulevard Newton, Champs-sur-Marne, 77455 Marne-la-Vallée. FRANCE. « Bienvenue » building, rooms B017-B020) from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

DCUN’s fourth seminar was organized on 25th June  2018 at the campus « Cité Descartes », Champs sur Marne (France). This seminar session was co-organized by the City and Energy research group and the Diffuse Cities & Urbanization research Network (DCUN) (both members of the research federation Urban Futures research network – University Paris-East).

This study day aimed at investigating energy transition processes in contexts of diffuse urbanization and other low-density settlements. Through the different presentation and communication, the objective was to analyse policies, infrastructure projects, and urban design drawing on examples from the global North and global South.

– Details (in french) regarding the content of the discussion hold during this session can be found here (under preparation). – Details regarding the announce of this seminar session can be found here (in French / in English).      



DCUN Seminar series – “New Urban Epistemologies & Diffuse Urbanization” – 3rd Session “Economic Activities & Diffuse Urbanization”

06 April 2018 (Paris-Belleville Architecture School – ENSA PB – Research Floor – IPRAUS Institute – 60 Boulevard de la Villette – Paris (France) (Metro Belleville – Lines 11 & 2)

This seminar’s session was focused on the economic activities which is a major thematic that the DCUN aims at investigating. Two researchers have shared with the DCUN members the methodologies and the results of their own works regarding development of logistical activities and specific industries in different urban context. The first speaker, Laetitia Dablanc (IFSTTAR – University Paris East) gave a presentation entitled “New logistics landscapes in urban regions – the growing importance of warehouses”. The second speaker, Julien Birgi (PhD candidate and Senior Urban Planner at Bordeaux Metropolitan Authority) presented a work entitled ”Productive systems and urbanization in emerging countries. A comparative study of the impact of industrial zones, remote factories and artisan clusters in Java, Indonesia”. – Details (in french) regarding the content of the discussion hold during this session can be found here (DCUN_Echanges Seminaire n°3_06 04 2018). – Details (in english) regarding the announce of this seminar session can be found here (DCUN_Seminar Session 3_06 04 2018).    



DCUN Seminar series – “New Urban Epistemologies & Diffuse Urbanization” – 2nd Session “Learning from Successful Comparative and Inter-Disciplinary Research Experiences”

09 March 2018 (University Paris-Est campus – Cité Descartes – Building Bienvenüe – Room A017) – 14h00

DCUN’s second seminar was organized at the University Paris-Est Campus on 09th March 2018. It focused on the methods and problems posed by comparative and interdisciplinary research approaches.

Jean-Louis Chaléard (Emeritus Professor of Geography – University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/ UMR  PRODIG – Director of the journal Echogéo) presented the research program PERISUD (Dynamiques territoriales à la périphérie des métropoles des Suds), which focused on the following cities: Shanghai, Mexico, Lima, Le Cap, Hanoi and Abidjan (see more details here). These cities present similar urban shapes and territorial structures, but are different in size and levels of development. Taken together, they reflect the diversity of urban situations in the Global South. The research program questioned to what extent urban models coming from the North were reproduced in these cities. It examined different paces of urban growth and the capacity of urban policies to manage urban transformations.

Comparative approaches – Prof. Chaléard explained – always raise methodological problems, especially when, as in the PERISUD program, six case studies were concerned – Shanghai, Mexico, Lima, Le Cap, Hanoi and Abidjan. Researchers had to scale down the comparison only to set of homogenous and reliable data available for every city. Moreover, comparison was particularly difficult when the size of urban spaces selected for the analysis was very different. Another main problem concerned terminology. For instance, the definition of « precarious housing » and « middle class » may vary depending on the examined context and is subject to specific local interpretations. Finally, the identification of a series of comparative criteria to guide fieldwork investigations was not an easy task. For these reasons, comparisons focused on specific thematics, including green spaces, transportations, residential areas, and in any case they overlooked the singularity of each of the metropolises under consideration. The publication of the edited volume “Métropoles aux Suds, le défi des périphéries ?” (ed. Chaléard) was among the main outputs of the program (for more information click here). 

Our second speaker was Eric Denis (CNRS Research Director / UMR Géographie cités). His presentation focused on the interdisciplinary research program SUBURBIN (SUBaltern URbanization in INdia) (see more details here). This program looked at the diversity of urban trajectories in India. SUBURBIN argued that small towns, where are living 1 third of the urban citizen (in towns bellow 100,000 inhabitants), experience intense transformations and they increase in number. Extensively drawing on the field of subaltern studies that looked at social transformations among the lowest social layers of South Asian societies, SUBURBIN argues that impactful transformative processes are not only driven by mega-projects and Indian metropolises, they  are also led by ordinary citizens in small towns. Besides, the program crossed disciplinary views on the “urban transition”, articulating macro and micro scales analysis and addressed the debates concerning the plurality of development paths. It developed the following research themes: i) economic expansion, industrial location, mobility and jobs; (ii) internationalization, value chains and innovations (productive systems of innovation in small towns); (iii) governance and “city status”; (iv) integration and counter effects of metropolitan areas and megaprojects; (v) links between cities and countryside; (vi) links between land-based capital and castes. Available data allowed the construction of a shared geodatabase and an online mapping tools is on development. The general approach adopted by SUBURBIN was to decentralize and de-hierarchize urban research by focusing on urban dynamics “from below », in spaces where the definition of the « urban » is debated. An edited volume –“Subaltern Urbanisation in India. An Introduction to the Dynamics of Ordinary Towns” (eds. Denis, Eric and Zerah, Marie-Hélène) published in 2017 exposes the results (find more details here).

Details regarding the seminar 2nd session announcement DCUN-Seminar Session 2- 09/03/2018




Emergent forms of Urban densification in Asia – Shared perspectives

13-16 November 2017 (Hanoi Architecture University – Hanoi Vietnam)

Participating to the international conference “Emergent forms of Urban densification in Asia – Shared perspectives”, organized by the Institute of Research for Development (IRD), the Center of Population and Development (CEPED – IRD/University Paris Descartes) and the Hanoi Architecture University (HAU), Joël Idt (DCUN Coordinator) and Clément Musil (Blog DCUN coordinator) gave a joint presentation to introduce the objectives of the Diffuse Cities & Urbanization Network and its particularities regarding comparative approaches. 

Entitled “Comparing diffuse urbanization processes in different socio-cultural contexts: Asia and Europe – The interdisciplinary approach of the international research network on diffuse cities (Labex Urban Futures – University Paris Est)” this presentation put forward the diversity of terms and concepts developed to describe continual expansion of “the urban” and pointed out the challenge of the urban comparative analysis. They introduced the DCUN themes and the places that the members are investigating for the period 2018-2019. This presentation was the opportunity to promote the network and its activities.




Labex Week (Labex Urban Futures) – Seminar “Diffuse Cities Through the Lens of Comparison” – DCUN First Sesssion Seminar

15 September 2017 (University Paris-Est campus – Building Bienvenüe – Room A017)

 In the frame of the “Labex Week” sponsored by the Labex Urban Futures this half-day seminar gave to DCUN (Diffuse Cities & Urbanization Network) the opportunity to launch its first seminar activity and to gather more than 20 scholars from other research institutes and laboratories who are interested in the network’s actions and comparative approaches.

This first DCUN seminar laid the groundwork for the construction of research on the diffuse urban territories of Rome, Hanoi and Paris to be conducted by the network individual members and international institutional partners between 2018 and 2019. 

During this event was discussing the main themes that the DCUN will investigate for the next few years: (i) productive activities, (ii) planning & informality, (iii) architectural and urban forms, (iv) digitalization, (v) energy transition.

Few scholars were also invited to introduce the different places that DCUN’s members will investigate (Hanoi, Roma and Paris) with the aim to produce comparative papers.

  • Sylvie Fanchette (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement – IRD) introduced the case of Hanoi (Vietnam). Based on her research work conducting in Hanoi and the results published in the book entitled “Hà Nội, future métropole“, this presentation pointed out the relationship between the inner core city and the rural suburbs and gave a picture of the various drivers of the rapid urbanization that characterized today the Hanoi metropolis area.
  • Hélène Nessi (Laboratoire Architecture, Ville, Urbanisme, Environnement – LAVUE UMR 7218 Paris Nanterre) presented the Roma (Italy) metropolitan area. Based on a historical reading of the development of the metropolitan region of Rome, this talk has highlighted the specificity of the peri-urbanization of this vast territory and the deregulation aspects of urban management. The presentation insisted on the analysis of a phenomena, the “abusivismo”, that led the urban authorities to recognize illegal constructions that occurred during decades.    
  • Nicolas Raimbault (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research – LISER) gave a presentation focused on the logistic activities within the Paris region.The development of new logistical areas in the Paris’ outskirts affect the peri-urbanization process. This presentation highlighted the features of those new logistical areas and pointed out the new distribution and geography of the housing areas where the employees are leaving.

Detailed program of the seminar Diffuse Cities Through the Lens of Comparison (in French)



Villes Diffuses – International Seminar

10-12 April 2017 (University Paris-Est campus – Building Bienvenüe – Room A017)

This international seminar was organized by the Labex “Urban Futures” and Research Departments UMR AUSSER, LATTS, Lab’Urba, in cooperation with the Research Department LESTARI, Universitas Kebangsaan Malaysia and Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS).

This event was the opportunity to bring together, and confront, studies of diffuse urbanization in Europe and Asia. The ambition of this seminar was to produce theoretically informed and theoryinforming comparative empirical knowledge on how these peripheral urban areas and regions develop and transform, how they are practiced and lived, and on the use of resources (land, energy, water…) involved in these processes. Studies of the production and transformation of, and ways of life in, urban environments abound, yet these two issues are usually analyzed separately. Above all, a vast majority of these studies disregards issues of urban form and materiality broadly conceived. Conversely architects, urbanists and geographers have described or advocated variegated land use patterns, built area layouts and building designs, but in these studies, analyses on how built environments are produced and lived generally remain either superficial, oversimplified or normative.

Rational (Download) / Program (Download) / Event page:


Territories of Metropolis: Compactness, Dispersion and Ecology – Comparative perspectives between Asia and Europe

International Roundtable Conference
5-7 April 2016 (Shanghai Study Center, The University of Hong Kong)

Organized in Shanghai jointly by the University of Hong Kong, University Paris-Est and Labex Futurs Urbains, this international conference gathered more than 20 speakers to discuss diffuse urbanization issues. This conference paved the way to the organization of a series of seminar focused on “Diffuse Cities” and aims to deepen our understanding of the processes and implications of urban dispersion in Asia and Europe, to explore the commonalities and specificities of these processes between the two regions; and to confront successful or failed experiences in territorial planning, governance, policy and management. Download content