Research notes

Among the activities undertaken by the DCUN members, the network encourages the development of comparative research that questions the processes of urban diffusion, in different fields and urban contexts.The outcome of this research is now featured in form of Research Notes.

#2 “Norms of illegal construction in periurban Hanoi”

Marie Lan Nguyen Leroy I May 2021

The peripheral areas of Hanoi have experienced significant land pressure, notably since the enlargement of the capital in 2008. New business zones, new urban sectors or planning goals of various kinds compete for space with villages that have their own land needs. Against this background, construction and real estate practices that flirt with the boundaries of state legality have developed, reflecting the pragmatism of the urban stakeholders. To meet the pressing needs for housing and to bypass the delays in administrative procedures, these practices – which operate on a continuum of legality that varies in its distance from strict legal prescriptions – seem to form an integral part of the urbanisation process. Bringing flexibility to construction in periurban areas, these activities follow customary practices and stabilised rules and thereby contribute to the shaping and transformation of the city.


#1 “Periurban farming in an Asian context: metropolitan processes affecting agriculture in the Shanghai and Hanoi countryside”

Etienne Monin I June 2019

Periurban farming, considered to be part of the urban diffusion process, results from the intertwining of local agricultural processes with widening urban interactions that affect rural areas in the vicinity of cities and city regions. Different types of periurban farming have developed in different areas depending on the local context of urban diffusion. The desakota, named after the Indonesian terms for city and countryside, refers to the periurban landscape created in recent decades by rapid urban growth in East and Southeast Asia. Metropolitan development influenced by globalization is, however, the predominant mode of urbanization today, triggering the intensification and rescaling of periurban dynamics. In such context, what farming systems can be found today in desakota spaces in urbanizing Asia? This article compares periurban farming in Shanghai and Hanoi to shed light on how city-countryside linkages affect farming dynamics along three dimensions: spatial change, economic restructuring and political planning. It raises questions about the suitability of desakota as a geographic model for contemporary rural-to-urban regional transition in Asia, and offers a new conceptualization of city-countryside linkages in an urbanizing world.


#0 “Should We Compare the Processes of Urbanization in Paris, London, and Shanghai, or Paris, Marseille, and Vesoul? Strategies of Comparison in Urban Research”

Joël Idt I April 2019

People who do research on cities and urbanism spend their time making comparisons, just like their colleagues in other social science fields. Depending on the specific subjects of their research, they compare towns and cities, urban mobility and consumption, and urban projects. The question as to what is or is not comparable regularly comes up.