HomeStudy of the processes that lead to the production of new “ordinary” spaces in cities, residential space and/or public spaces

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Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by Luigia Parlati


The Labex invite applicants to submit Ph.D. proposals fitting the questioning of work package 2.4 “The ordinary urban space: changing modes of production”. The proposal will clearly state its contribution to the work package, and the following fields are welcome to submit: geography, planning, social history.



The project will contribute to a study of the processes that lead to the production of new “ordinary” spaces in cities, residential space and/or public spaces. Ordinary spaces being defined as places, regeneration projects and objects that are produced without any major intervention of planning (therefore excluding objects or fields such as: new towns, large redevelopment projects, master planning by public authorities).

The aim is to gain a better understanding of the way in which actors in the city, by their interactions, contribute to inventing new models for the production of these spaces, and to assess the role in these innovations of inherited spatial patterns and institutional, social and economic environments. Two main lines of research structure this programme: the study of the role of the resilience of forms in the logics of the actors and the study of the new territorial patterns and modes of “in-habiting” these new metropolitan environments. The research program of the work package is divided in 4 main axis, in which the applicant is invited to specifically contribute:

  • (i) Politics, public policies and territories
  • (ii) The right to the city and informality
  • (iii) Land economics, real estate markets (residential and offices), financialization
  • (iv) Urban resources and practices.

The Ph.D. project will clearly state its contribution with regards to the prime questioning of the Labex Dynamite:

The issue, basically, is the production logics of two types of space that are often considered in isolation: the periurban / suburban and urban frontier spaces on the one hand, with the purpose of reconsidering the dynamics operating in metropolises via the study of interactions between property market promoters and local authorities, and on the other hand the city centres, studying the respective parts played by public policies and the strategies of private actors in the processes of gentrification, merchandising, or heritage enhancement. The interactions are complex: while local authorities play a key role, (restriction of offer of land space, social selection of residents, fragmentation of the urban frontier), private actors are contributing increasingly to the production of space (i.e. professional managers of shopping centres, developers activities etc). These interactions contribute to the gradual transformation of publicly managed space into private forms of urbanisation taking the form of residential spaces, and also of central urban functions of the metropolis: international airports, spaces of exchange (such as railway stations), commercial spaces (shopping malls). The role of the forms of government and governance in the reconfiguration of urban forms and public spaces, and in the shaping of the forces that structure it (power of the urban elite, vote-catching, privatisation etc) will be a particular focus of study. Alongside these new urban policies, we will also leave adequate room for the study of the appropriation strategies of inhabitants (both wealthy and underprivileged classes) and their initiatives to gain access to property, housing and various urban services, both within the spaces that have been neglected by public authorities, and conversely in spaces involved in operations of urban regeneration.

The following lines of research in particular are liable to be developed in this programme. The applicant will ensure he / she contributes by integrating for instance some of the following in his project:

- Reinterpretation of the processes whereby urban morphologies are produced. The issue is to apprehend the discourse and action of urban policy actors (state, municipality, private agents, cooperative agents etc.), and also to study the way in which the various urban policies and projects are received by the inhabitants.

- An analysis of spatio-temporal dynamics, implementing data on a refined scale and aggregating individual data on the relevant geographical levels (for instance property market activity). Analyses of trajectories will be a particular focus (prices, socio-economic compositions of a unit etc.).

- A refined analysis of interactions between protagonists in the production of urban and suburban spaces. The levels at which action and planning intertwine by way of the involvement of different partners in the production of urban and suburban space. The “biographies” of the actors will be a particular focus, i.e. the evolution of their practices, discourse, methods, procedures and doctrinal stances.

- A study of the processes of social inclusion and exclusion, endeavouring to assess accessibility to public spaces and urban services, both for city centres (against a background of gentrification and promotion of heritage) and for the urban frontier.


  • Renaud Le Goix, MCF HDR UP1, UMR Géographie-cités 8504,
  • Antonine Ribardière, MCF UP1, UMR Prodig 8586,


In the larger framework of the Labex project, a thesis proposal that would make massive use of geographical database on real-estate, land economics, would be greatly appreciated.

These issues will be approached giving prominence to trans-disciplinary collaboration among geographers, planners, legal experts, economists, historians and political scientists. The research will seek to cross quantitative and qualitative research: quantitative approaches, to evidence the structures of change and resilience, in the form of diachronic studies, stylised facts, and the modelling of changes in social and economic structures within the urban space; qualitative approaches, ranging from case studies to surveys among producers of urban and suburban spaces, thereby leading on in particular to the study of the itineraries of actors (elected representatives, administrative staff, entrepreneurs, or inhabitants): itineraries, practices, representations etc. The methodological objective is to combine multi-scalar approaches to the study of territory with the approaches of sociology and the political sciences

The applicant is invited to consider in his proposal how he/she can contribute to:

- A focus on articulating different scales

- An analysis intra-urban dynamics from a spatio-temporal viewpoint

- An articulation of the study of urban territories with the complexity of the interplay between actors and institutional regulation.

The application will be scored with regards to its overall quality and excellence, and

- its insertion within some of the above thematics,

- its methodology (feasibility, realistic work plan)

Geographical fields will be left to the appreciation of the applicant. A pre-agreement with the proposed advisor will be requested (support letter, see contacts hereafter).

The doctoral student will be affiliated to one of the following research unit: UMR Géographie-cités, UMR PRODIG, UMR CHS, according to the proposed advisor affiliation.


The project will initiate a comparative approach, with a preference for a proposal involving two main research fields in different contexts. Due to the scientific goals of the Labex, a look at the Paris Metropolitan Area, combined with another field research in Europe, in the Americas (North or South), in Africa, will be favourably appreciated.

Planned collaborations

The applicant will have expertise in English language / and or in the language of the main fields for research, and will be able to conduct interviews in foreign language.

Co-tutorship of Ph.D. with a foreign institution will also be considered as a positive element of appreciation.

  • Beginning of the contract 01/09/2014
  • Lenght of the contract 3 years
  • Net monthly salary 1350€ (complementary teaching assignments and tutorials can
  • be added)
  • Contact or 01 56 81 20 17

Required skills and abilities 

- The applicant will hold a master degree (M2) in geography, planning, urbanism, history, and will demonstrate an interest for interdisciplinary dialogue in urban studies.

- Currency in GIS, spatial analysis, georeferenced database will be a positive element of appreciation.

Proceedings and schedules of recruitment

The application file should demonstrate the match to the profile (missions and required skills). Documents to be included:
- Application form,

- The grades of the 1st year and of the 1st semester of the 2nd year of Masters degree,

- A letter from the Masters degree supervisor certifying that the candidate will soon defend its Masters thesis (Before 31st August 2014),

- A Curriculum Vitae,

- The PhD project (5 to 8 pages max),

- Two letters of recommendation:

  • One from the supervisor of its Masters thesis,
  • One from a chosen referent,

- Two supporting letters:

  • One from the potential supervisor within the laboratory [1],
  • One from the director of the potential hosting unit [2].

[1] That the candidate will contact before 9th May 2014 with in copy (compulsory) and the suppervisors of the Work Package.

[2] That the candidate will contact before 9th May 2014 with in copy (compulsory) and the suppervisors of the Work Package.

Applications must be sent before 09th May 2014.

All applications have to be sent to:

As from 30th June 2014, selected candidate will be informed after examination of their application and hearings (which will take place during the week of 23rd June 2014).

Scientific committee to be announced.




  • Paris, France (75)


  • Friday, May 09, 2014


  • PhD fellowship, geography, planning, social history, spaces, cities


  • DynamiTe LabEx
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

Information source

  • Sophie Bantos
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

To cite this announcement

« Study of the processes that lead to the production of new “ordinary” spaces in cities, residential space and/or public spaces », Scholarship, prize and job offer, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014,

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