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Public spaces and new urban compromises. Perspectives from the Mediterranean area

Espaces publics et nouveaux compromis urbains. Regards croisés à partir de la Méditerranée

“Méditerranée”, journal of Mediterranean geography

Revue « Méditerranée », revue géographique des pays méditerranéens

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Published on Monday, November 21, 2016 by Céline Guilleux


La revue Méditerranée lance un appel à article pour un numéro spécial intitulé « Espaces publics et nouveaux compromis urbains. Regards croisés à partir de la Méditerranée  », à partir de trois axes de réflexion (nouvelles pratiques urbaines, privatisation / ouverture, développement urbain durable). La publication du volume est attendue pour fin 2017. Un résumé de la proposition sera transmis avant le 12 décembre 2016. Les contributions acceptées devront être transmises au plus tard le 14 mars 2017 pour relecture suivant les conditions de publication dans la revue Méditerranée.



Since the 1980s, in a context of generalized urbanization, appearance of new centralities and strengthening of old ones, we have been witness forms of reoccupation of public spaces that are once again at the core of public policy concerns. Diverse and often ambitious roles are assigned to these public spaces via rehabilitation or upgrading  programmes, which are on the agenda of numerous towns, of whatever size. Public spaces are at the core of major economic issues, involving a range of different stakeholders, formal and informal, of diverse status. They are also the focus of objectives related to the regulation of community life, aimed at re-establishing a certain ideal social mix. Finally, they are the site of expression of discourses and practices related to sustainability.

These issues will be central to the three chosen themes, seeking to link up the spaces, the stakeholders and their practices. This will mean highlighting the complexity of public spaces, their place in recent urban dynamics and the new questions that they raise in an urban context that is under constant re-composition.

Axis 1 : What are the new urban practices in urban spaces?

New practices have been emerging in public spaces, based on rethinking the role of the automobile and the development of 'soft' mobility, transforming some public spaces (space sharing, urban furniture, landscaping, etc.). The rehabilitation of central spaces and the redevelopment of urban wastelands (reopening of river banks, vacant plots, etc.) also encourage reflection on new practices for public spaces. They are accompanied by a movement of reoccupation of the streets, squares, certain interstices of the urban fabric through the action of particular social groups (rap, street dancing), festive events (neighbourhood street parties), the vegetalisation of streets, etc. This movement of recovery of public spaces is also based on a renewal of the function attributed to art, and on the spread of new technologies in open environments (geolocalisation on smartphones, free Wifi networks, etc.).

Under these conditions, one might wonder how these practices may give a new meaning to the urban context and contribute to redesigning the city of tomorrow, but also how the actors of these innovative practices operate in phase with the urban project and make it evolve.

Axis 2 : Between privatisation and openness, what are the qualities of newly produced public spaces?

The question of the production and the management of spaces dedicated to public use reflects the multiplicity of the interface between public and private spheres, in particular through the numerous city centre regeneration operations where these spaces recover the status of public property.

Part of the production of new public spaces involves large scale public/private sector operations, often driven by urban renovation, development or rehabilitation strategies, with issues of heritage, image-building and territorial marketing at stake.

In parallel, multiple forms of privatisation or management of public space are emerging, which limit its accessibility and diversity of uses, in particular in the neoliberal city where civic space is considered as a resource to be valorized. The increasing pressure of security imperatives, generated as much by institutions as by the users, is reflected in various forms of situational prevention, video surveillance, etc. The redevelopment operations themselves sometimes tend to block, restrict or control access to part of the public spaces, or to refocus them towards private spaces open to the public (shopping malls, gated residential estates, etc.).

One might thus reflect on both the models and forms, but also on the balance between public and private space in the production of the city, as well as on the qualities sought for these existing and emerging public spaces.

Axis 3 : What will be the role of the public spaces in sustainable urban development?

Sustainable urban development policy, which began to emerge in the 1990s, transformed the form, the norms and the functions associated with existing or newly produced public spaces. In terms of urban design, ecological systems contributed to improving the 'environmental performance' of the functioning of these spaces, in order to encourage or restrict certain practices.

These public spaces, conceived under the banner of sustainability, are subject to a range of presuppositions regarding their use, involving both the community life which might be deployed there (social mixing, inclusion, public participation, conviviality) and individual practices. The management rules for these spaces are themselves transformed and extended, calling into question the practices of the actors or inhabitants and their representations, and are often in conflict with tendencies towards privatisation and closure.

Public spaces are confronted with the imperatives of sustainable development or the adaptation to climate change, renewing the role of nature in particular in relation to the new forms of mobility.

Reflections are thus expected on the transformations of public spaces in the discourses and practices of sustainable urban development: what is the impact of urban policy on the design, management and use of public spaces? What appropriation, resistance, negotiation occur regarding the use of these spaces?

Submision guidelines

The publication of this volume is expected for the end of 2017. An abstract of the proposal (250 words and key words) should be submitted

before 12th December 2016.

The Editorial Committee will give an opinion regarding the proposal in the beginning of January 2017.

The contributions that are accepted should be submitted by 14th march 2017 at the latest for proof-reading according to the conditions of publication in the journal Méditerranée.

Please pay particular attention to the Recommendations to Authors (http://mediterranee.revues.org/584).

Information required

  • Title of the proposal:
  • Author(s) (if several authors,  underline the corresponding author) :
  • Address of corresponding author:
  • Résumé and Abstract (250 words maximum) :
  • Mots-clefs and Key-words (5 maximum) :
  • Geographical index 


  • Elisabeth Dorier, Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Population Environnement Développement, elisabeth.dorier@univ-amu.fr
  • Serge Schwartzmann, Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Population Environnement Développement, serge.schwartzmann@univ-amu.fr
  • François Valegeas, Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Population Environnement Développement, francois.valegeas@univ-amu.fr

 Editorial Committee

  • Valérie ANDRIEU-PONEL Aix Marseille Université, IMBE
  • Edward ANTHONY, secrétaire de rédaction (géographie physique) Aix Marseille Université, CEREGE
  • Ali BENSAÂD Aix Marseille Université, IREMAM
  • Catherine BERNIÉ-BOISSARD Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, ART-Dev
  • Giulia BOETTO CNRS, Centre Camille Jullian (UMR 7299), MMSH-5, Aix‑en‑Provence
  • Jean-Noël CONSALES Aix Marseille Université, Telemme
  • Jacques DALIGAUX Aix Marseille Université, Telemme
  • Régis DARQUES, secrétaire de rédaction (géographie humaine) CNRS, ART-Dev, Montpellier 3
  • Olivier DESLONDES Université Lyon II, EVS
  • Claudine DURBIANO Aix Marseille Université (directrice honoraire)
  • Daniel FAGET Aix Marseille Université, Telemme
  • Jean-Christophe GAY Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis
  • Stéphane GHIOTTI Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, ART-Dev
  • Boris GRÉSILLON Aix Marseille Université, Telemme
  • Zino KHELFAOUI Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, ART-Dev
  • Nick MARRINER CNRS, Besançon
  • Christophe MORHANGE, rédacteur en chef Aix Marseille Université, CEREGE
  • Samuel ROBERT CNRS, Espace
  • François SABATIER Aix Marseille Université, CEREGE
  • Lucien TIRONE Aix Marseille Université


BEAL Vincent, GAUTHIER Mario, PINSON Gilles (2011), Le développement durable changera-t-il la ville ? Le regard des sciences sociales, Publications de l’université de Saint Etienne.

BEJA Alice (2012), « L’espace public, le bien commun par excellence », Esprit, n°11, pp. 71-72.

BIDOU-ZACHARIASEN Catherine (dir.) (2003), Retours en ville, Paris, Descartes & Cie, pp. 9-44.

CHARMES Eric (2006), La Rue, village ou décor ? Parcours dans deux rues de Belleville, Grâne, Créaphis.

Da CUNHA Antonio, GUINAND Sandra (2014), Qualité urbaine, justice spatiale et projet, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes.

DAVID Jean-Claude, 2002,  « Espace public au Moyen-Orient et dans le monde arabe, entre urbanisme et pratiques citadines », Géocarrefour, vol. 77, n° 3, pp. 219-224.

DORIER Elisabeth et alii (2012), « Fermeture résidentielle et politiques urbaines, le cas marseillais », Articulo - Journal of Urban Research, n° 8.

DORIER Elisabeth, DARIO Julien (2016), « Des marges choisies et construites: les résidences  fermées », in Grésillon E., Alexandre B., Sajaloli B. (cord.), La France des marges, Armand Colin, Paris, pp. 213-224.

DRIS Nassima (dir.) (2016), dossier « Espace(s) public(s) en Méditerranée.Mobilisations, médiations et citoyenneté », Les Cahiers d’EMAM, n°28, mis en ligne le 21 juillet 2016. URL : http://emam.revues.org/1194

FLEURY Antoine (2009), « Espaces publics et environnement dans les politiques urbaines à Paris et à Berlin », Annales de géographie, 2009/5 n° 669, pp. 522-542.

GHORRA-GOBIN Cynthia (dir.) (2001), Réinventer le sens de la ville : les espaces publics à l’heure globale, l’Harmattan, Paris, pp. 5-16.

GHORRA-GOBIN Cynthia, MUSSET Alain (dir.) (2010), dossier « La centralité urbaine à l’heure de la métropolisation : entre patrimonialisation et valorisation des espaces publics », Cahiers des Amériques latines, n°59, mis en ligne le 31 janvier 2013. URL : http://cal.revues.org/1152

GHORRA-GOBIN Cynthia (2012), « L'espace public : entre privatisation et patrimonialisation », Esprit, n°11, pp.88-98.

HACKWORTH Jason (2006), The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology, and Development in American Urbanism, Ithaca-London, Cornell university Press.

HARVEY David (1989), « From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism », Geografiska Annaler B, n° 71, pp. 3-17.

LEFEBVRE Henri (1968). Le Droit à la ville, Paris, Anthropos.

LEVY Bertrand (2008), « La place urbaine en Europe comme lieu idéal », in S. Ghervas, F. Rosset (dir.), Lieux d’Europe, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.

NEVEU Catherine (2003), Citoyenneté et espace public. Habitants, jeunes et citoyens dans une ville du Nord, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion.

ROGERS, Richard (1999), Towards an Urban Renaissance, Urban Task Force.

Schwartzmann Serge (2013), Gentrification et conflits d’un quartier dans la mondialisation. Le cas de Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires, Doctorat de Géographie et d’Aménagement Urbain, Université de Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle.

STAMBOULI Jacques (2005), « Les territoires du tramway moderne : de la ligne à la ville durable », Développement durable et territoires, Dossier 4.

TERRIN Jean-Jacques (dir.) (2011), Le piéton dans la ville. L’espace public partagé, Éditions Parenthèses, coll. « La ville en train de se faire ».

TOMAS François (2001), « L'espace public, un concept moribond ou en expansion ? », Géocarrefour, Vol. 76, n° 1, pp. 75-84

VALEGEAS François (2014), Concevoir et habiter un quartier dit durable. Injonctions écologiques et dynamiques collectives à Beauregard (Rennes) et Les Brichères (Auxerre), Doctorat en urbanisme et aménagement de l’espace, LVMT/Lab’Urba, Université Paris Est.


  • Monday, December 12, 2016


  • espace public, espace urbain, ville, pratique, représentation, aménagement, urbanisme


  • Elisabeth Dorier
    courriel : elisabeth [dot] dorier [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • francois valegeas
    courriel : francois [dot] valegeas [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Serge Schwartzmann
    courriel : serge [dot] schwartzmann [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • francois valegeas
    courriel : francois [dot] valegeas [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Public spaces and new urban compromises. Perspectives from the Mediterranean area », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, November 21, 2016, https://calenda.org/384578

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