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Attractivité territoriale et qualité de vie

Territorial attractiveness and quality of life

Special session, Sixth EUGEO, congress on the Geography of Europe

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Publié le mardi 11 avril 2017 par Céline Guilleux


Dans le cadre de l'EUGEO 2017 nous proposons une session spéciale sur l'attractivité territoriale et la qualité de vie. Nous proposons d'explorer les façons novatrices de concevoir l’attractivité territoriale. Comment penser l’attractivité en termes innovants ? Comment penser cette innovation autrement qu’en termes de structures de gouvernance ? Comment par exemple innover en termes d’acteurs impliqués, d’indicateurs choisis, de politiques… Bref, trois axes principaux guideront cette session spéciale : stratégies innovantes de l’attractivité territoriale ; qualité de vie, bien-être et attractivité territoriale ; perceptions et représentations territoriales au service de l’attractivité.


Brussels, 3 - 6 September 2017

Pierre-Mathieu Le Bel et l’équipe du PSDR4 AttractInnov, Université Clermont Auvergne


The study of attractiveness has long been based on macroeconomic scale studies and a restrictive approach (Crozet et al., 2004). The attractiveness of territories is then defined in regards to businesses as "their capacity to provide, thanks to their resources, more attractive location conditions than those of competing territories for mobile projects" (Hatem, 2004). There is then confusion with location factors and only economic criteria of attractiveness are studied, supported by quantifiable but rather limited indicators (FDI and employment rate for example).

Such an approach to attractiveness has most often resulted in choices of public policies, at different territorial levels (national to local), favoring actions, e.g. fiscal actions, aimed at encouraging the establishment of businesses. This reference framework for the analysis of attractiveness, which is in any case restrictive, largely explains the mimicry of public policies carried out for the purposes of territorial attractiveness.

However, in 1991, Krugman showed that territories were not homogeneous, and that attractiveness was not reduced to an analysis of the cost for firms of installation between territories. For the European Union, the aim is now to increase competitiveness and reduce inequalities between regions through action on territorial attractiveness. Indeed, since 2004, European space directives have introduced the concept of territorial assets and discusses their role in attractiveness, regional development and retention of new populations or new investors (Servillo et al., 2011). The Barca Report or the Agenda for a Reformed Cohesion Policy (2009), for its part, placed a great deal of emphasis on place-based approaches in achieving the objectives of the European Union Territorial cohesion. The latter are based on three principles, including the attractiveness of the territories.
Similarly, there are several types of attractiveness and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) distinguishes between actual and potential and / or subjective / objective attractiveness in its annual World Investment Report. For example, the presence of a certain number of infrastructures refers to actual or potential criteria, whereas those linked to elements of quality of life refer rather to a subjective approach. "Attractiveness is therefore a multidimensional concept that can be grasped from different viewpoints and hence from different disciplines" (Le Roy et Ottaviani, 2004). It is the resources "built and territorialized, that make a territory is or is not attractive, even when they are relegated to the background when it comes to quantifying the phenomenon of attractiveness" (Le Roy And Ottaviani, 2004).

Moreover, some authors (Musson, 2010) point to the too exclusively economic and short-term view of the issue of attractiveness, regretting that the geographical, historical, environmental and social dimensions of attractiveness are only rarely addressed. He therefore insists on the need to understand this notion of attractiveness in relation to sustainable development and well-being. J-J Friboulet (2010) proposed integrating the negative effects of the polarization of activities into social, environmental, and quality of life elements to the general study of attractiveness. Nevertheless, as observed by V. Angeon and L. Rieutort (2007, p.236), the notion of attractiveness is often approached from that of attraction, and is then reduced to a measure of the flows populations, tourists or jobs. Few attempts have been made to bring out more original approaches. Houston et al. (2008) identify for example an important objective in determining an appropriate geographical scale to implement an attractiveness strategy, while Bijker et al. (2015) suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the role of perceived social characteristics of the territories in the residential choice.

As part of this special session, we propose to explore innovative ways of conceiving territorial attractiveness. How to think of attractiveness in innovative terms? How do we think about this innovation in terms that do not limit themselves to governance structures? How, for example, to innovate in terms of actors involved, selected indicators, policies ... In short, three main axes will guide this special session:

  • Innovative strategies for territorial attractiveness

What motivates decisions about business location and investment? What are the strategies put in place by public decision-makers to attract new businesses or new populations? What hospitality policies are in place?

  • Quality of life, well-being and territorial attractiveness

How do households and individuals make their residential choices? What is the weight of amenities in these choices? What is the place of the natural environment? What distinguishes a territory and makes it a good place to live?

  • Territorial perceptions and representations in the service of attractiveness

How do residents and businesses value quality of life? How do we choose images that represent us? What images are there and what are we taking advantage of? How to choose an image that reflects the identity and aspirations of the greatest number in attractiveness strategies?

In each of these axes, several subthemes or methodologies can be addressed, in particular:
• Methodologies to investigate attractiveness, including the construction of indicators of attractiveness and well-being;
• Urban-rural relations;
• Demographic balance;
• Sectors of economic activity;
• Creative class;
• Hospitality policies.

This special session is open to academic contributions, but also to feedbacks of territorial innovations from associations, or other territorial actors, and promotes the participation of civil society. We hope to publish the best contributions in the form of a special issue or  book.

Submission guidelines

Proposals can be submitted directly, in English or French, on the EUGEO 2017 website

before April 24 th 2017.

Scientific Committee

  • Christian Vandermotten (President of the Belgian Royal Society of Geography, and Vice-President of the Belgian National Committee of Geography, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, President of the scientific committee)
  • David Bassens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Asya Stefanova Bogoeva (Bulgarian Association of Professional Geographers and Regionalists)
  • Konrad Czapiewski (Polish Geographical Society, Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geography)
  • Elena Dell'Agnese (Società Geografica Italiana, Vice-President IGU)
  • Frédéric Dobruszkès (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Franco Farinelli (Dipartimento di Filosofia e Comunicazione, Università di Bologna)
  • Federico Ferretti (University College Dublin)
  • Dino Gavinelli (Associazione Italiana Insegnanti Geografia, Università degli Studi di Milano)
  • Matthieu Kervyn (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Christian Kesteloot (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
  • Zoltán Kovács (Hungarian Geographical Society, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
  • Zaiga Krisjane (Latvian Geographical Society, University of Latvia)
  • Michela Lazzeroni (Società di Studi Geografici, Universita di Pisa)
  • Nathalie Lemarchand (French National Committee of Geography, Université de Paris-8, Vice-chairwoman of the IGU)
  • Catherine Linard (Université de Namur)
  • Patrick Meyfroidt (Université Catholique de Louvain)
  • Robert Musil (Österreichisches Geographisches Gesellschaft, Universität Wien)
  • Henk Ottens (President of EUGEO and representative of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society, Universiteit Utrecht)
  • Ana Pejdo (Croatian Geographical Society Zadar)
  • Jean-Robert Pitte (Société de Géographie Paris, Université de Paris-Sorbonne)
  • Kathy Reilly (Irish Geographical Society, National University of Ireland, Galway)
  • Tadeusz Siwek (Czech Geographical Society)
  • Christopher Sohn (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research et Université de Luxembourg)
  • Ladislav Tolmaci (Slovak Geographical Society)
  • Veerle Vanacker (Université Catholique de Louvain)
  • Mathieu Vancriekingen (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Ann Verhetsel (Universiteit Antwerpen)


  • Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique - Palace of the Academies - Rue Ducale 1
    Bruxelles, Belgique (1000)


  • lundi 24 avril 2017


  • attractivité, qualité de vie, territoire, indicateur


  • Pierre-Mathieu Le Bel
    courriel : pmlebel [at] gmail [dot] com

URLS de référence

Source de l'information

  • Pierre-Mathieu Le Bel
    courriel : pmlebel [at] gmail [dot] com

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« Attractivité territoriale et qualité de vie », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le mardi 11 avril 2017,

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