Jean Houssemand is defending his PhD thesis : Conceptualization and evaluation of a typology of vertical housing concept for sustainable urban planning


The defense will take place in Dijon at the University of Burgundia at the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Salle des Thèses (6 Esplanade Erasme), on february 14th at 14pm.


This work was directed by Jean-Philippe Antoni, Professor at the University of Burgundy, laboratory ThéMA.


Defense jury

Denis Bocquet, Professor at the National School of Architecture of Strasbourg

Éric Charmes, Director of Research at the Laboratory for interdisciplinary research on cities, spaces and society (EVS RIVES), Graduate School of Civil, Environmental and Urban Engineering, Vaulx-en-Velin

Pierre Frankhauser, Emeritus Professor at the University of Franche-Comté

Hélène Haniotou, Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece



Context. The current urban development process is the result of a paradoxical situation. On the one end, families prefer individual housing, which finds the favourable conditions to its spreading in the more or less distant from towns outskirts, while wishing to benefit from services (proximity to amenities, public transport offers, etc.) which are rather the corelate of dense urban centralization. On the other hand, in order to fight against environmental, social and economic costs of urban sprawl, and also aim towards a more sustainable city, the urban renovation and compact city projects lead to some density levels that only collective housing enables to reach.

Problematic. So, the equation « control of the urban sprawl, satisfaction of the house request and sustainable city » seems to be unsolvable, especially due to the lack of a housing offer being able to combine the particularities of the detached house and the needs of urban density. Two relatively separate tandems « housing / territory and induced mobility » result from it : individual housing, which is dependent on cars, is mainly situated in peri-urban areas, whereas collective housing, which is not approved by most families, gather in the town centers with many alternatives to cars. In such a context, through the main concept of « vertical housing development », this doctoral research work arises the hypothesis that the enlargement of the prism of the mobilities and urban areas analysis should enable the emergency of new solutions, which will include the housing and territories specifications in a multidisciplinary and multiscale way.

Methodology. In order to confirm this hypothesis, the methodology hinges on two steps. First, a review of the architectural literature allowed to define the « vertical housing concept » as an innovative answer to the equation which is insolvable nowadays : indeed, the history of architecture informs us profusely on the opportunities of a vertical urbanism unexploited until now ; this enables the creation of hanging artificial grounds to build in floors detached houses. In second place, the state of the art allowed to identify the main determinants of housing attractiveness while confronting the two classical tandems (individual/collective) to the concept of « vertical housing development » and suggests a theoretical model adaptable to different cases. Validation. The model has been evaluated three times. Firstly, the information gathered during a photo-elicitation inquiry allow to validate the architectural choices a posteriori and make sure of their suitability in terms of residential preferences (social validation). Secondly, a legal evaluation shows that a development of the current regulatory measures is indeed partially necessary to the operational development of the model, but the latter can nevertheless quickly fulfill the demand while fighting against urban sprawl. Thirdly, a geographical evaluation which compares the deployment of the model with the reality of available grounds and the localization of amenities and transport infrastructure, shows that it would concretely allow to densify the town and its outskirts according to a logic close to the Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Results. Three major results arise from this evaluation. Indeed, the « vertical housing development » concept seems (i) to match with the residential choices from a significant part of the French families, (ii) to be immediately authorized and managed by the current legal and regulatory framework, (iii) to benefit from a consequent potential of development at the level of the Strasbourg-Eurometropolis which serves as an example to this thesis. Moreover, at a time when multidisciplinary and multiscale approaches are questioned, this thesis work, which links an architectural approach at the housing level and a geographical approach at the city level, gives a specific example of new types of housing formalization, based on the original principle of a decoupling between « housing types » and « territories ».


Keywords : Housing types, Housing concept, Urban form, Urban renewal, Compact city, Sustainable city, Evaluation, Modelization, Multidisciplinarity, Multiscalarity

Housemand ill thèse 



Last Updated: Monday, 03 February 2020 10:24

Seydou Ba is defending his PhD thesis : The issue of viability and socio-economic development in institutional territories facing administrative divisions in Senegal


The defense will take place in Besançon at the Salon Preclin, UFR SLHS on decembre 16th at 10am.

This work was directed by Alexandre Moine, Professor at the University of Franche-Comté, laboratory ThéMA.


Defense jury

Frédéric Giraut, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland

Jean-Christophe Gay, Professor at the University of Sophia-Antipolis, Nice, France

Stéphanie Lima, Lecturer at the INU Champollion, Albi, France

Abdourahmane Sene, Lecturer at the University of Assane Seck de Ziguinchor and Director of spatial planning of the Ministery of « Gouvernance territoriale, du Développement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire », Senegal

Christian Guinchard, Lecturer – HDR at the University of Franche-Comté, France


The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the process of construction and delimitation of communal territories in Senegal. Indeed, in Senegal, the communes constitute the basic territorial collectivities. They have legal personality and financial autonomy. They are created by decree, which must be concretely translated into a territorial division.

During the first years of 2000, the steady pace of administrative divisions led to a rapid change in the territorial organization and in parallel to the number of territorialized actors. This dynamic of recomposition then provoked a lively debate on the underpinnings of the divisions and the relevance of the territorial entities. This situation is all the more worrying as a number of conflicts between local and regional authorities have become widespread.

However, the creation of new territories in Senegal is very rarely accompanied by a materialization of their spatial limits. This phenomenon creates a great deal of uncertainty around the boundary and causes various conflicts that hinder the management and development of communities whose physical territory remains more or less poorly known.

It is in this context that we are interested in the process of administrative divisions to understand how territorial boundaries are defined and set up? What roles do they play in the management, ownership, cohesion and development of the territories they contribute to create and of which they constitute a determining component? What is the real existence of these territories? What do they represent for the actors? It is to these concerns that this thesis has tried to answer, through the example of 5 communes in the Saint-Louis region.

This research was conducted on the basis of a systemic approach, the conduct of semi-structured interviews and the use of mind maps. The goal is to analyze and understand the complex process of building boundaries and territories.

For data processing and analysis, we used a method of empirical analysis of content in order to understand the different spatial reference scales of the actors; the process of creating municipalities; the actors involved and their roles; finally, their level of appropriation of the communal territories.




Last Updated: Monday, 03 February 2020 08:42

Maxime Colomb is defending his PhD thesis entitled "Multi-scale simulation of realistic forms of residential development from the parcel to the metropolitan area". 


The defense will take place at the Université Paris Est, in the IGN (Institut Géographique National), 73 avenue de Paris, Saint Mandé on September 27th, 2019.


This work was directed by Julien Perret, Senior researcher, IGN (French national Geographic Institute) and Cécile Tannier, Senior researcher at CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Laboratoire ThéMA and co-directed by Mickaël Brasebin, Research Officer, IGN.

Defense jury

Cyrille Genre-Grandpierre, Professor at the University of Avignon, France

Jacques Teller, Professor at the University of Liège, Belgium

Hélène Houot, Lecturer at the University of Franche-Comté, France

Florent Le Néchet, Lecture at the University Paris-Est, France



The process of urban sprawl of urban agglomerations is very often criticised for numerous reasons. The dynamics of residential developments, at the origin of urban sprawl, are very complex and result from the interaction of several phenomena. Many laws and regulations are supposed to control the construction of buildings in order to limit the negative impacts of urbanisation. It is nevertheless difficult to anticipate the effects of such a regulatory corpus. Its multi-scale nature, related to the different levels of regulation, the different regulated subjects and the different parties executing those regulations complicate the forecasting of their effects and the spatial configurations they contribute to create.

Here, we propose a simulation model for the residential development of an urban agglomeration. It produces realistic configurations respecting the orientations, goals and constraints stemming from urban planning documents. To that end, we elaborate a coupling of two existing spatial simulation models. This coupling, named ArtiScales, follows a top-down approach in simulating the shape of the residential development of an entire study area by selecting the constructible parcels and by simulating the construction potential of each plot. ArtiScales integrates the MUP-City model, that allows us to select interesting locations with respect to the built configuration of the study area and to several points of interest (transportation networks, shopping facilities, services, etc.). We develop a parcel management model in order to select the existing parcels interesting for residential development and to recompose them when needed according to the chosen scenarios and to specific situations (densification, special operations). Finally, we use the SimPLU3D model to simulate the constructibility of each parcel. This model generates spatial configurations, in three dimensions, respecting the regulatory constraints originating from the local urban planning scheme (Plan Local de l’Urbanisme - PLU). We concentrate the analysis of the coupling results on the estimation of created housing units and its agreement with the goals defined by the local housing program (Programme Local de l’Habitat - PLH) and on the housing density by hectare and its agreement with the goals defined by the territorial coherence scheme (Schéma de Cohérence Territoriale - SCoT).

Spatial simulation models are subject to an important variability that questions the reliability of simulation results. MUP-City being particularly subject to such variability, we conduct a complete analysis of its simulation results in order to caracterise the parameters responsible for this variability and how it translates to the produced spatial configurations. We distinguish two types of variations : the ones caused by scenaristic parameters, allowing to simulate different residential development forms, and those caused by technical parameters (internal to the model), allowing to propose variants of the scenarios. The variability between the variants is compared with the variability found in the study of MUP-City results in order to see if the model coupling absorbs or amplifies it.

The ArtiScales model ( is available as free and open source software and can be used in many applications. A set of simulations representing different scenarios has been explored on the Grand Besançon territory (East of France). Simulations carried out represent a potential for residential development conforming to all the regulations at work. We also propose simulations that modify the zoning authorising the construction or not.


Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 November 2019 08:42
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