Valentine Judge is defending his PhD thesis "Machine Learning for Land Use Change Analysis and Modelling. An exploration of urban development on the French-German border area"


The defense will take place in Besançon at the Salon Preclin, UFR SLHS on July 16th at 3pm.

This work was directed by Jean-Philippe Antoni, Professor at the University of Borgogne, laboratory ThéMA and co-directed by Olivier Klein, Associate researcher at the LISER Institute, Luxembourg.


Defense jury

Francisco Escobar, Professor at the University of Alcala, Spain

Giovanni Fusco, Associate researcher "HDR" at CNRS, France

Guy Engelen, Emeritus researcher VITO Institute, Belgium

Bernhard Köppen, Professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany



Urban development can take different forms or features, depending on its geographical location and its socioeconomic, political and cultural context. Nevertheless, the overall action relies on one fundamental principle: building construction in order to give people housing. Therefore, the main objective of this research is to determine whether an underlying universal aspect of the urban development process can be distinguished from a specific one, being the reflect of local specificities. Specifically, this research analyzes the land use change on the French-German cross-border area. Indeed, the border context enhances the difference within this territory. Nonetheless, the internal European border importance as a separation is getting lower while European Union agreement and cooperation are getting stronger. Consequently, we tend to question a potential homogeneity of such area according the urban development analysis. To gain a better understanding of the urban development in the French-German cross-border area, a specific method using a decision tree (DT) process to generate and calibrate urban transition rules for cellular automata (CA) has been developed. In order to define CA rules, the learning algorithm is provided with data of land use, from 1990 and 2006, accessibility to the main urban area and country location. The findings demonstrate that the rule set identified rules, which are constrained at different levels: from the initial land use state needed for urbanization to the geographical location in a specific country. The analysis therefore shows rules specific to France or Germany, as well as rules free from any state location constraints, which characterize a cross-border urbanization process. The latter is more influenced by the location toward main urban areas. Proper neighborhood and internal characteristic of urbanized cells depending of the nature of the rule (French, German or Cross-border) are explicitly defined. In conclusion, this research contribution can be summarized according to the following three orientations: (1) from a theoretical point of view, which propose to identify urban processes degree of universality, (2) from a thematic outlook, describing the influence of the urban development process location on the border area, (3) from a methodological point of view, pairing DT and AC to automatically design and calibrate the urban development model used in this research work.


thèse Valentine

Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 November 2019 10:43
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