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.


Badra Merrad Benyamina is defending his PhD thesis "Space Movements and Mutations in Algiers" in Dijon


The defense will take place at the MSH of Dijon on July 1st at 14h30.

This work was directed by André Larceneux, Emeritus Professor at the University of Borgogne and co-directed by Tahar Baouni, Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme (EPAU-Alger), laboratoire VUDD


Defense jury

Corinne Blanquart, Director of Research at IFSTTAR,Planning, Mobilities and Environment Department

Marie-Hélene Massot, Professor at the University Paris-EST Créteil, LAB’Urba

Thomas Thevenin, Professor at the University of Bourgogne, Laboratoire ThéMA



Algiers port and city’s exceptional history is driven by its remarkable site nestled on a rocky spur. Yet this morphology constrained the urban growth of a city that could pretend joigning the ranks of large metropolis .During its history port and city relationship took multiple forms, frequently compatible yet sometimes divergent and even opposed, leading to inversing domination status of both actors. Algiers capital of a 40 million inhabitants state, has always been a laboratory of urban politics since the colonial era to the institutional constructions of independent Algeria, regardless of deficient statistical tools.  However, the space in Algiers is confronted to great challenges due to an anarchic growth of its population, fragmented urban spaces and unbearable motion constraints.  If road and collective transportation infrastructures are growingly programed and achieved by successive plans, their articulation with built-up areas and housing developments with the aim of eradicating slums does not seem to be really coherent.  Furthermore, the location of communal amenities which seem to be relating to real estate opportunities, adds to the complexity of the urban fabric.  However, under this apparent complexity, arise deep urban logics that should be highlighted and modeled.


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

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