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French-British Planning Study Group - Autumn Seminar - NANTES - 24-25 OCTOBER 2016


In 2015, members of the French and British Planning Study Group* decided to work on planning and policy issues linked to sustainable urban development.
On May 11-12 2015, researchers and practitioners met in Bristol, for a seminar jointly organised by Bristol University and the University of the West of England. The theme was « European Green Cities: building urban resilience and sustainability in an era of austerity ». 

The debates at the Bristol seminar showed that sustainable urban development is a multi-faceted complex field of research and of practice. Several entry points for analysis are possible and more comparison is needed within and across countries. Hence, Nantes, European Green Capital for 2013, was chosen as the place for the 2016 meeting. Questions to be addressed include what is the legacy of such a label in Nantes? Are there similarities or differences from what can be observed in Bristol and cities which have held other titles (e.g. Liverpool, Lille and Marseille with European Capital of Culture)?

Nantes has been chosen as the location for the Autumn 2016 seminar as it is a very active city on the European urban scene; the mayor of Nantes for example, currently chairs Eurocities. In the French context, Nantes is often seen by other cities and even by the State as a ‘model’ regarding public transport, brownfield reuse, social mixity, or urban regeneration through arts and culture (Devisme, 2009; Roy and Nicolas, 2015).
In this context, we wish to analyze the circulation of urban policy models and “best practices”. This theme was already explored in the case of Nantes and other cities (Devisme and Dumont, 2011) and it will be the central topic of a series of workshops organised by Laurent Devisme and Renaud Epstein at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Ange Guépin in 2016 and 2017. In a recent paper, Béal, Epstein and Pinson (2015) argue that the increasing mobility of practices, knowledge and initiatives in urban policies cannot be explained only by the local and transnational dynamics of urban policy-making. In the case of France, they point at the restructuring of the State, in which the State strengthens its capacity to steer at a distance urban policies, while accompanying the rise in power of ‘métropoles’. Can we witness a similar process in Great Britain? What does it imply for national and local efforts to adapt the urban systems to climate change?

The group welcomes any suggestions for contributions on these issues.

Authors are invited to submit proposals (in French or English) until September 1, 2016.

The seminar ‘Exploring urban models and policy transfer: the legacy of European Green Capitals’ will be organised by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes on October 24-25 2016. It will consist of 3-4 plenary sessions, a round table with key actors and stakeholders and a field trip.

It is possible to participate in the seminar as an auditor, without submit a proposal.

The meeting is supported by Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes, Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) and Association pour la Promotion de l’Enseignement et de la Recherche en Aménagement-Urbanisme (APERAU).


  • Béal Vincent, Epstein Renaud, Pinson Gilles (2015) « La circulation croisée : modèles, labels et bonnes pratiques dans les rapports centre-périphérie », Gouvernement et Action Publique, 3.

  • Devisme Laurent (dir.) (2009), Nantes : petite et grande fabrique urbaine, Editions Parenthèses, 2009.

  • Devisme Laurent, Dumont Marc  (dir.) (2011), « Les modèles urbains, entre courants, références et performances », Lieux communs n°14, Laua, Ensa Nantes.
  • Roy Elise, Nicolas Amélie (2015), « La "clusterisation" du projet urbain de l'Ile de Nantes », in Lefeuvre Marie-Pierre (dir.) Faire métropole. De nouvelles règles du jeu ? Paris, Le Moniteur, pp. 71-97.

*The French and British Planning Study Group/ Groupe d’étude sur l’urbanisme français et britannique was founded in 1997 by researchers and practitioners from France and Great Britain that were interested in comparing urban policy and planning issues on both sides of the Channel.  Now a thematic network of AESOP, the French and British Planning Study Group wishes to keep openness and informality as key values. Membership is free and any discipline dealing with urban and regional issues is welcome! Participants can be interested by discovering current change in the other country, or be involved in a more systematic cross-national comparison. And they may come from other countries than France and Great Britain.



Welcome to the second seminar of the French and British Planning Study Group

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  • Call for contributions opens 07/06/2016, ends 01/09/2016  new deadline: 12/09/2016
  • Acceptance 20/09/2016 25/09/2016

  • Programme 07/10/2016

  • Registration opens 07/06/2016, ends 14/10/2016






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