2nd research focus

2nd theme | Metropolisation, urbanity and culture of living 


Scientific context

In the research linked to this theme, the team has aimed at understanding the images and figures that convey meaning when it comes to the metropolitan space project. The researchers have questioned the territorial scenarios and analysed the metropolis both as a space connected and dominated by the flows of citizen-friendly mobility and as a political space that conveys democratic and cultural meanings. The last generation metropolises are often defined as “metropolitan islands” that are deeply interconnected and form an archipelago of “global cities”. However, the metropolis is defined in parallel as a cultural place of innovation, creation, impetus and creativity, with a strong local identity. This definition approximates the acceptation given in Germany to the word metropolis, which is nearly used as a synonym for Weltstadt : “World city”, at the linkage between the global and local dimensions. The researchers analyse in this research focus the new ways to make and consider the metropolitan areas in the era of climate change and energy transition : both the projects that rely on emerging technologies (digital projects, smart city...) and artistic projetcs (creative cities, urban and rural landscape installations) able to create new ties between the various urban areas (housing neighborhoods, renovated brownfields, infrastructure sectors dedicated to mobility etc.). As for the 1st research focus, the stakeholders are groups or single designers who use architecture as a tool for construction related to institutions and structures with various interests (municipal bodies, multidisciplinary groups, artistic organizations, groups of citizens etc.).

In order to better understand the tools, devices and processes of the metropolitan project, the aims of this research focus are the following ones :

  • Analyse both the major strategies and sectoral projects that have influenced the metropolitan development during the 30 last years, with specific regard to the transnational spatial planning of the Upper Rhine.
  • Analyse the innovative processes in terms of dialogue between stakeholders that has enabled the creation of “hybrid stages” of exchanges and discussions, especially with the population.
  • Analyse the role of infrastructures linked to mobility in the development of major metropolitan areas and their capacity to produce urbanity at a local level.
  • Understand the inhabited space and its organization at different geographical scales - buildings, islands, towns, territories - but also at different socio-historical scales.

The participatory way, which is often at the heart of these approaches, and the interactions and conflicts between institutional projects and alternative ones have also been interrogated. This focus implies taking into account the hybridization effects and the mix between different fields of knowledge and urban practices.



Redefinition of conceptual tools linked to the metropolitan space project. Analyse of the impact of mobility infrastructures on current metropolitan areas (Upper Rhine metropolis and asian metropolises). Participation to the conception of decision support tools in the cross-border dimension. Interest in artistic, or more broadly “creative” approaches and their interactions with existing or projected physical spaces (town, landscape) and social spaces. Research and actions linked to political stakeholders and technicians of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis, expanded to economical stakeholders, in the conception of sustainable territories, post-carbon and resilient technologies. Links between knowledge and know-how. Overcoming the difficulties when it comes to the communication of scientific results and the co-construction of project scenarios with the territorial stakeholders.


Main events 

  • ZIEGLER Volker and NEIDLINGER Dominik : organization of numerous seminars and study days on the theme  Project cultures in Germany and Switzerland : the IBA Bâle experience , at the Modern Art Museum of Strasbourg - MAMCS and in Bâle, between 2012 and 2014. Main guests : Peter Zlonicky (IBA Emscher Park) ; René Tabouret, around the theme Unusual projects and territorial strategy : l’IBA, an innovative action process   ; Pier-Maël Anezo (IBA Bâle) ; Eric Chenderowsky (Eco-Cité project and the development of the Est-West Axis in Strasbourg).
  • MAZZONI Cristiana and D'EMILIO Luna : organization of the international symposium around the theme Strasbourg : laboratory of metropolitan projects , as a closure of the research programme POPSU/MEDDE, with the support of the BRAUP/MCC, ADEUS, CAUE and ENSA Strasbourg.
  • MAZZONI Cristiana : creation of the  Observatoire de la fabrique métropolitaine, with Eric Chenderowsky (Strasbourg Eurometropolis), 2013-2014. This platform, which has been renamed  Atelier des mobilités métropolitaines has been an institutional framework (ENSAS-Strasbourg Eurometropolis) for the organization of numerous seminars, workshops and inter-actor Fab-Lab, 2014- 2016 which have involved local stakeholders (ADEUS, SCOTERS, Strasbourg Eurometropolis), french experts (CEREMA, MEDDE, SYSTRA), and foreign scientists (especially Chinese).
  • BORGHI Roberta, D'EMILIO Luna and GRIGOROVSCHI Andreea : organization of Citizen Dialogues, platform of dialogue between citizens around modern metropolitan issues in the context of 24 hours of architecture  on behalf of the Maisons de l’Architecture de France Network, Strasbourg, Manufacture des Tabacs, 20th October 2012. Participation to the World Cities Summit _ Ecocity, 2013 in Nantes : Local democracy and sustainable city at the metropolitan scale : “ l'expérience des Dialogues Citoyens à Strasbourg”, 25-27th September 2013.


Ongoing theses

  • KUDRIAVTSEV Alexandre, Les enjeux des changements climatiques à l’échelle du Rhin supérieur : entreprises et collectivités territoriales, under the supervision of F. Rudolf, thesis financed by InterregV.
  • LAIFA Lyes, Gentrification et dynamique socio-urbaine, under the supervision of F. Rudolf and G. Desmarais.
  • DURMAZ Nihal, L’instrumentalisation du risque environnemental dans le processus de métropolisation à Istanbul, under the supervision of F. Rudolf and S. Agkonul.
  • PARK Jiyeon, Aménagement du territoire, levier de développement durable : étude comparée des systèmes d’innovation français et coréens dans le processus de métropolisation, sous la direction de F. Rudolf, thèse en cours.
  • JARAJ Mélanie, La transformation du boulevard par la création de nouveaux dispositifs de bus : BHNS / BRT / BSP. Regards croisés entre la France et la Colombie, sous la direction de C. Mazzoni, soutenue en 2014.
  • MAHFOUD Ali, L’expérimentation architecturale des gares en Europe : interaction entre image et usage, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni.
  • DEBUS Lionel, La gare ferroviaire contemporaine : une mise en miroir franco-chinoise de l’architecture de la mobilité au prisme des métropoles des courtes distances, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni.
  • WELSCH Marie-Christine, Entre ville et mobilité. Perception du mouvement et conception du paysage urbain, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, "Sciences de l’Homme et de la société” doctoral School, Strasbourg University.