Spatial planning

Task 4: Designing and planning sustainable cities and regions: systemic and multi-scale approaches.

The long-term influence of humans on their environment is increasing all the time, particularly in emerging countries and the countries of the South. This, coupled with global changes (climatic, demographic, energetic, technological, economic, etc.) and the endemic problems associated with them (pollution, hazards, health issues and impoverishment etc.), prompts us to adopt a new, more sustainable, approach to spatial and urban planning. The scale of the challenges means we need to develop solutions that are built around a systems vision that combines the interactions between societal demand, the organization of areas, the use of networks and urban environments, the development of techniques, environmental and energy issues and the attitudes of players and a multi-scale approach that is both temporal and spatial. The areas that are of concern to IFSTTAR are metropolitan, periurban and corridors.

Goal 4A

To analyze, model and assess the links between areas, networks, mobility and public policy.

Context and issues

Achieving more sustainable systems in urban and other areas requires us to improve our understanding of the dynamic that governs the interactions between the practices and strategies of the various players (individuals, the business community and public institutions) that create areas and the mobility (of persons and goods) that occurs in them. The practices in question relate to locational decisions, lifestyles, modes of production and the regulation strategies implemented by the public authorities. The scale of the issues makes it necessary to combine quantitative and qualitative approaches, think beyond the national level, and, last, conduct multi-scale analyses that relate in particular to the inter-relationships between cities and areas.

Goal 4B

To analyze, model and evaluate the interactions between cities, networks and natural environments.

Context and issues

Sustainable spatial and urban planning depends on an understanding of the complex underlying systems and processes and an evaluation of short- or long-term impacts of the public policies that are planned or implemented. Consequently, we need a full set of tools in order to make diagnoses (analysis of the impacts on natural and built environments), conduct modelling to enable us to understand the processes at work, compare scenarios in order to inform decision-making, and lastly, observe and characterize the dynamics of the systems and associated impacts (pollution in particular).

Goal 4C

To analyze, model and evaluate the relationships between logistical systems, production systems and areas.

Context and issues

Goods movements are the outcome of complex interactions that occur at the different spatial scales, between production systems, logistical systems, transport networks, public policies and consumption practices. IFSTTAR must improve its understanding of these interactions in order to inform public decision-making not only by evaluating current models but also by exploring the possibilities and limits of new models for organizing freight transport and the occupations involved in it, and also for the location of business activities, particularly logistics.

Goal 4D

To characterize, evaluate and manage crises, risks and safety in large areas.

Context and issues

Society and the systems associated with it are becoming increasingly vulnerable because of their interdependency and a high number of aggravating factors: high and growing levels of urbanization, global changes and discontinuities in trends such as climate change, the increasing scarcity of natural resources, endemic pollution of environments and the reduction of biodiversity. In this unstable context, particular attention must be given to investigating the impacts of these factors and the risks associated with them, to crisis management and, before all these, to making social, urban and transportation systems more robust.