From 12/05/2012 to 12/08/2012

ENTPE  -  3 Rue Maurice Audin, 69120 Vaulx-en-Velin


International Seminar Vaulx-en-Velin
Today, global development is linked to the development of cities. By actively participating in the growth of contemporary society, cities, local governments and their economic partners, are major agents of social change, locally and globally.

Nowadays, urban development is a relentless process due to the continuous search of performing territories worldwide. The multiple interactions of actors, geographical scales and functions draw the components of a living, productive and cultural space that goes beyond the administrative limits - the metropolitan area.

However, this concentration of economic, political and social activities, creating wealth, and economic and cultural influence is also the root of a worsening of social segregation, exclusion and relegation. They are growing to the point of challenging the "social contract" by the juxtaposition of "societies" who oppose or who often prefer to ignore each other.

One response to this crisis is embodied in the "city policies", ie public policy of social and territorial solidarity. However, while the framework of "urban policies" remains the one of urbanity, what emerges today with increasing force are issues that concern the relationship between urban and rural areas. The same issues that call into question the  "social contract" are stressed but refer to the relation metropolis/periphery.
These issues are raised in a particular way in the suburban area that, according to the definition given by Eric Charmes: "... has an essential feature: it is a space of urban dynamics, since its growth is clearly related to the proximity of a metropolis. But at the same time it keeps its own identity, something quite close to the order of the rural".

Those territories between rural and urban dimension are struggling to find their place in the process of metropolisation. It shows a gradual withdrawal of public services and favorable conditions for the development of social relations and activities. We are witnessing a decline in the "Republican conquest of territory"; territorial solidarity being undermined by the concentration of development and services in the most efficient territories as the metropolitan heart, to the detriment of its periphery.
So we see in these suburban areas different forms of breaks, bursts: a gradual creation of the "scattered city": a political fragmentation, the landscape fragmentation and the social and economic disintegration.