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Presentation of TVES research unit

The Territories, Cities, Environment and Society (Territoires, Villes, Environnement et Société – TVES) EA4477 research unit is currently a multidisciplinary team in human and social sciences (geography, urban and spatial planning, economics, sociology, political science and management). The research unit numbers 46 lecturers and professors, 4 teaching assistants and 42 PhD students from Lille 1 University Nouvelle fenetre and University of the Littoral Opal Coast Nouvelle fenetre. The grouping of the Lille and Dunkerque teams led to the constitution of a regional social sciences research center into urban space, urban dynamics, territories and the environment.


The research unit’s scientific object

The unit’s name accounts for its scientific object. It can be defined by four words: territories, cities, environment and society. The notion of territory is at the heart of scientific research in geography and spatial planning. It refers to the relation between humans as constituted in social groups and the space in which they live – in other words, their living environment. These social and productive relationships give the territory its social and historical depth. The territory is seen as the place where social and political logics become articulated through the games played by the various individuals living together and making up society.
The city is a geographic object, a territorial system, and a historical and social construct. In the city, men and women are all at once inhabitants, citizens, users, consumers, and production factors. The city is also a three-dimensional space which becomes a landscape whenever it is interpreted and represented. Indeed, the city is not only a territorial system but also a system of signs to be understood by reference to the concept of public space, which researchers define as that part of urban space built to facilitate exchanges and produce urban quality.
Moreover, the environment stands in a constant relation to society. Both the spatial planning of the physical environment to minimize natural risks as well as the overall development of the territory must accord to the principles of sustainability. When combined with the notion of living environment, the environment directly concerns urban regeneration projects or projects to promote new, so-called “natural” spaces, which involve a specific environmental management.
The last term in the unit’s name, society, flows logically from what has just been said. The question of territorial development is part of a larger societal logic. Urban and spatial planning policies, which impact whole territories, are intervention tools to transform society.


The research axes

Two research axes structure a number of themes which are being investigated by current teams:

  • Axis 1: urban mutations and territorial development: attractivity, mobility and urban planning. (Scientific supervisor : Philippe Menerault)
  • Axis 2: the environment, risks, nature and society. (Scientific supervisor : Helga-Jane Scarwell)