HDR defended at ESPACE

List of HDRs defended at the ESPACE laboratory by year

PEREZ Sandra

Sandra PEREZ

10 March 2023, Nice

For a [geographic] dose response in environmental health

Virginie CHARLES, Professor of Geography, Université de Saint-Étienne, Thesis rapporteur
Céline ROZENBLAT, Professor of Geography, Université de Lausanne, Thesis rapporteur
Francelyne MARANO, Professor emeritus of Cell Biology and Toxicology, Université de Paris, Thesis rapporteur
Sébastien GADAL, Professor of Geography, Aix-Marseille, Reviewer
Philippe WEBER, Professor of Computer Engineering, Université de Lorraine, Reviewer
Pascal STACCINI, Professor of Public Health, Université Côte d’Azur, Guarantee

The field of environmental health is severely under-theorized. This is explained by the fact that it is a relatively young sector, and that studies are time-consuming and complex. Moreover, these studies are neither recurrent nor uniform, the methodologies used vary greatly, as well as the target populations. They are conducted on different geographical spaces and scales, often appear to be contradictory, and the intrinsic characteristics of the spaces on which they are deployed are rarely taken into account. From then on, their spatial dependence puts a brake on any generalisation, which is necessary for theorising. This is the reason why we propose a methodological chain based on the use of Bayesian networks to get to the root causes of environmental health pathologies (aetiology). The operational concept of eXpace is also expounded. The idea is to take the geographical space and its diversity as health index via a causalities/potential/prevention triptych. The results can be used in numerous research perspectives, notably in metabolomics, making it possible not only to validate the eXpaces found and introduce the experimentation into geographical spaces, but also to fine-tune the inclusion of patients in this type of analysis.

Key words
Health geography, environmental health, exposome, pathogenic spaces, eXpace concept, AI, Bayesian networks




13 december 2023, Nîmes

Environmental psychology and cultural psychology: a contribution to the study of the adaptation of coastal societies to climate change

Valérie FOINTIAT, Professor, Aix-Marseille Université, Thesis rapporteur
Oscar NAVARRO-CARRASCAL, Professor, Université de Nîmes, Thesis rapporteur
Enric POL, Professor, Université de Barcelone, Thesis rapporteur
Samuel ROBERTResearch Director CNRS, Reviewer
Karine WEISS, Professor, Université de Nîmes, Guarantor


The consequences of climate change, such as rising sea levels, marine erosion, and flooding, set a major challenge to the inhabitants and managers of coastal cities. The work presented here aims to contribute to the reflection on the adaptation of coastal cities to climate change from a perspective that combines environmental psychology and cultural psychology.

Based on methodological developments in the field of the relationship to nature in general, and to the sea in particular, the studies carried out analyse adaptation mainly through social representations which can be considered as the container and content of culture.

Our main hypothesis is that climate change and its effects on the coast are part of a process of acculturation, imposed or chosen, involving maritime identities. The synthesis of several studies confirms this hypothesis, revealing mechanisms of resistance to change and significant territorial inertia.

The environment being a multidisciplinary subject, this work has been carried out in an interdisciplinary, or even transdisciplinary approach, with many colleagues from social sciences, notably from geography, and from environmental sciences.

Key words
Environmental psychology, Cultural psychology, Adaptation to climate change, Coastal societies


19 december 2022, Montpellier

Events, congresses, cities and tourism: territorial anchoring through the prism of a globalised immaterial…
An empirical and scientific field under construction

Salvador ANTON CLAVÉ, Professor, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Espagne)
Dominique CROZAT, Professor emeritus, Université Montpellier III, Guarantor
Nathalie FABRY, Professor, Université Gustave Eiffel
Maria GRAVARI-BARBAS, Professor, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
Frédéric LERICHE, Professor, Université de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines
Jacques SPINDLER, Professor emeritus, Université Côte d’Azur
Nadine TOURNOIS, Professor emeritus, Université Côte d’Azur

International meetings and congress tourism, a high-level networking activity, is characterised by a territorial anchoring of metropolitan essence, intrinsically linked to a globalised intangible, the basis of today’s multiplied territorial strategies and policies. This multiscalar mobility is complex, generated by multi-factorial desires for travel, sociability, discovery and exchange with peers. As an open interface system, convention tourism brings together territories and worlds with different functions, structures, habits and objectives: the worlds of tourism and the worlds of scientific, socio-professional, research and leisure communities. Its organisational and spatial logics are then questioned by mobilising and discussing the concepts of tourism, urban/metropolitan tourism, tourism events and globalisation/glocalisation, metropolisation, attractiveness, image and territorial marketing. Meeting and conference tourism is a subject of research that is little developed in France, or even atypical. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, it is characterised, determined, framed, defined, analysed and measured at different scales, from local to global. In the end, meeting and conference tourism is revealed to be an indicator, a decipherer, a catalyst, a driving force and a challenge for the tourism and metropolitan development of contemporary societies and regions.

Key words
cities/metropolises, tourism, meeting and conference tourism, M.I.C.E., interface system
Consultable online


21 october 2019, Brest

Coastal urbanization: spaces, landscapes and social representations
From territories to the city-sea interface

Louis BRIGAND, Professor of geography, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UMR LETG, Guarantor
Philippe DEBOUDT, Professor of geography, Université de Lille, Laboratoire TVES, Thesis rapporteur
Adriana GHERSI, Professor of landscape architecture, Université de Gênes, Dip.di Scienze per l’Architettura, Thesis rapporteur
Lydie GOELDNER-GIANELLA, Professor of geography, Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, UMR LGP, Reviewer
Catherine MEUR-FEREC, Professor of geography, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UMR LETG, Reviewer
Christine VOIRON-CANICIO, Professor of geography, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, UMR ESPACE, Thesis rapporteur

The shores of our oceans and seas attract people. This has led to several decades of urban pressure involving ecological, economic, social, political and cultural issues. Now widespread, this phenomenon raises the question of the values of human societies, as well as the issue of sustainable development and management of the coastal space and environment. With climate variability and biodiversity erosion confirmed, and in a time of growing concern for ecology, social justice, health and the living environment, the study of cities and coastal urbanization deserves to be on the scientific agenda. This habilitation thesis shows how this question can be explored from a geographic standpoint, taking as framework the concepts of space, landscape and social representations. Examining some fifteen years of research on the shores of the Mediterranean, it sets out the conceptual and methodological bases of this work and the main findings. It also suggests how future investigation could be focused on the city-sea interface. This zone of contact and exchanges between urbanized spaces and the sea is subject to strong constraints while offering societies numerous opportunities. Combining many of the challenges related to maintaining the human coastal presence, the city-sea interface requires further investigation of its functioning and the modalities of its sustainable management.

Key words
coasts, urbanization, landscape, space, social representations, city-sea interface

Consultable onligne




23 november 2018, Avignon

Flash flood warning in France: Understanding and assessing a changing process

Gilles ARNAUD-FASSETTA, Professor, UMR PRODIG, Univ. Paris 7 Diderot, Thesis rapporteur
Daniel DELAHAYE, Professor, UMR LETG CNRS, Univ. Caen Normandie, Reviewer
Didier JOSSELIN, Research Director, UMR ESPACE CNRS, Univ. Avignon, Thesis rapporteur
Karim KERZAZI, Head of office Alerte / Sensibilisation / Education des publics (DGSCGC), Guest
Maria Carmen LLASAT-BOTIJA, Professor, Université de Barcelone, Espagne, Thesis rapporteur
Magali REGHEZZA-ZITT, Associate Professor HDR, UMR LGP, ENS, Reviewer
Anna SERRA LLOBET, Director of the Institute of International Sciences, Univ. Berkeley, USA, Guest
Freddy VINET, Professor, UMR IRD GRED, Univ. Montpellier III, Guarantor

The unpublished volume of this HDR contrasts the brevity and violence of flash floods with the slowness and length of the decision-making process for activating a warning for the population. Sirens, traditional tools inherited from a long regal tradition, are not deployed in potentially disaster-prone areas, and there are few cases where they have actually been activated (4 times in almost 60 years…). Other, more modern tools, such as digital social networks or smartphone applications, could be used to link information to the sound signal, but the choices are more complex than they appear. The belief that warning systems are “apolitical” is in fact a “myth”. Institutions are keen to use them in order to justify large budgets, but without justifying their real impact on the target audiences. On the other hand, just because the tools exist doesn’t mean they will be used or effective, and this observation, made in the early 2000s, is still true today, 20 years on. We now need to think together. We need a single, multi-hazard, multi-channel platform that can be adapted to the context and timeframe of the current dangers or threats. We need to train and coach all the players involved, especially the local population, to make them aware of the unthinkable. But above all, we need to react quickly: the public is unfamiliar with the diversity of warning channels, which leads to hesitation and confusion rather than real responsiveness. This is all the more worrying given that, because they don’t understand what is expected of them, local residents are unable to adopt the reflex measures or behaviour expected of them.
Key words
Warning, flash floods, spatial analysis, France

Consultable online

FUSCO Giovanni

Giovanni FUSCO

5 february 2018, Nice

City, complexity, uncertainy. Knowledge challanges for the geographer and the urban planner

Dominique BADARIOTTI, Professor, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg, UMR Live, Thesis rapporteur
Arnaud BANOSResearch Director CNRS, UMR Géographie-cités, Paris, Thesis rapporteur
Valerio CUTINI, Professor, Università degli Studi di Pisa, DESTEC, Reviewer
Ricardo GONZÁLEZ VILLAESCUSA, Professor, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, UMR CEPAM, Thesis rapporteur
Didier JOSSELINResearch Director CNRS, UMR ESPACE, Avignon, Reviewer and President of the jury
Andrea TETTAMANZI, Professor, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, UMR I3S, Reviewer
Christine VOIRON-CANICIO, Professor, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, UMR ESPACE, Guarantor

With great foresight, Jane Jacobs wrote in 1961 that cities pose problems of organised complexity. More than thirty years of research on the complex city have now been accumulated. How have they helped to transform the way we look at urban spaces? In the context of the most recent urban transformations, driven by metropolisation, peri-urbanisation and smart city solutions, what real contribution has the vision of complex systems made to our understanding of the city and how can it shed light on conscious intervention in its organisation? And how can we guide our thinking about the future of today’s city, to prepare it for the unknowns of the future?
In the study of the city as a complex system, this essay focuses on the structural complexity of its spatial organisation, and in particular its forms, apprehended at different scales and in different registers. Spatial analysis is constantly renewing its approaches to urban form and the study of the multiple relationships between physical form, tissue and configuration, and the human functioning of the city. At the same time, our knowledge of the complex city remains irreducibly uncertain. We observe morphologies and try to infer organisational principles and highly complex underlying mechanisms. In addition, we are trying to identify the weaknesses in current morphologies and the potential for adaptation and resilience in the face of the socio-technical changes of the future. New dimensions are therefore essential: that of the project and that of urban culture, two mechanisms that enable the coordination of players in the self-organisation of the city. Bringing together so many different perspectives on the city is a scientific challenge. An interdisciplinary research agenda is therefore needed, bringing together theoretical and quantitative urban geography with urban planning and development, cultural geography and urban history, as well as artificial intelligence, its approaches to complexity and its formalisations of uncertain knowledge.

Key words
city, complexity, uncertainty, urban form, urban strategic foresight, artificial intelligence, resilience, antifragility, knowledge

Consultable online





30 november 2017, Paris

A methodological contribution to the spatial analysis of terrestrial vegetation. From quantitative biogeography to a geography applied to combating the erosion of plant biodiversity

Aziz BALLOUCHE, Professor, Université d’Angers, Thesis rapporteur
Vincent DUBREUIL, Professor, Université de Rennes 2, Thesis rapporteur
Céline BROGGIO, Professor, Université de Paris 13, Thesis rapporteur
Marianne COHEN, Professor, Université de Paris IV, President of the jury
Didier JOSSELIN, Research Director CNRS, UMR ESPACE, Reviewer
Frédéric ALEXANDRE, Professor, Université de Paris 13, Guarantor

The HDR covers three points: firstly, the questioning of certain concepts, epistemology and methods of biogeography to justify the choice of a quantitative and applied approach to biogeography understood as a science of the nature-society relationship.
Secondly, the volume presents the specific features of the research carried out: fieldwork with observations and surveys, on the one hand, and spatial analysis, systemisation and modelling, on the other. This research is not presented by field or in chronological order. The HDR volume is constructed as a ‘manual’ for spatial analysis, describing one by one all the spatial analyses that have been implemented, improved or adapted since the thesis (2008). These methods are presented, discussed and, above all, linked together. The set of spatial analysis methods presented is divided into two parts, spatial analysis stricto sensu in the first instance and spatial analysis of changes in the second. This analysis of change makes it possible to examine the question of the factors behind change, in particular the often central issue in West Africa of distinguishing between changes due to the climate and those due to society. Thirdly, it places the scientific approach within an objective applied to the fight against the erosion of plant biodiversity and, more broadly, to environmental management.
The aim here is to define the spatial and territorial dimensions of environmental issues and to show how spatial analysis methods for terrestrial vegetation are suited to applied research into these issues.

Key words
Biogeography, remote sensing, spatial analysis, biodiversity, landscapes, mangroves

Consultable online




12 july 2017, Avignon

A behavioural approach to geographical space
Applications and prospects in the study of daily and residential mobility in an urban environment

Laurent CHAPELON, Professor of landscaping, Université Montpellier 3, UMR GRED, Thesis rapporteur
Christophe ENAUX, Professor of geography, Université de Strasbourg, UMR LIVE, Reviewer
Marie-Line FÉLONNEAUAssociate Professor HDR of psychology, Université de Bordeaux, Laboratoire de Psychologie, Reviewer
Didier JOSSELIN, Research Director of geography, CNRS, UMR ESPACE, Avignon, Guarantor
Sophie DE RUFFRAY, Professor of geography, Université de Rouen, UMR IDEES, Thesis rapporteur
Frank WITLOX, Professor of geography, Université de Gand, SEG research unit, Thesis rapporteur

The recent period is characterized by the raising awareness of the gradual depletion of numerous natural resources and the irreversibility of the impact of certain human activities on the environment. This new approach to man-environment relations has stimulated a renewed interest in the study of human behaviour, which is now envisaged as a resource to be mobilized to mitigate the negative externalities of these anthropogenic activities. This habilitation thesis deals more specifically with the question of mobility behaviours in the urban space that raises major environmental and socio-economic issues. The main research question is to analyse how daily and residential mobility behaviours structure and are structured by urban space. The theoretical and empirical approach is based on a dialectic between the concepts of practices (e.g. the choice of places of activity and mode choice) and representations (through residential preferences or social representations of transport modes) to consider the complexity of choices and behaviour. These behaviours are modelled by integrating the characteristics of intra-urban spatial structures, making it possible to give a geographical interpretation of these practices and representations in terms of density gradients, socio-demographic composition of the neighbourhoods or accessibility to urban amenities. The empirical results allow to identify actions, in terms of planning or communication, that can promote a more sustainable urban development and mobility, from an environmental and social point of view.

Key words
Daily mobility, Residential mobility, urban aera, behaviour, activity space, mode choice, social representation, model

Consultable online