Scientific program

Scientific program

The aims of our scientific program are:

  • to characterise current spatial systems, whatever their scales: their form and functioning, their side-effects and their potentialities,
  • to study their observable or potential transformations due to the major socio-environmental challenges of today,
  • to foresee / suggest their sustainable future options

Implementation of this program will include the development of innovative spatial analysis methods and models.

The project articulates three major research issues

The first major research issue is to characterise and unravel current spatial systems at different scales in their forms, functionings, and potentialities. This must be based on a thorough understanding of their past and recent dynamics, in order to move forward with the exploration of their future options.

Particular attention will be paid to relations between forms and functionings of spatial systems and their outcomes in terms of mobility, energy consumption, health, and risk management, etc.

In the second major research issue  “Foreseeing/ suggesting sustainable future options for territories”, we seek:

  • to identify and quantify the driving forces already at work or foreseeable, especially those linked to today’s major socio-environmental changes. In particular, we will investigate the impacts of climate change, of digitalization, of the rising cost of energy or related to the future of work
  • to suggest and evaluate possible and/or desirable future trajectories and options for territories

In a decision support perspective, studies will focus on the way the form, functioning, governance of territories influence, limit or favor socio-environmental transition.

The third major research issue “Challenging and/or developing methods for spatial analysis “ deals with methodology. Whether it be in describing the current or future forms and functionings of territories, their externalities, or in suggesting or evaluating their possible or desirable trajectories, methodological work must be done :

  • to enhance or create innovative methods for social science data collection, including citizen science approaches
  • to improve or develop spatial analysis methods to describe and unravel structures and dynamics, with special attention to their multiscalar dimension
  • to develop tools and methods of optimization, knowing that careful – and frugal – management of resources and means will be a driver of the socio-environmental transition
  • to develop models and theories to describe, understand, and anticipate

5 priority theme areas

Five priority theme areas will be investigated in the scope of our broad objective of characterizing the existing or potential transformation of today’s spatial systems under the impacts of contemporary socio-environmental challenges, and of anticipating their future trends: