As the increasing urbanisation of the city gradually escapes control by the state, its regulation seems to be ever more negotiated between financial conglomerates, metropolitan collectivities and popular movements. The reorganization of governance systems and of urban production echoes the set of contradictions affecting cities and urban societies, which are reinforced by the inexorable rise of metropolises. At first glance these contradictions stem from the relation between global and local. A closer look locates them in dynamics caught between inclusion and eviction, social diversity and segregation, the standardisation of production and patrimonial revaluation, urban sprawl and the development of a sustainable city…


These contradictions are not the simple product of an urban domination. They are the result of a very complex set of processes and of new assemblages at the crossroads between socio-economics transformations, changes in management practices and the rise of specifically urban claims. State deregulations in multiform contexts of economic liberalisation explains as much as it muddles these contradictions. Meanwhile, forms of participatory management attempt to mitigate new demands located at a micro scale or at the scale of multi-level metropolitan governance, also considering that they are poorly understood by classical and technical expert systems.


This symposium is the first to envision urban contradictions as a key element of urban transformations both of managerial systems and of city residents’ practices in a world increasingly and dominantly urban but also marked by a deep uncertainty (economical, social, environmental).This symposium will be the first of a yearly series aimed at deepening our understanding of urban contradictions, a topic of major interest for researchers, decision-makers and residents.  It will foster reflections on the dialectical relation between bureaucracy and neo-liberalisation ; diversity and gentrification.


The first day of the conference will be devoted to urban contradictions observable in conflicts, collaborative practices and citizen-oriented researches. Invited speakers will explore the play of power between urban counter-powers, social movements and regulatory attempts by state and transnational bodies. Examples are the recent constitution of citizens councils in “priority neighborhoods” in France or local charters for the right to the city adopted by many large cities in the world. A complimentary issue will be tackled by european researchers. In coordination with the working group on “collaborative housing” of the European Network for Housing Research, they will shed light on participatory practices in social housing production and management, and analyze the new challenges of these alternative horizons.


This symposium is organized by the LAVUE research center (UMR 7218 CNRS) with the support of the University Paris 8 and Paris Nanterre and of the Ministry of Culture and Communication (BRAUP). It will gather researchers from several national and international centers who will endeavor to understand and to analyze the economic, social and urban springs and logics of these contradictions, in light of the disciplines that converge on the urban : geography, urbanism, sociology, anthropology, law, economy, history, architecture. This symposium will be held at the national school of architecture ENSA Paris Val-de-Seine.



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Mumbai, october 2004
© Agnès Deboulet 
Istanbul third Bosphorus bridge's worksite, june 2014 
© Julie Lavayssiere
Urban renewal in Ile de France, december 2015
© Agnès Deboulet 
Poissy, may 2006 
© Agnès Deboulet
Taksim Square in Istanbul, march 2014
© Julie Lavayssiere
Trulliot camp in Ivry sur Seine, june 2015 
© Agnès Deboulet
 Djiddah Thiaroye Kao municipality, next to Dakar, january 2012  
© Romain Leclercq
 Cooperative housing, Kraftwerk 1 in Zurich, june 2012
© Kraftwerk1
 Archi debout, Republique square in Paris, may 2016 
© Agnes Verdurand 
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