Post-doctoral positions – Campaign 2019: Profile n° 1

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Photo : Armando G Alonso (Creative Commons)
“Mobility in small and medium-sized cities: reorganization and strategies.”

Work-Packages: “Networks and territories” and “Mobility”

The deadline for the submission of applications is Wednesday, 8 May (inclusive).
Recruitment procedure and schedule

Position description

In recent years, an extensive body of research has shown that the gaps between large cities and smaller-sized towns have widened, whether in terms of the production of wealth, employment, population growth or residential appeal (DAVEZIES and PECH, 2014). Trends that tend to favour large cities, combined with a re-examination of urban planning policies originally designed to achieve spatial equality, together raise the issue of the role and future of small and medium-sized towns. The latter have felt the effects of de-industrialization more than large cities because they are frequently specialized and generally rank lower in production processes. On top of this, the French government’s General Review of Public Policies (RGPP) prompted the closure of courthouses, military barracks and hospitals, which had an adverse effect on local development (De LEGGE, 2011; COURCELLE et al., 2017; BARZACK, HILLAL, 2017). Lastly, these towns have been particularly hard hit by the processes of residential and commercial periurbanization, which have often sapped town centres of their vitality. Although they played a key role in the country’s urban framework and are still an essential link in the country’s administrative organization, service delivery and access to services (TALANDIER and JUSSEAUME, 2013), many of them now find themselves in a very fragile position (DEMAZIERE, 2014; SANTAMARIA, 2012). The different forms of mobility (for residential purposes, employment, shopping or access to services) are a major stake in these changes, firstly because they are partly responsible for bringing them about (mainly due to the role of the car in the processes of periurbanization and devitalization of town centers), but also because they, too, are affected by the changes. In these towns, the various forms of mobility have distinctive features (CERTU, 2011; CONTI, 2015; GART, 2015).

The aim is therefore to analyze the interrelationships between the changes in the importance and role of small and medium-sized towns and the reorganization of mobility at various levels. What are the effects of periurbanization on the different types of mobility in small and medium-sized town centers? And, conversely, what spatial changes do these forms of mobility entail at all of these levels? How are the closures of certain services (hospitals, courts and schools) restructuring mobility at local and regional levels? How is the importance of small and medium-sized towns changing in regional mobility networks and services (TER regional express trains, the so-called “Macron” intercity bus services, car-sharing schemes)? How are local stakeholders factoring mobility issues into the policies implemented at local and regional levels? What strategies are being implemented to meet the populations’ needs or even support new forms of mobility?

These questions should be handled with both quantitative and qualitative approaches, within the context of one or more French regions, chosen for the diversity of urban growth or decline trajectories taken by their small and medium-sized towns, and their importance in the map of service closures (Baudet-Michel et al., 2018) and in the map of mobility services.

Planned collaboration

This research lies within the objectives of the “Networks and territories” and “Mobility” WPs, and in particular the latter’s focus area 4. It will continue, and add a new reference to, a body of research on the decline of shops and services in small and medium-sized towns, conducted in partnership with the CGET and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, with which collaboration will be pursued. The project also continues on from research conducted with the Forum des Vies Mobiles (SNCF) on changes in the service offering, use of and users of freely-organized intercity bus services (known as “cars MACRON” in French). A partnership with the research department of Kéolis may also be considered.

The contract awardee will be hosted by the Geography-Cities UMR and will receive the UMR’s support for conducting the surveys. Within this UMR, the student will join the research effort on a variety of focus areas (City systems and regional systems in world space) and involving different teams (on the cross-cutting theme of mobility and territoriality).

For this post-doctoral research, the contract awardee will be able to take advantage of the collaborative arrangements made in recent years with researchers from the Université Paris-Est and the Urban Futures LabEx.

Required skills and abilities

The project will require the post-doctoral fellow to measure and locate different forms of mobility using a variety of databases, such as INSEE’s commuting databases, the travel surveys for medium-sized towns, and the medical program information system databases (Agence Technique d’Information Hospitalière) covering travel for hospital treatment. In order to identify local fields of research (and in particular towns in which services were shut down between 2000 and 2016), the post-doctoral fellow will be able to draw on the findings and databases of the program on the withdrawal of services and shops in small and medium-sized towns* (2015-2018).

The post-doctoral fellow should also investigate the possibility of using new sources of information, such as those dealing with the use of car-sharing services. He or she should have proven skills in analyzing flow matrices and be aware of the theoretical issues involved in modeling (gravity model, REILLY’s law and the HUFF model) and flow mapping (BAHOKEN, 2016).
Surveys may also be carried out on areas identified in the Centre and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions in order to, on one hand, complement the analysis of mobility using qualitative approaches and, on the other hand, understand the strategies applied by the local stakeholders.

* The program “La rétraction des services et commerces dans les villes petites et moyennes” was the subject of two post-doctoral contracts awarded by LabEx DynamiTe (hospital care) and the CGET-CDC (courthouses). The post-doctoral fellow will be able to draw on the databases produced under these contracts. The findings were presented in a number of colloquia (ASRDLF 2018, SASE 2018, IGU 2018, etc.) and are in the process of being published (Ouvrages, AG, GES).

Additional information

Contract start date: September 2, 2019

Length of contract : 1 year

Post-doctoral fellow’s supervisors:

  • Sophie BAUDET-MICHEL and Christophe QUEVA (“Networks and territories” WP)
  • Sandrine BERROIR and Sylvie FOL (“Mobility” WP)

Host laboratory: UMR Géographie-cités (13 rue du Four – 75006 PARIS) – Collaboration with the Prodig laboratory (Nora MAREÏ)

Net monthly remuneration: Approx. €2,324


Recruitment procedure and schedule

The application must be submitted electronically by application form ( It must demonstrate that the candidate fulfils the requirements indicated in the post-doctoral profile (specified tasks and skills). The application will include:

  • a description of the research project (5 pages maximum, if more the application will be refused) specifying the research-related issues, the methodology to be used, a feasibility report and project schedule ;
  • a covering letter;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a list of publications with internet links (if available);
  • the doctoral thesis (PDF version);
  • the doctoral thesis defence report (not required for candidates having defended their thesis in a foreign country and for candidates having defended their thesis too recently. The latter will include a letter confirming the forthcoming oral defence of the candidate’s research thesis prior to 24 June 2019);
  • a copy of the doctoral degree (or certificate, the thesis must have been defended fewer than five years ago).

The deadline for the submission of applications is Wednesday, May 8 2019 (inclusive).

The candidate may have the possibility to contact the post-doctoral supervisors before the submissions deadline.
For your information: when the deadline has passed, the LabEx DynamiTe will contact the director(s) of the host unit(s) and will add one letter of invitation to the application.

The successful candidates following the assessment of the applications and interviews (which will take place during the week of 24 June 2019) will be informed of the results from 28 June 2019.

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