“Considering urban production in northern and southern areas: approaches, categories and methods”


Antoine FLEURY Géographie-cités (UMR 8504)
Marianne MORANGE CESSMA : Centre d’Etudes en Sciences Sociales sur les Mondes Africains, Américains et Asiatiques (UMR 245)
Charlotte VORMSCHS : Centre d’Histoire Sociale du XXème siècle (UMR 8058)


This Work-Package (WP) examines the effects of categorisations, the challenges of conceptualisation, and the methods and approaches involved in producing urban environments. Its core focus is on studying the interactions between its various stakeholders (public and private, individual and collective) and the local, national or global networks to which they belong. Within this context, particular attention is paid to public policies, how they are drawn up and implemented, the various forms of collective action and the dynamics of producing standards (in technology, urban planning, urban development, statistics, etc.).

Based on various fields situated in both Southern and Northern cities, the WP develops a comparative approach to the urbanisation phenomenon and plans to pursue the endeavour in urban studies to eliminate the silo effect between Northern and Southern contexts. The aim is not only to improve the possibility, in practice, of comparing North and South, but also to encourage debate on the categories, theories and methods for understanding the urbanisation phenomenon itself. Whether it addresses an idea, an artefact or a field, an interdisciplinary approach is vital for eliminating these silos and thinking critically. The members of the WP include geographers, historians, demographers, sociologists and urban planners. All are conducting empirical research into four largely cross-disciplinary subjects that map out four areas of collective study:

  • Focus area 1: Land, property, local markets and the financialisation of the city;
  • Focus area 2: Urban resources, social inequalities and urban change;
  • Focus area 3: Standards and practices for producing urban spaces, economies and societies;
  • Focus area 4: Stakeholders and practices in city governance.

A dialogue will be established between the research conducted in each of these focus areas, mainly by bringing into perspective the different ways of approaching a common topic, such as housing policies, property and land dynamics, business and trade practices, public spaces, and social and residential paths. Priority is being given to discussing methods and comparing the theoretical bases for interpreting these different topics.


Production of urban space, international comparison, North/South, land, property, urban resources, social inequalities, informality, standards, governance, urban policies, housing, commerce, employment, public spaces, populations, settlement, mobilities.