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Urban geography

Research at the IGG in urban geography looks at two different, but related, processes: urban globalization and the forms of urbanization.


The IGG’s research on the globalization of urban spaces starts with Anthony King’s premise that in today’s world, all cities are global. All urban spaces, and not only those officially termed ‘global cities’, are to some extent linked to global networks and cannot therefore be detached from the process of globalization. The global nature of towns and cities can be studied from various points of view and in a variety of ways. Researchers working in this field at the IGG study the translocal processes by which, on the one hand, knowledge, models and policies are circulated, and, on the other hand, new urban forms and practices are shaped. This research involves, for example, the transcontinental circulation of urban policies (on issues such as sustainability, creativity and New Urbanism) and the emergence of new residential spaces and practices in cities such as Hanoi and Palermo.


The study of new forms of urbanization concentrates on the various transformations that the European city has undergone over the last few decades. These involve the process of urban sprawl on the one hand, and reurbanization and gentrification on the other. An understanding of these is gained by looking at the behaviour of the actors involved, including residents (their expectations of residential life and the factors that cause them to choose to live in a certain residential area), the private actors of the housing market and public authorities. Research projects on this theme have, for example, studied urban regeneration projects in Swiss cities, or analysed critically the model of the compact and sustainable city.