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Main lines of research

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Main lines of research within ESPACE.


The 2012-2017 scientific project is centred on two main lines of research :
• Multi-scale interactions and functioning of territorial systems
• The future of territorial systems : from analysing tensions to anticipating changes.

These two lines are closely inter-linked with a methodological line : Les Travaux d’ESPACE (TES) : Confrontations, methodological advances, questionings.

The systems being studied belong to the Mediterranean space, but not exclusively.
One of the purposes of the research project is to acquire a deeper knowledge of territorial systems, and more particularly of the space/environment/society interrelations. Now, the functioning of any system results from processes occurring at different spatial and temporal scales. ESPACE intends to study these processes by focusing more particularly on scale. The reflection on this issue, which was already present in the previous quadrennial, will be transversal to the multi-theme research carried out within the framework of line 1. The work will aim to apprehend the various phenomena being studied in their multi-scale and multi-level dimension in order to detect the types of inter-scale relations, the result of their combination, and determine the role of scale effects in the functioning of territorial systems.

The future of territorial systems was already central to ESPACE’s geoprospective research work. In the new project, this matter will be considered according to two inputs – the capacity of anthropised systems to adapt to a changing environment, and the degree of freedom enjoyed by societies and individuals to modify spatial structures. Environmental issues are integrated into the four selected projects’ problematics. Research will also aim to devise appropriate approaches enabling one, in an imprecise and uncertain context, to anticipate and assess changes to come as well as the kind of spatial impact and retroactions generated by such changes.

This project gives prominence to theoretical, conceptual and methodological reflection as well as to formalising research processes, in particular for assessing the pertinence and solidity of operating methods. So, the TES (Travaux d’ESPACE) have been thought out to be places of methodological comparisons, and more generally, of reflection on epistemological positioning inherent to the approaches selected.