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By on July 30, 2015


Name of university

Université François-Rabelais de Tours (referred to as ‘University of Tours’), France

‘Département Aménagement et Environnement’ (Department of Urban/Regional and Environmental Planning, Polytechnic School of Engineering, University of Tours)

Université François-Rabelais de Tours
Polytech – Département Aménagement et Environnement
35, Allée Ferdinand Lesseps, 37200 Tours, France

+33 (0)

Official Focal Point
Dr. Vincent Rotgé (associate Professor)

Alternate Focal Point
Prof. Christophe Demazière

Signee, Expression of Interest
Prof. Abdelillah Hamdouch




The University of Tours is a multidisciplinary university which fulfills European higher education and research standards. With 25,000 registered students, it plays a key role in national and international research promoting cutting-edge innovation and humanistic values deeply rooted in the Loire Valley, a region overflowing with history and cultural heritage.

Established in 1969, the Department of Urban/Regional and Environmental Planning of Tours University Polytechnic School of Engineering is the second largest spatial planning school in France in terms of staff number (33) and enrolment (300 students at the postgraduate level including more than 35 PhD students; over 2,600 past graduates). As professionals working in urban/regional planning and environmental engineering, the Department’s graduates are trained to develop, manage or assess projects that have a social, economic, environmental and territorial impact at various spatial scales. Typically, they go on to work with consultancy firms, local and regional governments, urban planning offices, transportation or environmental agencies, energy providers and specialised business service companies. The Department’s core staff have wide-ranging competences from social to natural sciences; they are reinforced by 50 lecturers who are professionals and international visiting pr! ofessors and researchers (5-8 per year). The Department’s research and training experience in sustainable spatial planning is widely acknowledged by the planning community in France and abroad.

The Department is also active in many international academic networks. It took part 30 years ago in the creation of the French-speaking association of planning schools (APERAU), and of its English-speaking European equivalent (AESOP), now expanding on three continents. Recently, it organized the 5th European Urban Summer School on “Heritage Conservation and Urban Sustainable Development”, a joint event of AESOP, ECTP-CEU, IFHP and ISOCARP convened by Dr. Laura VERDELLI (http://euss2014.webs.com/). Since 2012, the Head of the Department, Prof. Abdelillah HAMDOUCH has been a member of the Council of Representatives of AESOP. A former Head of Department, Prof. Christophe DEMAZIERE currently chairs the European branch of the APERAU network (http://www.aperau.org/). Through APERAU, the Department has been involved in the Global Planning Education Association Network, and especially in the organisation of the Fourth World Planning Schools Congress – Rio, 3-8 July 2016 (www.wpsc2016.com.br/). Most Department staff are involved in these international academic networks and many others, such as the European Spatial Development Planning Network (http://esdp-network.eu/) which has brought together scholars, researchers and practitioners from 22 academic institutions academic since its foundation in 1987 with Tours University having acted as a key partner ever since.

Areas of Expertise related to UN-Habitat
  • Water
  • Social Inclusion
  • Slum Upgrading
  • Sanitation
  • Resilience
  • Planning and Design
  • Legislation
  • Land
  • Information and Monitoring
  • Housing
  • Governance
  • Evaluation
  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Climate Change
  • Capacity Development


Suggested Collaboration Opportunities

The Department of Urban/Regional and Environmental Planning of Tours University Polytechnic School of Engineering will concentrate on three priority areas where it has developed a strong expertise: Governance, Climate Change, and Urban Regeneration respectively. These are the thematic focus of three of the eight hubs of the UN-Habitat UNI.

Governance Hub: within this hub, the Department can actively contribute to the following sub-areas:

– Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation, with the collaboration of Department’s staff involved in the STARFLOOD and TRANS-ADAPT programmes concerned with flood prevention, social adaptation and more generally urban flood risk management,

– Urban Planning and Design and Research and Capacity Building. On-going research work undertaken on small towns as part of the TOWN programme (‘Small and medium sized towns in their functional territorial context’) but also through research on secondary towns in West Africa and Brazil to be shared with the Hub. Research has also been carried out on strategic spatial planning in European city-regions and on the reforms of the planning systems which are induced by the search for territorial sustainable development

– Stakeholders’ involvement, social innovation dynamics and collective knowledge-learning processes (building on key European research projects achieved by several of the research team within the scope of the ESDP network, such as SINGOCOM, VALICORES, DEMOLOGOS and especially KATARSIS )

– Research and capacity building with special emphasis put on the thematic sub-areas listed above.

Climate Change Hub: The Department plans to share and enhance the work implemented as part of the CLIMB programme (‘Climate Induced Changes on the Hydrology of Mediterranean Basins (FP7)’. In addition, a number of the Department’s staff members specialise in environmental issues dealing with water resources and inland water and wetland ecosystems. Part of their teaching and research work address climate change and can be easily mobilised. In addition, working professionals and guest professors within the Department have conducted work in developing countries (eg., Bangladesh and Mali) focusing on urban and regional planning in inland and oceanic deltaic environments strongly affected by climate change. This work and the experience thus accrued can be shared within the hub.

Urban Regeneration Hub: A number of staff members of the Department have extensively worked on Historic Cultural Landscapes. A significant share of their work relates to the Loire River Valley section inscribed on the World Heritage list in the middle of which the city of Tours and university campus are located. A number of research projects and publications addressing the management of World Heritage sites have been thus produced. This knowledge can be shared with the hub and further developed possibly with the involvement of professional bodies dealing with territorial planning and management. This will directly connect with on-going activities and workshops conducted by the hub such on ‘operationalising UNESCO Recommendations on Historic Urban Landscape’. In addition, synergies will be sought with the ‘River Culture’ UNESCO Chair hosted by the Department at the University of Tours (http://whc.unesco.org/fr/actualites/1054/).

Potential collaboration modalities: proposed activities revolving around the three above-mentioned hubs

Practically, within the hubs and sub-areas described above relating to city and regional planning, territorial development and environmental and water management, the Department proposes to develop research initiatives, training materials, publications, case studies, etc. It is understood that the outcome of the proposed activities shall have a practical impact on UN-HABITAT and cities practices. The following modus operandi is proposed:

• By mobilising the APERAU and other EU academic networks such as the European Spatial Development and Planning Network , the Department would act as an entry point for UN-Habitat and the hubs with a view to enhance linkages with the French-speaking academic and research community.

• Develop research activities involving the Department’s staff and students alongside other universities and planning institutions on the above-listed topics of a particular interest for UN-Habitat work. In so doing, practical and innovative aspects will be prioritised. The 20 international students registered each year in the International Master’s programme ‘Planning and Sustainability’ and the 50 students involved into the sub-option on ‘Urban and territorial planning within an international context’ will be requested to prepare presentations falling within the priority areas and sub-areas which are described above. Such presentations made in small workshops will eventually evolve in the writing of Master’s thesis on priority topics outcome of which will be shared with the members of  UN-Habitat UNI and possibly posted on the web for a wider diffusion.

• Develop collaborative work and joint activities with other members of UN-Habitat UNI, especially within the three hubs prioritised by the Department. This will take the form of collaborative work, collective publications, joint events intended for students and professionals such as: seminars, workshops, fieldtrips… Urban networks and professional bodies will be welcome to join the workshops and seminars.

• Welcome professionals and/or academics from other universities who would be willing to share their international experience with students.

• Develop a precise periodical workplan in collaboration with the hubs member institutions.