European Cities in transformation – EURA

European Cities in transformation

EURA Conference in Paris

22-23 October 1999

The Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Society (LATTS) hosted a major EURA conference on the theme ‘European cities in transformation’ in October.  The conference, which attracted over 100 urban researchers from sixteen countries, was held at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in the heart of Paris.  Robin Hambleton, Chair of the European Urban Research Association welcomed participants and Frederick de Coninck, the Director of LATTS, outlined the work of the Laboratoire.

Conference aims

The conference, was the largest event EURA has organised, brought together urban researchers from many disciplines to discuss fundings from research on European cities.

Christian Lefevre, who was the conference organiser, outlined the three main aims of the event at the outset:

  • To enhance cross-national understanding of changes now taking place in European cities
  • To consider what forms of public action can be taken to improve the quality of life in cities
  • To evaluate different policies and approaches.

Conference format

The conference was organised into six workshops each focussing on an important research theme:

  1. Dealing with urban dysfunctioning: new approaches?
  2. Territorial citizenship
  3. Cities:  networks and cooperation (sponsored by the UK Economic and Social Research Council)
  4. Globalisation and European cities:  convergence?
  5. Economic interests, institutions and territorial organisation
  6. European integration and cities:  dialogue between researchers and decision makers

Thanks to financial support from the Ministère de l’Equipement, des Transports et du Logement all the sessions were bi-lingual (French and English).  Five of the workshops comprised:

  • Presentation of two or three papers
  • A critique of the papers by a discussant
  • An open question and answer session

Papers were also presented in the sixth workshop but the format was varied to incorporate inputs from senior figures concerned with policy making for cities.

Some 17 papers were presented – details below – and these provided the basis for a lively exchange of views.  Much of the intense debate took place in the coffee and lunch breaks.

As well as focussing on the six substantive themes the conference provided an excellent opportunity to take stock of the progress of EURA and to explore ways of expanding and developing the Association.  The Executive Committee of EURA made a formal report to a well attended General Assembly of EURA at the end of the conference.


It was encouraging to see such a high level of international participation in the conference.  Over forty researchers from France attended and groups of researchers from Italy, the UK, Belgium, Denmark and the USA also participated. Other countries represented were Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

One of the key aims of EURA is to help urban researchers make contact with each other, including research students as well as more senior academics.  Clearly a large number of important links were made at the conference.  Below we reproduce the conference programme and, where possible, we have included the email address or fax number of the paper giver.  If you are interested in any of the papers we encourage you to make direct contact with the person giving the paper.  We have also indicated whether the paper is in French or English.

Workshop 1: Dealing with urban dysfunctioning:  new approaches?

Chair:  Patrick Le Galès
Discussant: Alessandro Balducci

Criticising the classical approaches to the ‘suburban crisis’ in France (French)
Cyprien Avenel Fax:  05 57 95 80 02

Cities, ethnic minorities and institutions:  a comparison of the strategies of management of ethnic conflict in France and the UK (English)
Romain Garbaye Email:

Urban governance and democratic accountability:  local anti-drug policies in Switzerland (French)
Daniel Küebler  Email:

Workshop 2: Territorial citizenship

Chair:  Sophie Body-Gendrot
Discussant: Anne Querrien

Citizens groups and the building of daily citizenship (French)
Caroline Patsias, Louise Quesnel Email:

Territorial identify in French social housing projects (French)
Florence Haegel, Sophie Duchesne Email:,

Workshop 3: Cities:  networks and cooperation

Chair:  Olivier Coutard
Discussant: Bernard Jouve

Public-private partnerships in Marseille and Venice (France)
Gilles Pinson  Email:

Fit for competition within the networks of cooperation:  new modes of regulation of the local State to changes in the global economy (English)
Jens Dangschaft, Alexander Hamedinger

Private economic interests mobilisation and cooperation:  the case of London (English)
Mark Kleinman Email:

Workshop 4: Globalisation and European cities:  convergence

Chair:  Enzo Mingione
Discussant: Pierre Beckouche

Local revenue formation and mobilisation of actors in European cities and regions (French)
Laurent Davezies Email:

Globalisation and the rescaling of the State:  the urban trajectories of Amsterdam and Brussels compared (English)
Pieter Terhorst Email:

Globalisation and urban development:  testing convergence theory in North America and West European cities (English)
Hank Savitch  Email:

Workshop 5: Economic interests, institutions and territorial organisation

Chair:  Pierluigi Crosta
Discussant: John Jorgensen

The design of local political institutions:  a cross-national analysis (English)
Robin Hambleton Email:

Territorial interests and Chambers of Commerce in Italy (English)
Paolo Perulli  Email:

Urban development projects and metropolitan governments in France and The Netherlands (French)
Veronique Vergès Email:

Workshop 6: European integration and Cities:  dialogue between researchers and decision makers

Chair:  Murray Stewart

Urban development in German cities between globalisation and European integration (English)
Werner Heinz  Email:

The European Union’s policies urban programmes in Naples (English)
Raffaella Nanetti Email:

The impact of European programmes on the governance of Italian local systems
Guiseppe Dematteis, Cristiana Rossignolo

Report on the conference

A report on the main themes discussed at the conference will be produced in due course.  Please contact Christian Lefevre at the address below if you would like to receive this.

Professor Christian Lefevre
LATTS, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees
6-8 Avenue, Blaise Pascal
Cite Descartes
77455 Marne la Vallee cedex 2

Vote of thanks

Robin Hambleton thanked Christian Lefevre and the staff at LATTS for the excellent organisation of the conference.  Thanks were also extended to the translators who provided a first class service.


EURA is most grateful to Plan Urbanisme, Construction, Architecture (PUCA), Ministère de l’Equipement, des Transport et du Logement for generous financial support to the conference.  EURA also appreciates the support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which sponsored Workshop 3 in the conference.