2014 Ramau conferences - call for paper

Management of architectural and urban settings in an age of sustainable development : practices, changes and challenges

13 and 14 October 2014, Paris
29 octobre 2013

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Following the study days dedicated to “architectural and town planning professions faced with the involvement of residents and users” in 2012 and “sustainable town planning and architecture know-how and models” in 2013, the aim of the Ramau 2014 conferences is to concentrate on the relations between sustainability and “management” in the field of urban development and architecture. The incorporation of sustainable development in architectural, urban and landscaping operations seems to have the effect of increasing the concern for management logic in the project process.

The fields traditionally assigned to management, such as budgets (investments, consumption) and rental or residential relationships, are becoming increasingly complex due to the growing interest shown in the environment. In parallel, there is a move towards new challenges, particularly that of understanding the relevance of projects in view of repeated in situ adjustments between the expectations of recipients and the services provided by the built or developed environment. These preoccupations lead to increased questioning concerning the “performance”, “profitability” and even “relevance” of projects. The way in which to imagine “residents”, “users” or “final users” and to then invite them to give their opinion or jointly construct projects has become a major challenge for qualified stakeholders. Within this context, in what ways are the skills, trades, practices and organisation of stakeholder systems developing ? How are users and managers associated ? How important is the anticipatory management of the various spatial and technical systems during the project (whether new or renovation works), particularly during the design phase ? How is management organised following the delivery of the buildings or other developed spaces ? Have evaluations of the systems been incorporated and how ?

Working on management knowledge and practices in the fields of urban development and architecture while at the same time focussing on the issue of sustainability, results in the interconnection of various fields of research. One of the objectives of these days of conferences is to encourage dialogue between fields of research that are fairly isolated from one another despite sharing common territories. These particularly include work carried out on participation in the field of architectural and urban development (Bacqué and Sintomer, 2011 ; Gardesse, 2011 ; Zetlaoui, 2013, Ramau, 2013). They also include research into the question of energy (Renauld, 2012), particularly the research produced by sociologists and anthropologists (Brisepierre, 2011 ; Subrémon, 2009) or that concentrates on stakeholders (Roudil, 2007 ; Souami, 2008) and processes (Grudet, 2012-14). Finally, these also cover the works dedicated to city policies concerning “local urban management” and its stakeholders (Bonetti, 1995 ; Lelévrier, 2002 ; Bacqué, Rey, Sintomer, 2005) [1].

Using management science tools, we also concern ourselves with analyses related to project management and the packaging of complex urban projects (Arab, 2007). These works focus on project organisation and the management of development fabrication processes. There are also works on management activities through which an organisation assures that its buildings, equipment and services provide support for its key operations. This approach is essentially developed in English-speaking countries (Alexander, 2012 ; Dale, Burrell, 2007). In France, several authors have underlined the lack of work on building management when seen in terms of the aims and objectives of the organisations for which the architectural projects are being prepared (Chanlat, 1990 ; Fenker, 2003). During the conferences concentrating on Facilities Management (Ramau, 2008), emphasis was placed on the idea that architectural and urban projects should “take into consideration a growing focus on the efficiency of the construction, on the expected services, on its use conditions and on the users”. Global questions were then raised on the ways in which to improve the use of resources and incorporate the “final users” in the various stages of the project process, particularly during the design phase [2].

Open to these various sectors and forming part of varied disciplines such as urban development, architecture, environment, sociology, economics, political sciences, management sciences, anthropology, etc., the conference paper proposals should focus on the following axes that coincide with the Ramau network centres of interest.

Axis 1 : New management professions and changing skill requirements

This concern for management can take different forms, such as the increased presence of managers in the stakeholder system, as well as through the incorporation of their knowledge in the project’s decision-making process (including in terms of thinking concerning the operational cost and arbitration between investment cost and operational cost). It can also be incorporated indirectly by an increase in ex-post evaluation practices.

We aim to list the professions that are tending to develop (facilities manager, urban manager, etc.) as well as understand the changes in the exercise of existing professions (architects, landlords, housing associations, developers, etc.). For example, the management of condominiums in the private sector is becoming a major challenge with the incorporation of sought-after energy performance improvements (Brisepierre, 2011). It might therefore be thought that changes are taking place in housing associations. Another example lies in the activity of the property asset manager which appears to be developing among architects with particular attention being paid to the “energy performance” of buildings (Nappi-Choulet, 2012).

What are the new emerging skills ? Who are the stakeholders involved in the management of technical systems in new buildings, renovated buildings, social housing and private condominiums ? Are we seeing the development of training in the management of systems contributing to sustainability ? What is the situation concerning “support” systems for users ? Who are the professionals investing in this sector ?

Axis 2 : Stakeholder systems and anticipation of management in the project process

The meaning of sustainable projects is developed through the meeting of all stakeholders and competent bodies involved in negotiating the project’s objectives (Camus, 2010). To what degree do the persons responsible for the management of project elements (landlords, technical departments, users, etc.) participate in this system ? Do they have decision-making or arbitration roles ? How are compromises reached ? Are stakeholder systems changing and leaving a greater role to certain persons ? How and to what degree are the concerns of managing uses and technical equipment integrated by professionals into the design ? How do stakeholders in the building process anticipate the management and maintenance of a building in terms of limiting environmental impacts when the tenants or buyers only intervene in the project when its design is almost finished ? Are new methods being introduced ? To what degree are maintenance activities and the technical and financial operation of technical equipment thought of ecologically and are they envisaged as linked with the activities sought from the construction of buildings or districts ?

Axis 3 : Technical system management practices

On architectural and urban scales, the physical systems aiming to make the best use of resources are numerous and change from one operation to another. On an architectural scale, we particularly think of “energetic objects” linked to the thermal insulation of buildings, approached in a systemic manner by also considering issues of ventilation, heat and cold production, types of materials, and the technical systems for monitoring and providing delegated management. On an urban scale, we are interested in technical equipments used to provide energy, such as an urban heating system, or specific waste management systems (with energy recuperation), or public and landscaped spaces requiring specific management methods that are able to meet the objectives such as a reduction in “urban heat islands”. There is also everything concerning mobility : ways in which to encourage car pooling, the design and management of collective spaces dedicated to mobility (fleets of electric cars and bicycles provided with recharging sites, sites for car sharing, etc). These are examined here on local and district levels, with links to other networks on different scales.

Once these various elements are delivered, what are the methods introduced to assure their “performance” ? Who are the stakeholders responsible for their handover ? To what degree are the professionals involved in the previous phases of the projects still present ? How do professionals (architects, housing associations, engineers, etc.) position themselves and do they work with the “residents”, no matter whether these are owners or tenants ? How and to what degree are evaluation systems incorporated ? Do the latter result in the projects undergoing any form of evolution ?

Using these axes, we would like to examine the following themes which we feel lie at the heart of the problem represented by the role of management in sustainable projects :

Resident management : To what degree and with what means are residents becoming managers of their shared spaces with the aim of encouraging sustainable development ? Do these new responsibilities really modify practices ? To what degree are residents considered capable of managing these spaces ? How are they given this legitimacy and from whom ?

Design assistance tools and standards : What is the role given to management in standards, labels, referentials and charters ? What weight do these have given the growing presence of management logic ? Do they participate in a uniform vision of good systems management ? To what degree do today’s “obligatory incorporation of standards” for architectural and urban projects, applied by national and supranational decision-making levels, either encourage or prevent the introduction of a “good systems management” ?

Political and technical logic : What changes and what evolutions in the role of the State and major institutions can now be observed in terms of service and management ? How are these changes organised and justified ? How are they accepted by the general public, militants, industrialists, etc.? To what extent do local authorities intervene in the design of the systems ? To what degree do they have decision-making powers in the choice of systems to be introduced and in the creation of management structures ? How do local authorities position themselves as initiators or intermediaries between residents and professionals ?

Territorial dynamics : To what degree do the choices concerning waste, water or energy management reorganise the territorial dynamics and the associated stakeholder systems ? What are the visions of a “same” territory as interpreted by companies, engineers and IT specialists proposing management systems for waste, water and energy ? Can we speak of an “ultra-local” management and production ? Are new centralities beginning to take form ? Are there any pilot operations that incorporate the space needed for a management requirement ?

Various types of contributions are expected : the results of research and investigations underway, experience feedback and reflective testimonies, shared contributions from researchers and professionals. Research and experience feedback on operations from outside the French context are welcome.

The communication proposals may be sent up to 29 October 2013, in the form of a text not exceeding 3,000 characters (spaces included) to the following address : rencontres.ramau@paris-lavillette.archi.fr.

RAMAU is an architectural and town planning research network accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Its mission is to develop scientific exchanges between researchers as well as between researchers, professionals and regional and administrative officials, concerning the evolution of stakeholders and courses of action in architecture and town planning. It provides an information site : www.ramau.archi.fr and has published a number of books through Editions de La Villette and other publishers. The conference cycle devoted to sustainable development has already led to a file in Metropolitiques.eu : Fabriquer la ville à l’ heure de l’injonction au “durable” (constructing the city under the injunction of sustainability). A publication grouping together the papers from the 2012 conference "Les métiers de l’architecture et de l’urbanisme à l’épreuve de l’implication des habitants et des usagers" (architectural and town planning professions faced with the involvement of residents and users) is currently being prepared for publication.

References cited

  • Alexander Keith, Price Ilfryn (eds), Managing Organizational Ecologies, Taylor & Francis, 2012.
  • Arab Nadia, « Activité de projet et aménagement urbain : les sciences de gestion à l’épreuve de l’urbanisme », Management et avenir, no. 2, 2007, p.147-164.
  • Bacqué Marie-Hélène, Rey Henri, Sintomer Yves (dir.), Gestion de proximité et démocratie participative : une perspective comparative, Paris, La Découverte, 2005.
  • Bacqué Marie-Hélène, Sintomer Yves (dir.), La démocratie participative. Histoire et généalogie, Paris, La Découverte, 2011.
  • Biau Véronique, Lautier François (dir), Cahiers Ramau no. 5 : “La qualité architecturale. Acteurs et enjeux”, Paris, éditions de la Villette, 2009.
  • Brisepierre Gaëtan, Les conditions sociales et organisationnelles du changement des pratiques de consommation d’énergie dans l’habitat collectif, doctoral thesis in sociology, Université Paris Descartes, 2011.
  • Camus Christophe (dir), Béatrice Durand, Michael Fenker, Isabelle Grudet, Bendicht Weber, Le projet architectural durable négocié. Pratiques, compétences, valeurs, LET for MEDDTL-PUCA, 2010.
  • Carassus Jean, Construction, la mutation ; de l’ouvrage au service. Paris, Presses de l’ENPC 2003.
  • Chanlat Jean-François (ed.), L’individu dans l’organisation. Les dimensions oubliées, Laval, Les presses de l’université Laval, Editions Eska, 1990.
  • Dale Karen, Burrell Gibson, The spaces of organization and the organization of Space : power, identity and materiality at work, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Debizet Gilles, “la rénovation énergétique des bâtiments en France, entre marché, actions territoriales et dispositions nationals”, développement durable et territoires, no. 1, 2011.
  • Fenker Michael, L’espace : un mode de gestion de la dynamique organisationnelle, management sciences thesis, Ecole Polytechnique, 2003.
  • Gardesse Camille, La "concertation" citoyenne dans le projet de réaménagement du quartier des Halles de Paris (2002-2010) : les formes de la démocratisation de l’action publique en urbanisme et ses obstacles, Thesis on town planning, development, urban policies, Lab’Urba – Université Paris Est, 2011.
  • Grudet Isabelle (dir), Decup-Pannier Benoite, Heland Laure, Morelli Roberta, Roudil Nadine, L’habitant et la fabrication énergétique des écoquartiers. Processus, conception, réceptions, Research underway, IMR research programme from the Ministry of Culture and Communication, ENSAPLV-LET-CSTB/VERI, 2012-2014.
  • Lelévrier Christine, “gestion urbaine de proximité”, in Segaud Marion, Brun Jacques, Driant Jean-Claude (dir), Dictionnaire de l’habitat et du logement, Paris, Colin, 2002, p 202-203.
  • Nappi-Choulet Ingrid, “Directeur immobilier : une fonction devenue stratégique dans l’entreprise”, les échos.fr, 2012.
  • O’Zoux Violette, Victor Violaine, “La gestion anticipée et partagée au cœur de l’appropriation”, in Union Sociale pour l’Habitat, Club EcoQuartier, Contribution scientifique et technique sur la notion d’appropriation dans les opérations d’aménagement durable, 2012, p. 62-69.
  • Ramau, conference : “Architecture et Facilities Management. La conception face à la montée des services”, organised by Michael Fenker and François Lautier, Paris, 17-18 April 2008, presentation of the problem represented by conferences : http://www.ramau.archi.fr/spip.php?article17
  • Ramau, conference “Les métiers de l’architecture et de l’urbanisme à l’épreuve de l’implication des habitants et des usagers”, 22 and 23 November 2012 http://www.ramau.archi.fr/spip.php?article693
  • Renauld Vincent, Fabrication et usage des écoquartiers français, doctoral thesis in geography, development and town planning, Insa, Lyon, 2012.
  • Roudil Nadine, “Artisans et énergies renouvelables. Une chaîne d’acteurs au cœur d’une situation d’innovation”. Les annales de la recherche urbaine 103 : 101-111. 2007.
  • Subrémon Hélène, Habiter avec l’énergie. Pour une anthropologie sensible de la consommation d’énergie, Doctoral thesis, Université de Marne La Vallée, under the supervision of Bonin P., 2009.
  • Souami Taoufik, “le développement durable change t-il le monde des urbanistes ? vers une structuration du milieu professionnel ?”, Les annales de la recherche urbaine, no. 104, June 2008, p. 19-27.
  • Zetlaoui-Léger Jodelle (dir), Michael Fenker, Camille Gardesse, Isabelle Grudet, Laure Heland, Bendicht Weber, La concertation citoyenne dans les projets d’écoquartiers en France : évaluation constructive et mise en perspective européenne, Lab’Urba/Let, research report for the “Concertation Décision, Environnement” programme, Ministry of Ecology, 2013.

Scientific organisation of the 2014 conference

Scientific coordination

  • Isabelle Grudet, researcher at the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET -UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette
  • Laure Heland, teacher and researcher at the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET -UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette
  • Hélène Subrémon, researcher, LATTS (UMR 8134 - CNRS, ENPC, UPEMLV)
  • Nadine Roudil, researcher, Laboratoire Services Process Innovations, CSTB

Scientific committee

  • Véronique Biau, director of the Centre de Recherche sur l’Habitat (CRH - UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris Val de Seine, member of the network’s scientific secretariat
  • Gilles Debizet, Umr Pacte, University of Grenoble
  • Michael Fenker, director of the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET - UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette, member of the network’s scientific secretariat
  • Patrice Godier, PAVE, associate at UMR Centre Emile Durkeim, Ensap de Bordeaux
  • Isabelle Grudet, researcher at the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET -UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette
  • Laure Heland, teacher and researcher at the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET -UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette
  • Elise Macaire, researcher at the Laboratoire Espaces Travail (LET - UMR LAVUE), Ensa de Paris La Villette, network director
  • Géraldine Molina, IRSTV, Ecole Centrale de Nantes
  • Nadine Roudil, researcher, Laboratoire Services Process Innovations, CSTB
  • Hélène Subrémon, researcher, LATTS (UMR 8134 - CNRS, ENPC, UPEMLV)
Call for papers - download


[1It may be considered that this “administrative and technical device aiming to improve the lifestyle of a district” (Roche, 2013) is able to play a role in the sustainability of operations (O’Zoux, Victor, 2012).

[2This had earlier been the subject of an internal network seminar : “Design, manage, use : new interactions ?” Paris, 20 October 2005. Concerning the transformations to the construction sector and the concept of service, see Carassus, 2003.