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Titolo call: International conference Small and medium-sized towns – a multi-disciplinary approach
Testo call:

International conference
Small and medium-sized towns – a multi-disciplinary approach
Tours (France), 9th and 10th December 2010

Looking overall at work involving the spatial, economic, social or institutional dynamics of
contemporary towns, a common observation made by the scientific community and research sponsors
is that most research focuses on the upper level of national or continental urban hierarchies, in other
words the metropolis. At the same time, geographers, economists, sociologists and town planners
have been paying increasing attention to the peripheral areas, both rural areas and old industrial
areas. On the other hand, concern has frequently been expressed about the lack of research focusing
on intermediate urban levels and also the lack of a multi-disciplinary approach to work which involves
urban development, geography, law, economics, and sociology. One reason for this could be the
difficulty of defining intermediate urban situations; this is generally based on looking at the upper and
lower extremes of a national or continental urban hierarchy. In other words, the urban development
context has first to be examined before selecting specific topics (e.g., local innovation, urban sprawl)
which appear to be more readily understood in other contexts.
On the contrary, is it not possible to consider that so-called small, medium-sized or intermediate towns
constitute a relevant level for observing broader issues of regional development and changes in
contemporary society? Can theoretical and methodological innovations stemming from research into
this “fuzzy” entity not add to the current debate about local/regional development? Planners,
geographers, jurists, political scientists, sociologists and economists are all invited to describe the
extent to which small and medium-sized towns can constitute a relevant scale of analysis of current
changes. The preferred geographical area and culture is Europe, but other continental situations or
comparative approaches will also be welcome.
The François-Rabelais University of Tours is hosting this conference through the "Cités, Territoires,
Environnement et Sociétés” laboratory (CITERES, UMR 6173 CNRS). The conference organization
committee includes laboratories from three other universities in central west France, namely Orléans,
Poitiers and La Rochelle, and is supported by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société
of Poitiers and the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme of Tours. The scientific committee of the
conference covers a broad range of disciplines (urban planning, geography, economics, sociology,
etc.) in France and abroad, and welcomes contributions from the social sciences. It also includes
members of DATAR (Delegation for Regional Development and Action) who are involved in the
Territoires 2040 think-tank devoted to intermediate towns and their surrounding spaces. Finally, this
conference has been set up in close partnership with Villes au Carré, an interregional resource centre
for urban policy and regional development, and its aim is to bring together the research and
experience of practitioners to help policy-makers and local stakeholders, and to identify new areas and
topics for analysis. The involvement of elected representatives and local technicians from small and
medium-sized towns will be organized through the network set up by Villes au Carré in the Centre and
Poitou-Charentes regions and could take the form of participation in round-table discussions or during
various sessions throughout the conference.

The conference will be organized around five themes.
Theme 1. Definition of small and medium-sized towns
Theme 2. The role of small and medium-sized towns within the region
Theme 3. Productive or residential: the economy of small and medium-sized towns
Theme 4. The effects of public policies
Theme 5. Living in a small or medium-sized town

Proposals can be sent up to 15th July 2010 to the following address:
The submission form can be downloaded from the conference site where you can find all the relevant

Deadline: 15/07/2010
Italia/Estero: Estero
Paper/Libro/altro: Paper

Modificato il : 07/06/2010 16.11 Modificato da: Chiara Tornaghi
Creato il : 07/06/2010 16.11 Creato da: Chiara Tornaghi

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