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On the links between natural amenities, residential processes and urban planning : lessons from an Alpine urban region

Abstract : Urban regions in and close to the Alps have specific characteristics: they combine a limited land resource for urban development with particular environmental quality in their mountainous hinterland. This combination makes them particularly prone to peri-urbanisation, and potentially social segregation. In the context of continued metropolisation, both of these processes work against central objectives of urban planning, notably compactness of settlement patterns, functional mix, social equity and cohesion. In Alpine urban regions, the links between the mountain environment, urban planning policies and residential processes remain, however, not well understood.This thesis analyses urban planning and residential moves in an Alpine urban region. It seeks to understand the links between the mountain environment, urban planning and notably two residential processes: peri-urbanisation and social segregation. Its general objective is to investigate how and to what extent these residential processes are influenced by (i) the mountain environment and (ii) urban planning policies and to develop recommendations for urban and regional planning. The thesis does this via three distinct contributions which use the urban region of Grenoble in the French Alps as a central study area.The first contribution addresses changes in contemporary urban planning practice in the study region. Based on qualitative research, it focuses on the shift towards strategic spatial planning and on territorial re-scaling towards large urban-peri-urban planning perimeters. The chapter shows the creation of new governance arenas which call into question local planning cultures.The second contribution investigates the links between preferences for the natural environment, residential moves and social segregation. Using location choice models for the study region and the Marseille metropolitan area, this chapter presents a counterfactual segregation analysis that compares segregation outcomes ``with'' and ``without'' preferences for the natural environment. The main result is that households' search for natural environments has significant impacts on social segregation. It most often contributes to reinforcing segregation, but can also be an attenuating factor.The last contribution investigates the links between urban planning policies and residential processes. The chapter develops a residential location choice model in order to predict and analyse residential demand patterns for different planning policy scenarios in terms of concentration and segregation. The scenario results show that continued trends in urban planning policies would sustain and potentially reinforce peri-urbanisation in the region. Confining planning policies are found to be capable of curbing and potentially reversing demand dispersion. Policies that aim at re-centralising demand sustain and potentially increase social segregation levels.The results of this thesis call for a stronger integration of the natural environment in urban and regional planning. If spatial disparities in environmental qualities contribute to residential processes that are detrimental to compact urban forms and an equitable access to environmental quality, then planning should incorporate and account for these disparities in order to prevent further loss of land resources, socio-spatial fragmentation and environmental inequality, not only in an Alpine urban region context.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 4, 2016 - 3:58:09 PM
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Dominik Clemens Cremer-Schulte. On the links between natural amenities, residential processes and urban planning : lessons from an Alpine urban region. Economics and Finance. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAE002⟩. ⟨tel-01392697⟩

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