Under the direction of Prof. Vincent Kaufmann, Laboratory of Urban Sociology (LASUR) comprises of around fifteen researchers and PhD students united towards the comprehension of urban experiences within a social science perspective.

Situated within the EPFL and the ENAC Faculty (Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering), the LASUR researches the social conditions that produce and appropriate cities or territories, collaborating intensively with its partners in engineering and architecture. The LASUR confronts urban phenomena through the mobility capacities of its actors. In this perspective, the principal research themes are daily mobility, residential history, the dynamics of suburbanization and gentrification, public space, and network management.

“Civic tech” includes a very large number of digital tools that aim to bring citizens closer to the political process by transforming the functioning of democracy through a renewal of their forms of engagement. These digital tools are most often either backed by public institutions, which may recur to public or private service providers for the deployment of the tool, or by the civil society.

The challenge of the conference is to show that rhythm is a much richer, polysemic, complex and fluctuating notion (Michon 2010) by distancing ourselves from a conception that is limited to the order of movement. Rhythm is an essential heuristic notion for analysing, observing, representing and rethinking a “liquid society” (Bauman 2013), “worlds” in “movement” (Drevon et al 2017) and their “paradoxes” (Kaufmann 2008), a notion that makes it possible to go beyond the turn of mobility (Urry 2012) and to design new ways of approaching contemporary societies.

Situated within the ENAC Faculty, the LASUR celebrated its 15th anniversary this autumn. From the contextualization of former research conducted by the LASUR these past 15 years, this event aimed to question the role of social sciences within engineering and architecture schools, and the contemporary issues of a sociological thinking of the city. Researchers from different disciplines and fields shared their vision about the role of social sciences in the field of urban studies nowadays.