Ongoing research

Seating Accommodations

Benches and other seating devices are crucial for urban quality of life, for assisting active modes of mobility and reinventing urban space. But traditionally, benches are conceptualised more as design objects than as implements animating urban spatial politics. A limited standard knowledge exists on seating needs and preferences of citizens and cities tend to reinvent the bench and its placement. This project aims to understand the decision-making process regarding public benches in municipal governments and the various influencing factors and criteria. Its objective is to identify stakeholders and best practices, as well as possible needs for further training and research. Results will contribute to the development of seating policies integrable in the politics of mobility and urbanism.

Period : 2022

Project director / coordinator : Renate Albrecher

Consortium: City of Munich, Mobilitätsreferat, DE; Institute of Advanced Studies, Vienna, AT; Verein Bankkultur, CH

Funding / mandator : EIT Urban Mobility, KAVA 21164

Difference-Oriented Urban Planning (Diff_Urb)

Cities have multiple inhabitants and uses, and it is increasingly important to integrate them into urban planning. Taking into account differences in living conditions and spatial/temporal uses often relies on a single characteristic understanding, ie income, analysis of certain spaces or a particular time of day.

Integrating and recognizing the differences between the inhabitants of a city, while promoting living together, is a crucial issue for the making of cities. To face this challenge, decision-makers must adapt the urban space and implement policies that promote inclusion within a plural society.

This project, involving sociologists, political scientists, urban planners, architects and civil engineers at EPFL, the University of Geneva and ETHZ, has received a “SINERGIA” funding of 2.2 million francs from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The research consists of a comparative investigation in Geneva, Brussels, Hamburg and Turin, which have different ways of addressing urban planning. It seeks to analyze and describe the mechanisms and laws in place in these large European cities, the infrastructural support on which they rely, and the corresponding feelings of the inhabitants.

Period : 2021 – 2025

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann, Sandro Cattacin (UniGE), Adrienne Grêt-Regamey (ETHZ)

LASUR team : Guillaume Drevon, Nathalie Fanzy, Florian Masse, Yves Pedrazzini, Sanja Platisa

Funding / mandator : FNRS SINERGIA Program

Transit Oriented Development for Inclusive and Sustainable Rural-Urban Regions. TOD-IS-RUR

The 9 Beneficiaries and 12 Partner Organisations create a unique platform for 10 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), providing interdisciplinary and intersectoral expert-level training to analyserural-urban place-making and develop novel, context-based planning schemes for rural-urban regions (RURs). The aim of the network is to extend the concept of Transit-Oriented Development to RURs with a context-based approach, in which mobility-urbanisation interactions are studied in relation to socio-environmental qualities.

Drawing on a wide-range of European RURs and bringing in expertise from urban studies, research and training transcends disciplinary and national fragmentation, preparing a new generation of highly-skilled professionals able to meet the challenge of countering sprawl in the spatial contexts where most Europeans live, and implement inclusive and sustainable planning schemes for RURs.

Period : 2021 – 2025

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann, Paola Viganò (LAB-U), Caroline Gallez (LVMT)

LASUR team : Maya El Khawand, Flore Guichot

Funding / mandator : EU Framework Programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN)

Domotopy: “at home” in a world in motion

While recent research has looked into the extended territories of habitat, this research choses to update the thinking on housing and to consider it as a point of crystallisation of the transformation of lifestyles, particularly in terms of time. It hypothesises that the intensification and diversification of the rhythms of life give rise to new forms of appropriation, conflict and adjustment within the domestic sphere. What are the new usages and meanings of housing? How is the ‘home’ recomposed? How are individual and collective capacities to “keep up” deployed? How do inequalities in the domestic sphere evolve under rhythmic pressures?

The survey focuses on the domestic sphere in the Canton of Geneva, using mixed methods. The challenge is to contribute to an urban sociology that digs into the articulation between the spheres of experience, the production of space and societal transformations. The oppressive and emancipatory effects of the new rhythms of life must be considered as close as possible to the daily and intimate experience of people.

Period : 2020 – 2024

Project director / coordinator : Luca Pattaroni

LASUR team : Garance Clément, Fiona Del Puppo, Guillaume Drevon, Mard-Édouard Schultheiss

Funding / mandator : FNRS Division 1

Urban (in)hospitality: What place for newcomers in a precarious situation in Geneva and Brussels?

This project questions the development of forms of urban hospitality and inhospitality in European cities based on the cases of Geneva and Brussels. It will comparatively document and map the spatial and social trajectories of newcomers in precarious situations (undocumented migrants, refugees and immigrants) over several years.

Period : 2019 – 2023

Project director / coordinator : Luca Pattaroni, Maxime Felder

LASUR team : Guillaume Drevon, Joan Stavo-Debauge, Marie Trossat

Funding / mandator : FNRS Division 1

Cross-border commons. What modalities for integrating cross-border metropolitan areas in Europe?

The main goal of the research is to explore the conditions for developing cohesion in cross-border metropolitan areas. For this, it uses the concept of commons and analyzes the extent to which the existence of non-economic cross-border commons is a factor that eases cross-border relations, thereby creating cohesion.

Period : 2018 – 2022

Project director / coordinator : Guillaume Drevon, Vincent Kaufmann

LASUR team : Garance Clément, Alexis Gumy, Ander Audikana

Funding / mandator : FNRS Division 1

Couples’ networks and geography : a motility approach

This research aims to study how couple satisfaction is related to the network and geography of couples in a motility approach. Family migration and physical distance with family and friends may cause strains on the relationship and can sometimes lead to union dissatisfaction and dissolution. Many studies have focused on women’s employment, since family migration is often driven by men’s professional careers. Another important but less-researched reason is that moving to a new place may sever social relationships and social networks one or both partners were embedded in at the previous place of residence. The couple’s network overlap, i.e. the degree to which partners share friends and family, has been found to be an important factor in couple identity, quality and stability. We expect that the ability of mobile partners to share friends and family in old and new places is likely to depend on individuals’ motility, i.e. all the characteristics enabling actors to be spatially mobile (mobility skills, access and projects). While the importance of spatial mobilities in the research of contemporary families is more widely recognised, few empirical studies have been done on these issues. This project aims to fill this important research gap by analysing how motility and couple’s network overlap moderate the influence of residential mobility on the satisfaction with the partner. Data from the MOSAiCH 2019 survey including a specific module of questions on the topic will be used.

Period : 2019 – 2022

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann, Gil Viry

LASUR team : Guillaume Drevon, Florian Masse, Jacques-Antoine Gauthier (UNIL)

Partnership : Réseau NCCR LIVES

Funding / mandator : FNRS NCCR LIVES IP6

Python package for open geolocation data analytics

Researchers and practitioners in the fields of travel behavior, city science, and urban planning are craving making good use of geolocation data. This project offers an open library to ease privacy-by-design calculation of the basics of human mobility patterns, integrated with open contextual data.

It provides a framework to re-unify the multiformity of urban dynamics data, to articulate open and restricted data, to cohere offer and demand data, and to keep track of a privacy metric.

Period : 2023

Project author : Marc-Edouard Schultheiss

Funding / mandator : ETH board grant for Open Science

Lake Geneva Sustainability Monitoring Panel

In order to be able to conduct cutting-edge research on the transition of lifestyles, the the ENAC faculty at EPFL has launched a 5-year panel survey.
The aim of this survey is to measure the evolution of behaviors, uses and
opinions on lifestyles in the manner of an observatory. The panel will be perennial and composed of a representative sample of the population of the Lake Geneva region who agree to regularly respond to surveys (one major survey per year and 2-3 other targeted surveys). The panel is part of the deployment of the ENAC “Sustainable Territories” research cluster and constitutes an infrastructure that ENAC faculty puts at the service of its laboratories and researchers in order to develop interdisciplinary research.

The panel covers the Lake Geneva area, it will therefore cover the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, as well as the Bas Valais, the Pays de Gex, the Chablais and the French Genevois.

Period: 2022-2027

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann

LASUR team: Guillaume Drevon, Florian Masse, Elisa Tirindelli

Funding/Consortium: ENAC Faculty, Canton of Geneva, Canton of Vaud

Baseline study on the impact of the digital transition on the territory of Vaud

Based on the options taken by the Canton of Vaud in the digital field, the research objective is to explore the territorial impacts of the digital transition and to identify the identify the repercussions on the seven major issues identified for the complete revision of of the Cantonal Master Plan. Methodologically, it is based on interviews with experts and a state of the art.

Period: 2022-2023

Project director / coordinator Nicolas Baya-Laffite (UNIGE), Sandro
Cattacin (UNIGE) and Vincent Kaufmann (EPFL)

LASUR team: Chloé Montavon

Funding / mandator : Canton of Vaud

School enrolment projections 2020-2050 and the future of the Geneva school system by 2050 in relation to the planning of school building needs

The canton of Geneva finds itself in a complex urban context, marked
notably by a sustained demographic growth accompanied by important
migration flows, a specific cross-border situation, a rotation of the foreign population over the years, as well as a pressure on housing which has motivated numerous construction projects in a context of densification of housing in the urban agglomeration. In view of this dynamic context, the uncertainties regarding future socio-demographic developments are significant. The planning of the school infrastructure must take this uncertainty into account in order to ensure a quality public education service that is close to the age of the students, while supporting social cohesion. The research conducted aims to identify the needs in terms of school infrastructure in the Canton of Geneva for the secondary 1 and secondary 2 levels. From a methodological point of view, it is based on a demographic prospective analysis by scenarios and by expert workshops on the future of the school.

Period: 2022-2023

Project director / coordinator :Vincent Kaufmann, Mathias Lerch and Luca Pattaroni

LASUR team: Sonia Curnier, Chloé Montavon, Marc-Edouard Schultheiss

Funding / mandator : Canton of Geneva

Motility for professional and social integration

The research focuses on the role and importance of the ability to move, motility, to find a job. This work is based on the results of several recent researches conducted at the LaSUR in relation to the theme of social and professional insertion. From a methodological point of view, it is based on a quantitative survey of job seekers and the employed population in the Greater Geneva area.

Period: 2022-2024

Project director / coordinator:  Vincent Kaufmann

LASUR team: Eloi Bernier

Funding / mandator Canton of Geneva

Children on Campus

The EPFL campus has developed into a mixed and lively urban environment over the past two decades. Consequently, thinking about the EPFL community cannot be reduced to considering only students, professors and researchers, as often tends to happen. If EPFL outdoor spaces are to be genuine public spaces (diverse and inclusive) it is necessary to appreciate the plurality of their users, the diversity of their needs and aspirations.

Aligned with the ambition of the Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation to create a “collective vision” for the transformation of EPFL into a campus piéton, this research project is an opportunity to reflect specifically on the place given to (preschool) children on a university campus. With the increasing construction of EPFL/Unil’s care facilities, children represent a growing part of the campus’ users. They should therefore be considered in its transformation process, on equal terms as grown-ups. Incorporating their perspective into the design of the campus piéton means envisioning outdoor spaces as spaces to be explored with their peers and their caregivers, as opportunities to acquire spatial competencies, develop motor and sensory skills and enjoy regular contact with nature, culture and the adult world.

Period : 2022-2023

Project director / coordinator : Sonia Curnier

Funding / mandator : Habitat Research Center / Living Lab Grant 2022

Pedestrian mobility: the role of public benches in the promotion of walking

Walking as a means of transport in daily life accounts for a third of all trips, yet it remains largely overlooked in mobility policies. In this context, the present research aims to test the hypothesis that the bench is an essential ingredient in the attractiveness of walking, for various reasons related to the conviviality of public space, the appropriation of time and needs for rest of an increasingly elderly population. It therefore aims to lay the foundations for a policy of the bench, an omnipresent but little-known object in the public space.

Period : 2020 – 2022

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann, Garance Clément

LASUR team : Renate Albrecher, Maya El Khawand, Kamil Hajji

Funding / mandator : Chêne-Bourg city, Lancy city, Lausanne city, Geneva Canton

Mobility surveys exploration: Strategic orientations for mobility policies in the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva

The Cantons of Vaud and Geneva are funding a LaSUR research project that aims to deepen knowledge of mobility in their respective territories. The project takes the form of a series of thematic files, based mainly on data from Mobility and Transport Micro-censuses.

Period : 2017 – 2022

Project director / coordinator : Vincent Kaufmann

LASUR team : Guillaume Drevon, Yann Dubois, Juliana Gonzalez, Alexis Gumy, Armelle Hausser, Florian Masse, Emmanuel Ravalet 

Funding / mandator : Canton de Vaud, République et Canton de Genève

PaNaMo Daily Mobility National Panel

The goal of this research project is to operationalize the concept of motility in the form of a typology applied to modal choice questions. It is based on the PaNaMo panel data and is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Burgundy, in collaboration with the CNRS.

Period : 2018 – 2022

Project director / coordinator : Guillaume Drevon

LASUR team : Vincent Kaufmann, Alexis Gumy, Eloi Bernier, Juliana Gonzalez

Partnership : Réseau de recherche PaNaMo

Funding / mandator : CNRS