Scientific project

Le Centre de Recherche sur l’Habitat (research centre on habitat) CRH is one of the seven components of the LAVUE Mixed research unit (CNRS n° 7218) and constitutes its head office. Created in 1986 and situated in the national architecture college of Paris-Val de Seine, it numbers some sixty members (architects, town planners, sociologists). This laboratory welcomes doctoral students in architecture and in town planning and development of the Doctoral school 395 (Paris-Ouest Nanterre University) as well as doctoral students in social sciences of the Doctoral school 401 (University Paris VIII Vincennes-St Denis). Its works mainly focus on: 1) the city in the making, actors, powers, complaints; 2) the inhabited spaces, between local and global; 3) the urban common goods, dynamics and controversies.

Rapport d’activités 2019-2020

By combining spatial and social sciences, the Housing Research Centre (CRH) seeks a synergy of several disciplines (urbanism, architecture, geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, aesthetics). It also draws on its involvement with non-academic environments through partnerships with various institutions or through engagement in citizen initiatives.

CRH researchers analyse human and human-induced habitat mutations. They deal with:
-  Issues on housing and dwelling;
-  Processes that weave and un-weave the urban realm;
-  Territories and territorialities affected by aesthetic and heritage processes as well as by social inequalities;
-  The dialogue between theory, research and pedagogy in architecture

Empirical research often focuses on France and the Paris metropolis, but is also internationally oriented (Europe, North and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and North America).

Living spaces, residential commitments and vulnerabilities

In the wake of its pioneering work on individual suburban housing, the CRH continues to explore inhabited spaces and their many scales: the house, the neighbourhood and its amenities, etc.
Some of the current research deals with notions as “dwelling” and “housing”. By studying a diversity of living modes (social housing, precarious, transit) the studies reveal the many faces of residential vulnerability.
Other inquiries focus on various forms of commitment in the habitat: participatory or collaborative housing, social innovations, Envrionmental and energy consumption awareness.
Housing policies and residential choices are also being studied, especially in lower-income neighbourhoods that undergo social restructuring.
A number of studies abroad observe the transformations of so-called “traditional housing”. They also report the impact of globalization on identification and appropriation processes.

Making and unmaking the city

Since the 1980s, some fundamental works by the CRH analyse urban production processes in terms of architectural and urban forms as well as of socio-spatial segregation.
City building processes have also been observed through the lens of professional transformations, with a focus on architects and other stakeholders of the production of urban space.
Another angle of inquiry has been provided by the study of public policies, regulations and housing standards.
This line of research also deals with the respective skills and legitimacy of professionals, inhabitants and citizens with the process of conception-reception of architecture and with the construction architectural and urban qualities

Territories and Territorialities

Sociological and political analysis of the city demands for a renewed diagnosis of sensitive urban territories, from city centres to suburban areas.
In that view, heritage construction processes should be analysed as arenas for places of confrontation between
projects and discourses. They are rooted in history and the plurality of memories, especially those of migrations and “undesirable” populations”. They reveal the embedding of heritage processes in the construction of identity.
This line of research is complemented by insights on territorialities are also provided by new transdisciplinary approaches that confront art, aesthetic and architecture in the public space.

Theory, research, pedagogy

Research on participation processes and on the way professional and non-professional stakeholders (architects and urban professionals, mediators, inhabitants and committed citizens),share knowledge, as well as the study of the conflicts or controversies occasioned by urban projects, nurture CRH’s ongoing discussions on the pedagogy of architecture and urban planning.
This implies a reflection on the forms, processes and contents of the teachings dispensed by its members as well as on the connections between disciplines and between institutions (schools of architecture and universities). It encourages pedagogical innovation in teaching urban planning and design and in sharing knowledge.