About the Journal

Peer-reviewed journal for interdisciplinary research in architecture, urban design and planning

Current Issue

Comparing Habitats

In recent decades, cities and territories have radically changed; the ecological, societal and technological transition has opened up an entirely new season of thinking in the field of urbanism, entailing a necessary and deep revision of tools, categories and methods inherited from the past. The variety of spatial forms that articulate infrastructures, built morphologies, bio-environmental systems, economies, and urban-rural relations, challenges simplistic oppositions such as centre/periphery, city/countryside, nature/society and call for new alliances among disciplines. Climate change, the depletion of energy resources, growing migrations, the emergence of new forms of work and lifestyles, or the rising impact of digital technologies, are just some of the dynamics that are thoroughly transforming the ways in which our urbanized territories are rapidly developing and which upcoming generations of architects and urbanists will have to increasingly deal with. The issues of the contemporary architectural and urban project related to environmental and social equity/security, require a deep rethinking of technical knowledge and embedded traditions, and this beyond any principle of hierarchy or historical progress. As much in scientific – experimental and theoretical – as in professional practices, Comparison seems more essential than ever. Scientific training in comparative methods requires regular updating, in order to take into account, on the one hand, the rapid evolution of socio-spatial realities under study, methods of data collection, and archiving, and on the other, the variety of languages, techniques, and scales involved in the description and analysis. Comparing Habitats aims to discuss the actuality and the problems related to Comparison as a Scientific Method and its heuristic efficiency, while focusing on its devices, purposes and challenges..

This Thematic Issue of Contour compiles the peer-reviewed articles resulting from the contributions to the the International PhD Seminar "Comparing Habitats". The seminar took place was organized by the Laboratory of Urbanism EPFL , Habitat Research Center EPFL and the Institute for Geography and Sustainability UNIL in the frame of Swissuniversities Program for the Doctoral Program of Architecture and Sciences of the City EDAR EPFL.

Guest Editors: Elena Cogato Lanza, Martina Barcelloni Corte, Florence Graezer Bideau

Contour Editors: Darío Negueruela del Castillo, Selena Savic, Shin Koseki

Cover Image: "parcellaire palimpsest", Guillaume Vanneste

Published: 2019-09-12



Elena Cogato Lanza, Martina Barcelloni Corte, Florence Graezer Bideau
Abstract 234 | xml Downloads 102 pdf Downloads 124

Voices /Positions

Singularités Comparées. Transformer les figures rurales de l’urbain généralisé

Antoine Brès, Béatrice Mariolle
Abstract 234 | xml Downloads 117 pdf Downloads 57

Comparing Habitats Video Archive

Abstract 165 | html Downloads 373 xml Downloads 97

Urban Form

A Geography of Dispersed Urbanization

Guillaume Vanneste
Abstract 330 | xml Downloads 62 pdf Downloads 128

A Mirror Effect. Recomposition of the Industrial Valleys, Brussels and Montreal

Marine Declève
Abstract 255 | xml Downloads 89 pdf Downloads 68

Page 22

Comparing Field-Recordings: Listening in and listening to Hong Kong

Andrin Uetz
Abstract 211 | xml Downloads 71 pdf Downloads 73

Urban Models

Cultural Influences