The Observatoire Ivanhoé Cambridge’s applied research activities are organized into three different complementary themes:

  • THEME 1 : Major urban projects. These are projects that, by their formal, environmental and social impacts, are profoundly changing the urban tissues in which they are located. These are urban design projects as well as real estate projects, and public projects as well as private projects. They determine and influence the global and local image of the city. Nevertheless they remain poorly documented. We lack reliable data on their programming, installation and development. We need to better understand the reasons for their successes, but also the causes of their failures. The Observatory is developing a reliable and comparable database that can be used by researchers and professionals wishing to study major urban project case studies.
  • THEME 2 : The metropolization of the South. Today, 75% of the world’s urban population lives in cities in the Global South. The majority of metropolises surpassing 10 million inhabitants are located in developing countries. This unprecedented growth forces us to rethink the development of cities of the South, using new tools and approaches. The future will be urban, especially in the cities of the South. Understanding the strengths as well as the challenges that cities have to overcome represents an important avenue for current and future planners and entrepreneurs. The Observatory should be seen in the context of putting global agendas into action, notably the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, COP 21 and the New Urban Agenda. In collaboration with affiliated researchers at partner universities in the South and international organizations, the Observatory develops its research actions and pilot projects in order to encourage sustainable, safe, healthy, and inclusive cities in the South that fall in line with their own paradigms and aspirations.
  • THEME 3 : New metropolitan issues. The sustainable development paradigm has profoundly changed the roles of stakeholders, and more specifically, the power of citizens and community groups in the development of cities. “All over the world, citizens demand urban quality.” (David Malone). As experts of their own life, citizens want to be listened to and heard. Cities wishing to attract families back to their centres, to offer quality shared spaces, and to fight urban sprawl and environmental risks, must reconsider their governance, their government policies and their collaboration and communication methods. The Observatory is working on new approaches to facilitate information, participation, and negotiation and is developing innovative tools for democratic governance models.
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