Université François Rabelais Tours

The research on Integrating Floods in Urban and Architectural Projects (PRÉCIEU) studies how flooding hazard is considered in urban projects, at neighbourhood scale. PRÉCIEU wants to have a particular regard for political strategies of middle-sized urban areas – based on the study case of French cities : Angers, Le Havre, and Narbonne – which choose to develop urban projects in established or presumed flood area. The PRÉCIEU positioning strategy is to shift the focus away from flood risk prevention and management to urbanism practice: this study will be focused on professions, tools and interests of spatial planning rather than on ‘best practices’ in flood risk prevention and management.

Research Questions

When and where do accounts or dilutions of the flooding constraint occur in urban projects ? Which professions seized upon the issue of integration of flood risk, by using what skills and by what legal and technical means ? Is there a system where the integration of flood risks in some urbanism professions could be profitable?


Concerning the methodological approach, it attempts to trace the genesis of urban projects to analyse elements of consideration of flooding. Our first method consists therefore of understanding project structuring, scheduling, and urban issues of neighbourhoods located in flood areas, with a specific focus on land use of in harvested areas. Then, the study of networks of interest will be carried out by a series of field interviews with actors of urban projects (Contracting authority, contracting authority support, specialized firms, consultant architects, landscape architects, developers, builder …)

Expected results

The purpose of PRÉCIEU is to:

– Analyse urban resilience in view of the fact, which means how urbanisation is developed at the closest proximity to flood risk, thought at neighbourhood scale.

– Identify steps of an urban project where the risk of flooding disappears and explain reasons for renouncement: why did it not function, why did the rules progress into an [impassable / unbreakable] constraint? How was it negotiated, in which framework and with what resources?

– Assess the influence of flood risk constraints on urban, landscape and architectural issues


  1. Mathilde Gralepois (Administrative & scientific coordinator): Associate Professor in urban and regional planning at Tours University, Planning and Environment Department, she is researching on public policies of flood risk prevention.
  2. Sylvain Rode (Scientific coordinator): Associate Professor in urban and regional planning at Perpignan University, he is working on consideration of flood risk into land planning.
  3. Mathieu Bonnefond: Associate Professor in Graduate school of surveyor and topographer and researcher at School of geometrician and topographer. He conducts his research on regulation methods of land uses.
  4. Sofia Guevara & Florence Orillard, research engineers for Précieu
  5. Laura Verdelli: Trained as an architect and Associate Professor in the Planning and Environment Department at Tours University, she is researching on contemporary dynamics of heritage cultural landscapes along rivers.
  6. Eric Daniel-Lacombe: Architect and Associate Professor at the National School of Architecture Paris-La Vilette. Since 1990, he has been at the head of edl, an architecture agency he founded.
  7. The Seine estuary risk control office (ORMES), Pascal Mallet. Non-profit organisations located in in Le Havre, devoted to support communication among inhabitants about major risks made and information about existing approaches by public services.

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