Project Presentation

SPACE AND POLITICS IN THE CAPITAL CITY : An international comparative research on the production of urban space in capital cities

Cities of the project : Moscow, Tehran, Ankara, Astana, Abu-Dhabi, Cairo

Teams of the project : UMR CITERES, UMR LAVUE, USR IFEA, USR IFEAC, Russian Academy of Science/Institute of Geography

This research project involves the international comparison of different capital cities to study the place and role of political power and global urban governance in the creation, making and development of capital cities . The following questions will constitute the core of our interrogation : how are the national imaginaries of capital cities forged by the spatial configuration of political symbols ? What are the conflictual and/or consensual relationships between different political actors in the conception of capital cities ? What are the specific socio-political and economic flows among these countries and how do they in turn influence capital city building ?

Our main objective is to study, in a comparative manner, the production of capital cities according to three different but interconnected research themes :

  • 1- The spatial imagination and conception of capital cities according to political priorities
  • 2- The influence of global urban networks and the circulation of international models in urban development and urban space.
  • 3- The reciprocal impact between urbanisation policies in capital cities and various demands from inhabitants concerning urban spaces and the environment.

In order to study these questions, we propose the cases of Ankara, Moscow, Tehran, Abu Dhabi, Astana and Cairo. Our choice to focus on these capitals comes from the fact that the countries in which they are located are often present in the studies of international relations in terms of geopolitics, state and diplomatic relations but less in urban studies.

The objective of the project will be to study firstly the capital building process as the image of nation and political regime and then to show the backdoordiscussions and divergences between different actors in the symbolic construction of space via capital cities. Secondly, the project aims to study the relationship between the political power and the changing designs of the capital city from a comparative perspective focusing on actors involved in city making. Third, the project plans to focus on the different types of international engagement by these countries via their governmental bodies and their capital cities’ local governments and municipalities.

Particular attention will be paid to the variations that emerge/appear in the analysis and explanation of global governance, as well as different perspectives on network governance and its different scales. In addition, international/transnational networking as the increasingly more widespread mode of governing will be examined. The objective is to go beyond the macro-level approach of global urbanism and urban politics and to study their impacts in grassroots level and the socio-political reactions they may bring out from city dwellers in order to protect their everydaylife and environment.

SpacePol is also part of the Atlas Global Network:

“The Global Atlas Network is a collaboration platform of independent projects to map and analyze social structures, processes and practices in different cities across the globe. These projects come from initiatives that are not similar and do not intend to become similar. Their networking is a way to join forces in the effort of rendering more visible the attempts to identify, map and explore urban social processes and to expand the debate on the social dimensions of cities. By bringing to the fore and making these process more visible, the issues and stakes related to them can reach more easily the social and political agendas.”


Dr. Gülçin Erdi, project main director :

Dr.Clara Rivas Alonso, project’s post-doctoral researcher :



Citer ce billet
MH (2022, 1 février). Project Presentation. ANR SPACEPOL. Consulté le 24 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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