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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc-PhD Position #CD22-17: In the nature of the logistics city: A French-German comparison of professional gardening in logistics parks

10 Oct 2022

Job Information

Université Gustave Eiffel
Research Field
Geography » Other
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

The general public is familiar with the logistics industry – a sector dedicated to the handling and transport of manufactured goods – through the recent development of e-commerce, but in fact it is central to the industrial reorganisations that have taken place in all industrialised countries since the 1980s. These reorganisations have led to the emergence of infrastructures specifically dedicated to logistics operations (container ports, freight airports, multimodal water/rail/road platforms, warehouse clusters), all designed to enhance rationalisation in the sector. In Europe, these infrastructures are mostly found on the periphery of big cities. Up to now, research in geography and urbanism has focused on the factors underpinning the development of these infrastructures and the challenges they pose for urban planning, development and governance at local and metropolitan levels. In contrast, there has been little in-depth work on the impact of these infrastructures on urban and architectural forms, on landscapes and natures in the mostly periurban areas where they operate.

Research conducted in France and in Germany on the morphological changes caused by the gradual “exurbanisation” of industries in French and German cities since 1945 has emphasised the effects of functionalism and zoning. They have resulted in economic development being concentrated in “Zones d’activités économiques” (ZAE – business parks), Gewerbegebiete in German, which are subject to less strict planning rules than apply to other urban development, with the result that the design of these business parks is often out of step with their immediate or larger scale environment. However, this is not all there is to the analysis of models of nature in these areas. At the level of local authorities, the renewed interest in the quality of industrial or business landscapes in the 1990s led, in France and in Germany, to a tightening of the regulations in favour of biodiversity or landscape conservation, as well as greater diversity in the actors involved in urban production and management, with nature becoming an integral component of urban and territorial economic development projects.

The primary aim of the thesis will be to situate logistics development within the history of morphological, social and ecological changes brought about by economic development on the edges of large French and German conurbations. To what extent does it perpetuate, disrupt, contradict or counteract that history?

To this end, the research work will be divided into three complementary and interwoven threads:

1/ Urban gardening.

Since the 1990s, a significant body of research has grown up around “urban gardening” (Loram, 2011; Torres et al., 2018, 2017; Ernwein, 2019). The thesis will contribute to greater awareness of the variety of the urban contexts in which gardening takes place. Indeed, there has been little study of the practice within business parks, although these spaces account for 30% of built-up land in France and 20% in Germany (Colsaet, 2021). In particular, it will examine the influence of the modes of production and management specific to logistics parks on the conditions, organisation and meanings of these practices for gardeners, without prejudging their status or the form of nature they produce.

2/ The logistics city

In return, the thesis will seek to examine the contributions of urban gardening to the production of the particular spatiality of logistics parks. According to some authors (Cowen, 2014; Lefebvre, 1974), this spatiality is the product of a gendered, racialising and depoliticised social order. To what extent do gardening practices contribute to this order? Do they help to reproduce it or, in certain conditions, to suspend or even oppose it? The thesis will thus make a contribution to current debates around the “logistics city” and the “logistics metropolis” (Dablanc, Frémont, 2015).

3/ Franco-German comparison

A final objective of the thesis will be to understand how and for what ends nature is taken into account. Are we seeing modes of relationship with nature, modes of defining urban milieux or environments that differ according to the contexts? In order to give its findings wider application, the thesis will draw on a comparison between two European regions, Ile-de-France and the Ruhr, chosen because of their strategic position in European and national logistics networks (each region alone accounts for more than 20% of its country’s logistics jobs), but also because of thinking about industrial landscape or business landscape that dates back to the 1990s. To do this, the thesis will produce an inventory of public policies favouring the protection of landscapes and biodiversity conducted in both regions’ economic development zones. It will situate the regulations that apply to logistics development within this inventory, and it will provide a typology of the different modes of producing and managing nature in logistics parks.


Colsaet A., 2021, Laisse béton ? La responsabilité de l’action publique dans l’artificialisation des sols : l’exemple des zones d’activités économiques en France et en Allemagne, Thèse de doctorat en sciences économiques, Université Paris-Saclay.

Cowen D., 2014, The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dablanc L. , Frémont A., 2015, La métropole logistique. Le transport des marchandises et le territoire des grandes villes. Paris : Armand Colin.

Ernwein M., 2019, Les natures de la ville néolibérale. Une écologie politique du végétal urbain, Grenoble, UGA Editions, 2019.

Loram, A., et al. 2011, Urban Domestic Gardens : The Effects of Human Interventions on Garden Composition. Environnemental Management : 48 (808).

Lefebvre L., 1974, La production de l’espace. Paris : Anthropos.

Torres, A.-C., et al., 2018. Small but powerful: The importance of French community gardens for residents. Landscape and Urban Planning : 180 : 5-14.

Torres, A.-C. et al., 2017. Specificities of French community gardens as environmental stewardships. Ecology and Society : 22(3).


Research Field
Sociology » Urban sociology
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
Research Field
Sociology » Urban sociology
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Additional Information

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month)
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria :

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.
  • One application per call per year is allowed
  • Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023)
  • Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows
  • Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme
  • There is no age limit
Selection process
Additional comments
  • The first step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer
  • International mobility planned : Please contact your PhD supervisor for international mobility detail.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email:
  • Web site for additional job details :
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université Gustave Eiffel
Postal Code
5, Boulevard Descartes


5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code