L’Espace géographique 2/10

Without summaries

Scaling laws and non-fractal/fractal transitions in geography (10 fig., 1 tabl.)

The concept of non-fractal/fractal transition was initially introduced in a physical framework. It is based on the fact that the world is generally organised according to scales. This transition describes the shift from non-fractal (scale-independent) states to fractal (scale-dependent) states and manifests itself locally on fairly short ranges of scales. It shows how some systems may appear to be non-fractal at some scales and fractal at others. This paper establishes three possible fractal laws of non-fractal/fractal transitions, which are compared with geographical (urban and physical) data in order to demonstrate the importance for geography of this structuring by scale.


Modelling the efficiency of a transport network: the case of horse postal routes in pre-industrial France (1632-1833) (2 encadrés, 4 fig., 1 tabl.)

This paper deals with the structuring effects of a new transport network on a territory, in the case at hand, Ancien Régime France. Postal routes at seven different dates were first digitised. Then the accessibility “of every place in France” was calculated using a Shimbel index, taking into account a secondary road network with a slower traffic speed. The accessibility values were weighted by geometrical accessibility, and the results were generalised using interpolation methods. This methodology highlights the regions that were favoured by postal routes and those that were less well serviced, i.e. according to planned decisions by the French State as early as the 18th century.


Yiwu (China), a global supermarket. Muslim entrepreneurs and migrants in a Chinese trading post (3 fig., 1 tabl.)

Thousands of African, Arab and Asian traders go to the world’s biggest wholesale market in small commodities in Yiwu (China). The town is internationally famous for its capacity to cater to Muslim guests. This paper analyses the development of this trading city, its place in transnational trade networks, and the Arab restaurant area in order to understand how the marketplaces of grassroots globalisation emerge.


The debate on Berlin as capital: analysis of a territorial event (1 encadré, 1 fig., 2 tabl.)

This article looks at the parliamentary debates of 20 June 1991 and proposes a geographical analysis of a territorial event: the return of the German government and parliament to Berlin. The issue of the capital, a recurring theme in the historical development of Germany, resurfaced after German reunification and is seen through the personal experience of the MPs. The debates also shed useful light on the territorial challenges of reunification: reinterpretation of “sites of memory”, new relations between east and west, a reflection on polycentrism, and Germany’s new position in geopolitics.


Tati, the urban planner and Hulot, the city dweller. Cinema as a critique of urban planning and urban theories

Jacques Tati’s films accompanied the changes to French society that took place in the 1950s-1970s. In Mon Oncle and Playtime, Tati depicted its most glaring features to reveal the forces at work in society. His critical eye was fierce. The authors of this article show that although he makes fun of various existing urban modes, his chief targets are the making of the city and its designers. At the core of his thinking is an investigation of planning and projects. They reflect an acceleration that neglects human, relational and communicational aspects, showing that people can only thrive in a city that is more than mere technical considerations.


Zoos as spatial system: a construct of the world and the right distance between man and animals (1 fig., 2 photos)

This geography of zoos explores the concept of spatial system to analyse how zoos are not just about architecture, but are also formed by discourse, regulations, technology and tools. Zoos construct a world largely through exoticism and wilderness. They also express a changing and challenged human-animal relationship through the “right” distance. This article aims to analyse key geographical categories and the connections between the material and the symbolic.


Book reviews

In this issue of l’Espace géographique, you will find critical reviews of the following books

BECKOUCHE P., RICHARD Y. (2008). Atlas d’une nouvelle Europe. Paris: Éditions Autrement, coll. «Atlas/Monde», 72 p. (Benoît MONTABONE, université de Rennes 2)

CAPRON G. (dir.) (2006). Quand la ville se ferme. Quartiers résidentiels sécurisés. Paris: Bréal, coll. «D’autre part», 288 p. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

DORIER-APPRILL É., GERVAIS-LAMBONY P. (coord.) (2007). Vies citadines. Paris: Belin, coll. «Mappemonde», 267 p. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

Espaces et Sociétés (2008). Dossier: La gentrification urbaine, n° 132-133, p. 11-160. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

FOUCHER M. (2009). Les Nouveaux (Dés)Équilibres mondiaux. Paris: La Documentation française, coll. «La Documentation photographique», n° 8072, 64 p. (Fabrice BALANCHE, université Lyon 2)

FRÉMONT A. (2008). Les Transports en France. Quelles mobilités pour quelle société? Paris: La Documentation française, coll. «La Documentation photographique», n° 8066, 64 p. (Anne BRETAGNOLLE, université Paris 1 p.nthéon-Sorbonne)

GRATALOUP C. (2009). L’Invention des continents. Paris: Larousse, coll. «Terre et nature», 224 p. (Yann RICHARD, université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

GRÉSILLON B. (2009). L’Allemagne, vingt ans après. Paris: La Documentation française, coll. «La Documentation photographique», n° 8070, 64 p. (Claude BATAILLON, CNRS Toulouse)

GROU P., GUILLON R., MERTENS-SANTAMARIA D., MESSAMAH K. (2008). Vers une très grande Europe? Quelle taille minimale pour l’Europe dans la mondialisation du XXIe siècle. Paris: Éditions de L’Harmattan, coll. «Logiques sociales», 132 p. (Benoît MONTABONE, université de Rennes 2)

KAHN S. (2007). Géopolitique de l’Union européenne. Paris: Armand Colin, coll. «128», 128 p. (Benoît MONTABONE, université de Rennes 2)

LAPOUGE G. (2009). La Légende de la géographie. Paris: Albin Michel, 276 p. (Claude BATAILLON, CNRS Toulouse)

LEES L. (2000). «A reappraisal of gentrification: towards a “geography of gentrification”». Progress in Human Geography, vol. 24, no 3, p. 389-408. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

LEES L., LEY D. (2008). «Introduction to spatial issue on gentrification and public policy». Urban Studies, vol. 45, n° 12, p. 2379-2384. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

LEES L., SLATER T., WYLY E. (2006). Gentrification. New York: Routledge, 344 p. (Myriam HOUSSAY-HOLZSCHUCH, École normale supérieure de Lyon)

PAQUOT T. (2008). La Folie des hauteurs. Pourquoi s’obstiner à construire des tours? Paris: Bourin, 220 p. (Yves GUERMOND, université de Rouen)

PÉTRARQUE (2002). Itinéraire de Gênes à Jérusalem. Grenoble: Éditions Jérôme Million, coll. «Orbita», 134 p. (Laurent CHALARD, université Paris IV-Sorbonne)

PFLIEGER G. (2006). De la ville aux réseaux. Dialogues avec Manuel Castells. Lausanne: Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, coll. «Espace en société, penseurs d’espace», 325 p. (Laurent BEAUGUITTE, université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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Last modified: May 25, 2010