Interdisciplinary Center for Urban and Sociological Research

toulouseStructure and composition:

CIRUS is a research centre belonging both to the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail.

The CIRUS is composed of two units: CIEU (Interdisciplinary Center for Urban Studies) and CERS (Center for Studies in Rationality and Knowledge).


In 2007, it will be restructured and will include three components:

    • Urban studies (CIEU)
    • Sociology (CERS)
    • Anthropology (Center for Social Anthropology)

CIRUS consists of 51 permanent staff: 6 researchers from the CNRS, 34 lecturers (including 9 professors), 8 engineers or assistant engineers and 3 technical staff. It accommodates 86 doctoral students.

Key areas of research:

CIEU: toulouse

  • Cities and urban systems
  • Metropolitan development
  • Local economic and territorial systems
  • Urban restructuring, deprived areas
  • Housing, lifestyles and urban environment
  • Governance and sustainable development


  • Knowledge and networks
  • Cultural mediations
  • Health sociology
  • Gender
  • Marginality

Relevant research topics for ACRE include technological innovation (in particular in aeronautics, education and research, information technology), industrial mutation and urban change; study of relationships between industry and urbanisation; city and urban sprawl; housing (gated communities), cultural industries.



Geographical areas of investigation:

  • France with a focus on Midi-Pyrénées region and Toulouse
  • East, Western and Southern Europe
  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Northern, Western and Southern Africa

Research programmes conducted on relevant topics:

1. International and comparative research projects on urban systems and metropolisation:

  • “Strengthening urban systems in the context of globalisation” (2002-2006) with case studies in France, Spain and Portugal in cooperation with the local universities– financed by the European Union (Program INTERREG IIC)41
  • Urban expansion of metropolises in South-Western Europe” in cooperation with the University of Lisbon and the University of Catalonia in Spain (EURMET) (2003-2005) – financed by the European Union.
  • “City and Information Technology and Communication and new services” with case studies in Russia in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences in Moscow (2000-2003) – financed by the Ministry of Research (Funding Program ACI)
  • “Large cities and metropolisation in Russia and Western Europe: Same processes, convergence of trajectories?” (2002-2006) - financed by the CNRS (Funding Program PICS)
  • “The effects of the cultural globalisation on urban spaces: The example of commercial centres in two megalopolises of Latin America” (2002-2004) in cooperation with the Faculty of Urbanism in Rio (Brazil) and the University of Mexico- financed by the CNRS (Funding Program ATIP).

2. International and comparative research projects on local economic development

  • ”Local productive systems in Midi-Pyrénées and Quebec”: Towards the emergence of regional systems of regulation of local initiatives?” in cooperation with the University of Québec (Montreal, Chicoutimi, Hull) and the University of Concordia in Montreal (2001-2003) –financed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MAE in France and MRI in Quebec).
  • “Comparative study on the relationships between institutions and territories in France and Chili” (1999-2001) – Funding Program ECOS

3. Organisation of conferences related to creative knowledge and/or metropolitan development:

  • International Colloquium on “Cultural economy and its territories”, Toulouse, September 21-22 2006, with, among others, the participation of Allen Scott (University of California), Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota) and Robert Kloosterman (University of Amsterdam) as invited lecturers.
  • International Colloquium on “Businesses and urban mobility at the time of globalisation”, Mexico, July 11-13 2005.
  • International Colloquium on “Cities, institutions and territorial development”, Toulouse, 22-23 November 2004.

4. Expertise and consulting services for national, regional and local institutions (on land settlement, town planning, local economic development policies, housing policies) such as the Economic and Social Council of the Midi-Pyrénées region.



5. Training of professionals in the fields of urban and social policies


6. Teaching activities at the Universitt-Le Mirail at the Department of Geography:

  • Research Master “Cities and Territorial Development”,
  • Professional Master “Housing and Town Planning Policies”
  • Professional Master “Territories, Land Settlement and Development”