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François Mancebo is full professor of planning and sustainability at the University of Reims, director of the International Research Center on Sustainability (IRCS) and of the Institute of Regional Development, Environment and Urban Planning (IATEUR). He is at the origin of the Rencontres Internationales de Reims en Sustainability Studies, an annual event.

He held, during 2011-2012, the Chaire de la France Contemporaine at the Université de Montréal  where he addressed the topic of “sustainability, equities and social justice”. Previously he was professor of planning at Grenoble 1 University. Meanwhile, he also has been science adviser to the LCPC (French National Public Works Research Laboratory). He started his academic career as associate professor at Paris 4 Sorbonne University in 2000. There he completed his HDR (post PhD capacity degree to supervize research programs) on sustainable development. His book “Le développement durable” (Sustainable Development) (second edition 2010) received the Logerot prize of the French Society of Geography. Besides, he is member of the planning section of the French CNU (National Universities Council) and holder of the PES (French Scientific Excellence Premium).

His background is an interdisciplinary one. He began as a planning engineer at the DAU (Urban Planning Department) of Paris, at the beginning of the the eighties. He realized there how irrealistic it was to consider planning as a static blueprint —which it was at this period—; a standardized planning that didn’t considered the complexity of the urban human-environment interactions. This is the reason why he took advanced studies courses in Ecology at Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6 University (MPhil in 1985). Thereafter He started running Praxis (an environment and impact studies agency) which he managed until 2000, and completed meanwhile a Ph D (summa cum lauda – Université de Toulouse) in environmental planning in 1997.



His research aims to determine the conditions of urban transitions to sustainability. He considers planning as an adaptive process subject to continuous adjustments which address primarily governance and policy making. He points out that, while sustainability policies are supposed to simultaneously fulfill environmental justice and intergenerational equity (preservation of the resources and protection of the planet for the generations to come), usually it doesn’t work.

He considers that the more adequate framework to address this antagonism is boundary work and participatory joint fact-finding, associating scientists, staff advising relevant policy makers, local communities and other stakeholders. This issue is the backbone of a longer-term endeavor: building a consistent theoretical framework for sustainable development.

Recent direction of research programs:

  • 2017-2020 : European project Smart-U-Green (Smart Urban Green: Governing conflicting perspectives on transformations in the urban rural continuum), an ERA NET ENSUF Smart Urban Future (Horizon 2020) program. Partners: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (DRIFT), Université de Camerino (SAAD), Université de Reims (HABITER).
  • 2015-2017 : Projet Essaimage “Transition énergétique dans les villes moyennes : le cas de la grande région Grand Est (Alsace, Champagne‐Ardenne, Lorraine) (Energy Transition in Mid-size Cities of French Grand Est region)”.
  • 2012-16: Direction of the Projet National (National Program) “Ville 10D – Ville d’idées” 4th theme: “Sous les pavés, la ville: aménager la rencontre de deux mondes” (Under the Cobblestones lies a City: Planning the Encounter of Two Different Worlds). Partners: HABITER, LPPA Collège de France (Alain Berthoz), IAUidf, GRECAU, IRPhIL, LACTH, LADYSS, LASH
  • 2012-14: Direction of the project “De l’autre côté du miroir – Un périurbain pensé par le rural, pour une périurbanisation modelée par les usages” (Through the Looking Glass – Adopting a Rural Standpoint to Shape Periurbanization) within the PUCA program “Du périurbain à l’urbain”. Partenaires: HABITER, EAPVS, LADYSS, Université de Montreal, IUG.
  • 2012-16: Direction of the Planning Policies WP, in the “projet émergent” TrEcoPolEm “Consequences of the diffusion of new pollutants (endocrine disruptors) in the urban environment” (IRCS-IAE-ICMR-Région Champagne-Ardenne)
  • 2009-12: Scientific direction of the UMR CNRS PACTE Work Package, in the ANR (National Research Agency) program Ville Durable (Sustainable city) AETIC (Integrated Economic Approach for Climate-friendly Territories). Other partners: UMR CNRS LEPII, ENERDATA Conseil, VEOLIA Environnement, CSTB, IDDRI (Sciences Po Paris), UMR PACTE
  • 2009-11: Scientific direction of the CNRS PIRVE (Interdisciplinary Research Program on Cities and Environment) project “Vers des espaces urbains et périurbains durables – Une étude de la transition vers la durabilité pensée à l’échelle régionale aux horizons 2020 et 2050” (“Toward sustainable urban and periurban areas: implementing transition to sustainability at a regional level”) within the interdisciplinary research group SOCLE3 (see below ” Supervision/direction of research groups”).
  • 2008-12: Scientific direction of GICC2 program EXCLIM (Climatic Exiles) of the MEEDDM (French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development), on urban policies in the event of population displacements due to climatic causes. Partners: UMR PACTE, UMR CURAPP, IDDRI (Sciences Po Paris), IRIS (EHESS).

A Selection of recent publications: 


  • Mancebo F., Salles S., eds, 2016, Urban Agriculture: Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum, Special Issue Challenges in Sustainability, volume 4, issue 1.
  • Mancebo F., Sachs I., 2013, Social Justice and Sustainability: Back to Planning?, Springer (to be published).
  • Mancebo F., 2011, Ville durable et changement climatique, Environnement Urbain Urban Environment, vol 5, VRM, Montréal.
  • Mancebo F., 2010, Le développement durable -2nde édition, Collection U, Armand Colin.


  • Mancebo F., 2018, “Urban Agriculture for Urban Regeneration in the Sustainable City”, in Quality of Life in Urban Landscapes: In Search of a Decision Support System, The Urban Books series, Cocci Grifoni R., D’Onofrio R., Sargolini M. eds, pp. 311-317, Springer.
  • Mancebo F., 2017, “Sustainability Science in the Light of Urban Planning”, Challenges In Sustainability, Earth System Governance Task Force Initiative on Sustainability Science special issue, vol. 5, n° 1, pp. 26-34.
  • Mancebo F., 2016, “Urban Agriculture, Commons and Urban Policies: Scaling up Local Innovation”, Challenges In Sustainability, vol. 4, n° 1, pp: 10-19.
  • Mancebo F., 2016, “Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum to Design Resilient and Sustainable Cities””, I Quaderni di Careggi en Route, n° 2, pp. 13-16, UNISCAPE.
  • Mancebo F., 2015, “Combining Sustainability and Social Justice in the Paris Metropolitan Region”, Sustainability in the Global City: Myth and Practice, Isenhour C., McDonough G., Checker M. eds, Series New Directions in Sustainability, pp. 263-283, Cambridge University Press.
  • Mancebo F., 2015, “Insights for a Better Future in an Unfair World – Combining Social Justice with Sustainability”, in Transitions to Sustainability, Mancebo F., Sachs I. eds, pp. 105-116, Springer.
  • Mancebo F., 2015, “”Ceci n’est pas une Pipe”: Unpacking Injustice in Paris”, In Griffin T. L., Cohen A., Maddox D. (eds), The Just City Essays, vol. 1, pp. 21-24, J.Max Bond Center on Design for theJust City at the Spitzer School of Architecture, New York.
  • Mancebo F., décembre 2015, “Las condiciones de transición hacia la sostenibilidad de los Espacios Urbanos”, Pensamiento Urbano, n° 2, pp. 54-59, Findeter-Colciencias, Bogota.
  • Mancebo F., 2014, “Périurbanisation et durabilité : inverser la perspective”, Cybergeo, European Journal of Geography, n° 686, rubrique Aménagement Urbanisme.
  • Mancebo F., 2013, “The Pitfalls of Sustainability Policies: Insights into Plural Sustainabilities”, Challenges in Sustainability, vol. 1, n° 1, pp. 29-40.
  • Burger C., Mancebo F., 2013, “Developing Wind Powerplants in Champagne-Ardenne Region: An assessment of the acceptability and local governance issues”, in Renewable Energy Governance, Michalena E., Hills J. M. ed., Lectures Notes in Energy, Springer (to be published).
  • Mancebo F., 2011, “La ville durable est-elle soluble dans le changement climatique ?”, Environnement Urbain-Urban Environment, vol. 5, pp. a1-a9, VRM, Montréal.
  • Mancebo F., 2009, “Des développements durables. Quel référentiel pour les politiques de développement durable en Europe ? / Sustainable developments. Sustainable policies within the EU: looking for a framework”, Cybergeo, European Journal of Geography, n° 438, rubrique”espace, société, territoire”,
  • Mancebo F., 2009, “French risk and disaster management system within the EU”, in Building Safer Communities. Risk Governance, Spatial Planning and Responses to Natural Hazards, Fra Paleo U. ed., NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – E : Human and Societal Dynamics, Vol. 58 IOS Press, Netherlands.
  • Mancebo F., 2009, “Inscription territoriale du développement durable et responsabilité environnementale. Ecolabels et Quotas individuels transférables”, Débats et Perspectives, Vertigo – La revue Electronique en Sciences de l’Environnement, UQAM, Montréal.
  • Mancebo F., 2008, “Coping with urban sprawl : toward a sustainable peri-urbanization, giving way to residential path”, Individualism in the urban fabric, pp. 51-57, oct. 2008, Les Annales de la Recherche Urbaine, PUCA.

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