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HABITER Study center in Development, Territory and Landscapes

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

HABITER is the Study Center in Development, Territory and Landscape which, within the ULB's Faculty of Architecture La Cambre Horta, is engaged with the study of landscape, urban and territorial transformation dynamics in the North as well as in the South of the world.   Its activities are focused on cooperation and development issues at large, with an ecological and cultural approach to sustainability and context.   HABITER was created in June 2013, as a step in the development of research activities within the Faculty of architecture; a process started with the creation of the Center of Associated Labs for Research in Architecture CLARA in January 2011, and the unification of the two former superior institutes for architecture ISACF-La Cambre (founded 1927) and ISAI-Victor Horta (founded 1711 as Royal Academy of Fine Arts) and their integration in the university in 2010.   HABITER develops its research activities in close link to the two other pillars of the university's mission: teaching and service to society.   The members of HABITER explore the rationales of spatial and societal transformations of urban and non urban spaces, trough the peculiar tools of architecture, urban and landscape design, supported by the input of connected disciplines such as the Humanities, the Social, Natural and Engineering Sciences.   The works developed within HABITER target fields such as cultural heritage, urban services, landscape, energy transition, local governance, sustainable neighbourhoods, etc. seen as the indicators and drivers of the ongoing developments and changes within cities and territories nowadays. The approach developed within HABITER is context- and scale-specific ' from the architectural object to the urban, landscape and territorial systems ' and turns its attention to the existing or required socio-political, technical, and spatial devices able to guarantee innovative forms of development, in relation to the rising frames of reference in regional planning, governance, landscape and ecological urbanism.


MODSCAPES - Modernist reinventions of the rural landscape

MODSCAPES explores rural landscapes produced by large-scale agricultural development and colonisation schemes planned in the 20th century. This transnational research project investigates 11 case studies across Europe and beyond.

At first sight, there is a contradiction between ‘modernist’ and ‘rural’. Yet throughout the 20th century, many European States imagined, adopted and implemented large scale development and agricultural schemes to modernise the countryside: parliamentary as well as fascist regimes, socialist republics or colonial powers. Today, there are thousands of modernist farms, hamlets, villages and towns in Europe and beyond, where several million inhabitants live or have lived.

Modernist rural development schemes were pivotal to Nation- and State-building policies, and to the modernization of the countryside. They provided a testing ground for the ideas of scientists, architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects and artists, who converged around a shared challenge.


MODSCAPES aims to explore, document, and raise awareness around this largely underestimated shared cultural heritage, which has seldom been the topic of international and interdisciplinary research.

MODSCAPES introduces the concept of landscapes as a unifying paradigm between tangible (the built environment) and intangible legacies (the related cultural and sociopolitical contexts) to bridge the gap between research, practice and policies through a trans-disciplinary approach.

ADCP: Agricultural Development and Colonization Schemes
ADCS: Agricultural Development and Colonization Policies
MRL: Modernist Rural Landscapes