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Car parking in residential neighbourhoods in the conurbation of Lille : acquiring knowledge to understand and then act in the context of urban public policies


Local authority managers (elected representatives and technical staff) and their advisers (urban development agencies and research consultancies) are regularly faced with the question of car parking on the public highway, whenever the issues of reclassifying and changing the status and functions of urban space are raised.

A neighbourhood planning and development study, plans to "residentialise" low-cost housing assets, a project to refocus the modal balance of the highway (for example, by developing a tramway or adding cycle lanes) or assessments of urban renewal are all key times when the issue of the place of the car is raised. The question is all the more difficult to tackle insofar as residents are highly sensitive to it : they see on-street parking as an extension of their own home. A parking area represents an urban space (private or public) that needs to be defined and characterised before its operation can be understood or solutions advocated. This question has already been studied and researched in city-centre neighbourhoods (cf : PUCA research). This thesis will examine car parking in mono-functional neighbourhoods used primarily for residential purposes. Particular attention will be paid to various urban forms (recent estates, dense older fabric and large low-cost housing complexes) and various neighbourhood locations (city centre, suburban neighbourhoods and areas on the outskirts of conurbations). The purpose of the research is to offer local stakeholders a comprehensive approach to managing residential parking, appropriate to the specific problems of residential neighbourhoods, which incorporates both the interfaces (urban development, housing and travel) and parameters that influence residents’ choice of practices.

Année d'élaboration :


Origine (géographique, historique, économique, sociale…) :

Four exploratory studies have been carried out since 2002 for the purpose of developing this research project, which has been funded by various stakeholders: CERTU, DIV, PUCA and Lille Métropole Urban Community.
The Urban Community of Lille has been particularly closely involved in these discussions and contributing information, to trigger a move towards tackling this subject in the context of developing its community parking policy. Lille Métropole Urban Community, for example, instigated the principle of trials in two neighbourhoods with the aim of finding innovative, partnership-based solutions to the problem of empty underground car parks in low-cost housing complexes whilst the public highway is saturated with parked cars.


The geographical scope of the research is the conurbation of Lille.
The main conceptual contribution of this thesis is the choice of a multi-disciplinary approach to define the concept, shed light on its complexity and illustrate its operation within several systems. A themed approach would not have allowed consideration of the interstitial aspect, between public space and private space, nor would it have highlighted the role of the machinery of parking nor the effects of leverage in planning and developing public space and modifying travel practices.
The analyses carried out will cross-reference three disciplinary approaches, primarily:

- A statistical estimate that will be used to characterise the supply of off-street residential parking based on existing statistical sources (INSEE population census, MELT/FILOCOM file and Lille Métropole Household Travel Survey). This analysis, carried out at the level of the Urban Community of Lille, will be compared with the Urban Community of Bordeaux to try to identify possible common factors.
- An analysis of various urban forms that lead to specific forms of parking organisation and a different relationship to public space (orthophotos, mapping, mass plans, etc.).
- A sociological analysis of residential parking choices and practices, based on around 50 semi-directed interviews with residents.

A collaborative project has been set up between MELT/CERTU and Lille Métropole Urban Community

Financement - Ressources

Thesis registered with the Créteil research unit (Institute for Urban Development, University of Paris XII).
Research carried out in a professional context, formalised by an accredited study agreement, signed by the Personnel and Services Department at MELT, the CETE Nord-Picardie and the doctoral student.


A comprehensive methodology will be put forward to be used by some or all technical services in local authorities or urban development agencies. In the final part of the thesis, this will set out possible trials that could be (or are already being) carried out in certain neighbourhoods in the Lille conurbation.


  • Nom/Titre : Sylvie Mathon
  • Organisme : CETE Nord-Picardie
  • Email : sylvie.mathon@developpement-durable.gouv.fr