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/ CERIUM LogoFaculty of Arts and ScienceThe Montreal Centre for International Studies

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Experts in: Asia

Covatta, Alice


Professeure adjointe, Chercheuse

  • Architecture
  • Urban landscapes
  • Urban design and urban architecture
  • Public spaces
  • Architectural design
  • Japan
  • Environnement and sustainable development
  • Public architecture
  • Sociological aspects
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Asia
  • Italy

Professor of architecture and urban studies with an international academic and professional background spanning Europe and Japan. Her research has provided valuable insights into  new urban landscapes oriented toward promoting social values, health and the notion of public space. At UdeM, Professor Covatta focuses on interdisciplinary research and teching around three axes: (1) the integration of health in the architectural project, (2) the exploration of new urbanities in the context of globalization, and (3) the temporal urbanism of the city.

Alice graduated with honors from the IUAV University of Venice and a doctorate in architecture with the highest distinction from the University of Udine. In 2016, she obtained the Japan Foundation Fellowship postdoctoral fellowship. She subsequently worked as a researcher at Keio University in Tokyo until 2019. In this hyperdense city, her postdoctoral work focused on the habitability of its architecture and public spaces.

Since 2009, she has acquired professional experience in architecture and urban design (among others with Andrea Caputo, Kengo Kuma and Associates, Albert Abut Architecture),  earning several awards and distinctions. In 2018, she co-founded her own agency CoPE, which has been successful in various architectural competitions, including being awarded 1st prize for Europan14 “Productive Cities” 2019, focusing on the urban development of the city of New-Ulm, and the Europan16 “Living Cities” 2021, for a new residential sector in Wernigerode; both projects are underway.

Alice Covatta is currently a visiting professor at the co+lab: Urban Architecture Research & Design Laboratory, Keio University, a member of the Center for Urban Design and Mental Health and the JSAC Japan Studies Association of Canada, and director of MedialabAU. In Japan she was a contributor to  Domus magazine and a consultant for Warehouse TERRADA in Tokyo. Her works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the MAXXI Museum in Rome, among other places.


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Dimitrova, Diana


Professeure titulaire, Chercheuse

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Fauveaud, Gabriel


Directeur, Professeur adjoint, Chercheur

My research focuses on contemporary changes in the modes of production of urban spaces, mainly within cities in the Global South. The term "production" should be understood in a broad sense. First, it designates the actors of the urban fabric, such as developers, builders, brokers or architects, as well as their strategies and practices. Second, the term production designates the actors and processes that condition the fabric of urban spaces, such as urban planners, the urban projects, and the set of regulations and laws of the urban planning and managment. Third, the concept of production also refers to the action of the inhabitants and social groups who appropriate urban spaces and projects.

In my research, hilighting the mechanisms of the urban production allows me to better understand the logics of exclusion and marginalization that are attached to it. By studying power relations between actors, strategies for bypassing established norms and legal frameworks, or the economic strategies of the accumulation of capital, I identify and try to explain the inequal access to urban ressources, the power relations between actors and groups, and the mechanisms that are exacerbating socio-spatial inequalities.

My research is at the intersection of many research fields, such as urban studies, political economy or Asian studies. My theretical approaches also draw from human and social geography, political geography, urban planning, and political studies. My current researches focus on land and real estate issues, financialization, and on the impact of planning and development strategies in urban production. I am particularly interested in the effects of these dynamics on local territories and on the local population.

While continuing my work in Cambodia, I also carry out research on Myanmar, mainly in Yangon. I am also involved in research projects in Vietnam and Montreal. Through my fieldwork in South-East Asia, I also look at how political authoritarianism produces specific governance regimes, which determine the different logics of production of the city.

My methodological approaches are mainly qualitative. I favor field researches, observations and interviews with actors and inhabitants. I also mobilize spatial analysis and mapping to better understand the changes of land use patterns, or the evolution settlement processes. While my scales of analysis are mainly local and go through specific case studies, my politico-economic oriented researches are using various scales of analysis (regional, international, trasnational...).


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