Solidité de l'expertise, prudence de l'innovation : chercheurs et praticiens dans les observatoires d'hydrologie urbaine

Abstract : The growing problems regarding urban water management have been accompanied in the past decades with the emergence of an expertise in urban hydrology, which aims at solving flooding problems and environmental damage caused by urban runoff. This expertise, which involves close cooperation between scientists and practitioners from local authorities, originated in the early nineties with the advent of observatories of urban hydrology in the metropolitan areas of Lyon and Nantes, as well as in the Paris region. This research analyzes the constitution of these organizations by conducting a socio- history of the collaborations since the 1970s. It emphasizes how the structuring of these observatories has evolved from their original contexts, and how the impact of these origins has shaped their current operating logistics. While each of these three observatories has a unique history, they share common features and have undergone similar obligatory main steps. The inquiry captures how the respective observatories have sought a double legitimacy (in the academic field as well as in meeting the demands of societal needs). It also shows the ambiguity of their relationship to politics and their strategies to assure their sustainability. We question too the way science is produced because in this instance, it is participating in dealing with problems while also representing them to the public. The sociology of expertise is a starting point for analyzing the innovation process regarding stormwater management. We bring to light a cautious model of innovation by which scientists assign to the observatories the primary roles of evaluation and regulatory practices in the context of paradigm shift of urban water management. A comparative approach permits characterizing this model. The research includes two additional sites that lack observatories: the Rennes metropolitan region and the Le Douaisis agglomerated community, which present a more radical approach to innovation that reveals other concepts of change. Through the example of the scientific and technical community of urban hydrology, we question what these new modes of scientific intervention produce, and the manner by which they re-shape the relationships between science, technology and policy. The alternate perspectives brought by the different cities also reveal other ways for envisioning "acting in an uncertain world" and for dealing with the inherent risks of this emerging environmental policy
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Mathilde Soyer. Solidité de l'expertise, prudence de l'innovation : chercheurs et praticiens dans les observatoires d'hydrologie urbaine. Sociologie. Université Paris-Est, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014PEST1048⟩. ⟨tel-01226225⟩

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