Plan Urbanisme Construction Architecture, PUCA, is an interministerial research and experimentation programme run under the aegis of the Ministries of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities, and of Ecology Transition, Culture and Research.

PUCA develops programmes of incentive research, action-research and experimentation. It supports innovation and scientific and technical dissemination in the fields of spatial planning, housing, construction, and architectural and urban design.

PUCA’s permanent secretariat, attached to the General Directorate of Planning, Housing and Nature (DGALN), is responsible for managing the Plan. It manages and organises the commissioning of research and experimentation, the tracking of the different programmes and their valorisation through the dissemination of research results.

It has been led since May 2017 by Hélène Peskine, state general architect and urbanist.

PUCA’s work rests on four foundations :

  1. long-term relationships with researchers and practitioners ;
  2. coproduction of the topics of research and experimentation ;
  3. a model that unites a group of researchers and actors over a long period around a shared problem ;
  4. the objective of dissemination.


PUCA is the point of intersection between research and public policies relating to urban planning and the built environment (sociology, urbanism, geography, political sciences, economics…). Its role is therefore twofold : first, to encourage and guide research ; second, to manage research and development programmes with precise and quantified objectives. It conducts :

  • Incentive activities relating to finalised programmes, by issuing calls for research proposals and for experimental projects, and by supporting innovation.
  • Scientific intelligence activities, by tracking the scientific state-of-the-art and capitalising on knowledge, through the organisation of workshops or seminars on emerging themes.
  • Activities to publicise and disseminate the results of PUCA’s work, through the organisation of symposiums, through its publications and through the online publication of its reports on research and experimentation.

PUCA investigates requests for exemptions and formulates scientific questions :

  • in order to anticipate regulations or to avoid them by testing get-around techniques on the ground with project owners, designers and willing contractors ;
  • in order to trial innovative procedures ;
  • in order to use research to expand knowledge of emerging problems.


A Stakeholder Committee made up of representatives from the professional, scientific, educational and civil society communities, and urban decision-makers such as local authorities and public developers. This committee sets the priorities for research and experiments, proposes the multiannual and annual programmes, and discusses the results.

A Board of Directors, responsible for approving the PUCA’s activity schedule, planning its funding and assessing its results. Its members are the directors of central administrations within the different ministries concerned :

  • Ministry of Ecology Transition ;
  • Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities ;
  • Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation ;
  • Ministry of Culture.

Stakeholder committee - Composition


PUCA structures its activities around four crosscutting themes :

  • Solidarity : homes for all ; civic city
  • Innovation : innovative city ; architecture and design, digital construction
  • Resilience : territorial ecosystems ; resource-efficient, resilient construction, local sourcing
  • Territory : Urban Projects and Strategies Observation Platform - POPSU ; systemic and integrated approach to territorial planning

Key activities :

Homes for all
1. Ageing population and housing
2. Condominium law transition
3. Allocation policies : the transition to intermunicipal governance
4. Assessment of the implementation of Article 55 of the SRU (urban solidarity and renewal) Act

Civic city
1. Welcoming city
2. Territory and commons

Innovative city
1. Smart city
2. DIVD – industrial demonstrators for the sustainable city
3. City governance of/by innovation

Architecture and design
1. Europan
2. BIM - SIM / Digital District Modelling

Territorial ecosystems
1. Laboratory of coastal planning
2. Water at the source
3. Post-carbon cities

Resource-efficient, resilient construction, local sourcing
1. Living in Timber
2. ESCO - Energy renovation of private housing
3. REHA - Upgrade to high environmental performance housing

Urban Projects and Strategies Observation Platform - POPSU
1. Popsu Métropoles
2. Popsu Territories

Systemic and integrated approach to territories
1. Feedback on 20 years of urban public action
2. Internationality as a resource and constraint for city making
3. Benchmarking of mid-sized cities : France, Italy, UK, Germany

Other projects are in the pipeline or in preparation. They will be uploaded to the PUCA website once mature.


PUCA is a special forum for meetings and debates between the scientific and professional communities, government structures and urban decision-makers. Their involvement in the structuring of research topics in the upstream phase is a guarantee of the targeted dissemination of results fur-ther downstream.
Within the ministry, PUCA works in partnership with the offices of the Directorate General of Spatial Planning, Housing and Nature ; the Directorate of Water and Biodiversity ; the General Commission for Sustainable Development ; the General Commission for Territorial Equality.
Because of its interministerial role, PUCA also works with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Culture.
Within the framework of its activities, or those of other institutions, PUCA regularly collaborates with a wide range of partners : public agencies, technical centres, professional organisations, teaching ins-titutions, local authorities, associations of elected officials…
PUCA is a member of the “Europe of architectural and urban projects” Public Interest Group, with particular responsibility for organising France’s participation in Europan, a European competition of ideas aimed at young architects, as well as overseeing the Urban Projects and Strategies Observation Platform - POPSU.


A proportion of PUCA’s financial resources is used to capitalise on knowledge and to disseminate its work through a schedule of themed workshops and events, symposiums, and numerous publications : research reports in Collection Recherche, volumes of photographs from construction operations, a new initiative in the Collection Images, summaries of research work in the collection Réflexions en partage, the journal Annales de la recherche urbaine, online reports on research and experiments, assistance with the private publication of works based on its activities.
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