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ABSTRACT: This article clarifies the distinction between unidisciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research about environment and human behaviour. One objective is to consider the challenges and opportunities transdisciplinarity offers in terms of the emergence of new ideas for theory and application. The costs and benefits, as well as the advantages and constraints of a transdisciplinary approach in the field of urban studies are then considered, and compared with multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. First, a brief history of the concept of transdisciplinarity is presented. Second, the scientific context (the unit of analysis, application and theoretical goal) is identified. Third, conclusions are drawn about the perspective that researchers need to adopt if a transdisciplinary approach is to be effective (looking for coherence versus paradoxes). All of these reflections on transdisciplinarity are supported by the research experience gained in studies on Canadian (Quebec) and French (Strasbourg) suburbs. The paper focuses on the representation and perception of urban space.
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