UQAR is looking to better grasp the issues and problems facing regions in connection with current economic and societal changes. Researchers associated with this line of research analyze socioterritorial dynamics affecting regions and create tools for development assistance.

UQAR’s expertise in regional development is anything but a random process. It is the result of a long tradition of reflection and research that goes back several decades. At the beginning of the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, the Quebec and Canadian governments identified the Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspésie regions as future laboratories for social experimentation in the area of regional development.

Well-grounded in its territory and the issues it faces, UQAR has endorsed the concerns related to the regional development of eastern Quebec first and foremost and, more broadly, of sparsely urbanized areas as well. Recognized as one of UQAR’s areas of research excellence since 1979, regional development brings together a diversity of researchers from various disciplines (the humanities, and natural and applied sciences) who contribute to an increased understanding of the dynamics of regional and territorial development in a context of instability, uncertainty, and risk.

Consequently, research is aimed at better supporting critical reflections presented to decision-makers and improving planning and land use instruments, as well as regional development public policies.  

Research units

Regional development is a primary institutional focus in both basic and applied research, with a number of organized research units. This field of multidisciplinary study meets regional, national, and international concerns.


Graduate levels

The main academic objective of this line of research is to familiarize students with the issues and challenges facing regions in the wake of contemporary social and economic changes. Drawing on contributions from different sciences, this interdisciplinary in nature training explores economic, social, historical, political, geographic, and regional development dimensions in industrialized and developing countries.

Undergraduate level

At the undergraduate level, the following programs, involving associate researchers affiliated with the line of research excellence in regional development, constitute an entry opportunity for students looking to pursue graduate studies in this area.

Other programs

Offered on an alternating basis in Gaspésie and on the North Shore, the Stage en géographique de l’Est du Québec  (internship in eastern Quebec geography) provides theoretical and practical training covering the main natural hazards affecting the territory of eastern Quebec. It enables students and professionals of geography, environmental sciences, and earth sciences to gain new expertise in natural hazard management and prevention through cutting-edge technology field methods and tools.

UQAR’s Chantier-école d'archéologie (archeology field school) provides beginner and experienced students with an opportunity to gain practical field and laboratory experience in archeology in the context of a planned archeological dig. Excavations, organized on the territory of the Lower St. Lawrence, introduce participants to the tangible regional culture.

Every second year, the Université rurale québécoise (rural Quebec university) offers a space for encounters and exchange facilitating the necessary dialogue between scholarly knowledge and experience-based knowledge, between theory and practice, and between reflection and action.