A triennial event, organized by the Planning and Regional Development Department of the University of Thessaly, and held in Volos, the Panhellenic Planning and Regional Development Conference addresses the full span of spatial subjects, explanative theories, analytical tools and methodological processes underpinning effective planning and development.
Attracting academics and practitioners, established researchers and specialists, public and private sector officials and staff, as well as students in relevant disciplines, the Conference, in its next, 5th, edition, is to occur from September 27th-30th, 2018.
Urbanization and globalization have drastically transformed physical, lived, and imagined space based primarily on economic logic. This ongoing transformation entails a new, often dehumanizing, set of relationships of production. To date, our knowledge of the physical, lived city has surpassed our capability of imagining open, humanist possibilities for our collective spatial lives. The imperative then is for urban scholars to not only produce knowledge but also develop a pursuant set of future-oriented practices to reimagine and intervene in the city. Key to this is the integration of logics that do not privilege exclusively the economic but also the socio-cultural characteristics of space and their potential for reconfiguring the urban. The talk will discuss a new pedagogical and scholarly initiative at UCLA that seeks to pursue original, action-oriented humanist practices for interpreting and intervening in the city. We call this methodology urban humanities because it sits at the nexus of the humanities, design, and urban studies. The methods, media, and content of the humanities are enriched by their interaction with those of urban planning and architecture, while the practices of architecture and planning are enhanced by their interaction with humanistic approaches that ground design, speculation, modeling, and making in the complex cultural-socio-historical networks that compose the urban.
Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA, Associate Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Professor of Urban Planning. Her area of specialization is urban design, physical and land use planning. She holds degrees in architecture and urban planning and has published extensively on issues of inner-city revitalization, gentrification and displacement, cultural uses of public space, mobility and safety. She has published more than 100 articles and chapters and co-authored or co-edited five books: Urban Design Downtown: Poetics and Politics of Form (1998); Jobs and Economic Development in Minority Communities (2006); Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space; Companion to Urban Design (2009); and The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor (2014). Along with colleagues at UC Berkeley and UCLA she has initiated the Urban Displacement Project, which aims to understand the nature of gentrification and displacement in American cities, and help communities take action.
This paper maps the participation in the digital economy and its evolution in the UK from a geographical standpoint. Most of the existing economic geography literature which dealt with the spatiality of the Internet employed supply-side measures, such as the infrastructural capacity, in order to understand the geography of the digital economy and its potential spatial economic effects. Useful as these approaches might have been, they did not capture the micro-processes and the characteristics of the individual online behaviour. This paper addresses this gap by utilising data from the Internet Archive, the most complete archive of web pages (Holzmann et al., 2016; Ainsworth et al., 2011). Specifically, we employ the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset, which is a subset of the Internet Archive containing billions of URLs of webpages within the .uk domain. These webpages have been archived by the Internet Archive during the period 1996-2013 and the data also include the archiving timestamp. The British Library, which curates these data, has generated a subset of circa 2.5 billion URLs of archived webpages which contain at least one UK postcode. We use these data in order to create proxies of the aggregated, online, commercial activities which take place within UK regions. While the spatial dimension (postcode) of these data enables us to study the spatiality of the online commercial activities, the longitudinal dimension (archiving timestamp) of the data enables us to identify regions with early adopters of such technologies, map the types of digital economic activities and understand how the early adoption of the digital economy has affected the economic trajectories of UK regions.
Dr Emmanouil Tranos is an economic geographer focusing primarily on the spatiality of the digital economy. He is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham and has published on issues related with the geography of the internet infrastructure, the economic impacts that this digital infrastructure can generate on cities and regions and the position of cities within spatial, complex networks. His research in this area led to a monograph on “The Geography of the Internet: Cities, Regions and Internet Infrastructure”. Emmanouil has also a strong interest and expertise on the use of new sources of big data, such as data from mobile phone operators, as a means to improve our understanding of the complexities of cities and urban systems. Currently he is doing research on (i) the role of online social media as medium for knowledge transfer, and (ii) the evolution of the digital economy in the UK by utilising the wealth of archived web data.
In response to the honorary proposal of my appointment as an Honorary Doctor from the Department of Planning and Regional Development of the School of Engineering of the University of Thessaly, my contribution will deal with the following topics. Reviewing personal experiences from topics I have studied at the level of research, teaching or criticism. Topics are included in the triptych Urban Design / Spatial Planning / Environment. Some of them may be part of a wider scope, but they are related to the former. Many of the topics presented are studies of projects I have been responsible for, mostly carried out by public bodies, while few of them relate to a public criticism of major interventions in urban areas and/ or development programs at a wider level. Topics of theoretical research as well as publications that I consider to be original, in the mass media about social cases and necessary changes are included. My preoccupation with the above covers a period of about 60 years. Due to both the depth of time and the natural tendency for recognition, such a review can, on one hand, look like a self-righteous vindication. A powerful, and perhaps unique, antidote is the adoption of an attitude of self-criticism and even self-questioning (questioning the feasibility or effectiveness or viability or ultimately the achievement of the public benefit of the topic), which contribute to the presentation of my work in a balanced and fair manner, which I will pursue.
Dr. Aristides Romanos has extensive experience in Spatial Planning and Project Management at many levels, both in the public and the private sector. His overall work, which began after 1974 and still continues today, is characterized by its strong and effective interest in the crucial role of Architecture, Urban Planning and the Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage in the social and economic development of Greece, and the safekeeping of public interest and equality in the urban environment. He is a researcher in Spatial Planning, Preservation and Promotion of Historic Cities with intense Tourism Development, Residence and Residential Development, Urban Regeneration and Redesign and Preservation of Historic Public Spaces and Illegal Settlements. He served in prominent public positions. He taught at the Architectural Association School of London, at the Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development of the University of Thessaly and, as an invited professor, at MIT. His writing work includes books and more than 80 articles in the Greek newspaper ‘Kathimerini’. He was Greece’s representative in international and European conferences and fora on Urban Development, Heritage Preservation, Housing and Education of Architects and Urban Planners. He has taken part and has been awarded in a significant number of national and international competitions. He was a founding member and Secretary General of the Association of Greek Planners, the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Artistic Board of the National Art Gallery. He has also made four exhibitions with watercolors, drawings, satirical sketches and cartoons.