2014 Krakow

IGU Regional Conference in Krakow, Poland


August 18th to 22th 2014 in Krakow


The Deadline for abstracts has been reported from 15 January to 27 January 2014

Beside the 8 proper sessions of the Urban Commission, the commission organizes 3 join sessions with other commissions and 3 invited sessions.  

The 3 kinds of sessions are displayed below on this page.

You will be able to choose the session you want to submit during the registration process

Important dates:

1 November 2013 – Early registration starts

27 January 2014 – Deadline for submitting abstracts for papers and posters

25 February 2014 – Notification of results of abstract reviews

10 March 2014 – Publication of the provisional conference programme

2 April 2014 – Deadline for early registration fee payment

15 May 2014 – Deadline for regular registration fee payment

18-22 August 2014 – IGU Regional Conference in Kraków


Urban commission sessions

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org 

12-39: 1- Complex Urban Systems

Urban systems have seen radical changes in the last decades and will continue to do so. How are the various national, continental and global urban systems changing – in such features as city size, economic specialization, migration, interactions through social, economic, communication and transport networks and control functions? What processes and differential development paths are involved and how have different government policies affected these changes? Previous urban commissions have produced a large body of work on the urban systems of individual countries. This work will be extended to incorporate updated national and international comparisons and the accelerated growth of a limited number of global command centres in the highly connected world of electronic communications, finance, trade, and rapid travel. In addition, we must seek solutions for those cities that are left behind by these changes.

12-39: 2- Technological innovations and creative activities in cities

Urban economies are evolving quickly, with the growth of the “service” sectors and new activities in science, technology, communication, media, design and art. How do these activities specialize within some cities and how do these new “clusters” integrate within urban economic, social and environmental development? Can we quantify “smart cities” or specific urban “creative activities”? Can one identify life cycles of cities in these economic trends? Does this growth benefit the entire city or does it increase polarisation and fragmentation in the development of urban areas? Does it alter the shape and structures of urban areas and does it lead to new forms of urban societies?

12-39: 3- Contested Social Spaces

The increasingly multi-layered social and ethnic character of cities has led to more intricate life spaces within cities, and potential conflicts among the various groups. Since many multinational communities, either diasporas or cosmopolitans, combine transnational links and strong intra-community cohesion, they may threaten other communities. How can we measure these new patterns and changes and make effective international comparisons? Where and when do conflicts emerge? How can differences between the various actors in these spaces be reconciled, ensuring that local communities are themselves empowered, rather than simply passive recipients of change from forces beyond their control, and that all groups are able to live in tolerance with one another?

12-39: 4- Creating Sustainability

Can sustainability be tackled at the urban scale? What progress is being made by cities around the world in the development of new programmes and policies to create more environmentally and socially sustainable areas? How can these solutions be evaluated at various spatial scales? What are the emerging best practices in cities, from smart growth to green solutions etc., and what are the problems that restrict progress in implementing these more effective policies?

12.39:  5- Dilemmas of Aging Cities

A serious new problem has emerged in some cities of the developed world. The declining birth rate of industrialized countries is creating many settlements with increasingly aging populations. What are the effects of this trend upon the functions and character of these cities, especially their infrastructures and levels of social provision? What policies are emerging in cities around the world affected by this problem to cope with these changes? How can the so-called “shrinking cities” manage their future?

12-39: 6- Increasing Insecurity

In the past, cities survived because of their ability to create secure environments for their citizens. In many contemporary cities crime rates, anti-social behaviour and ethnic conflict threaten to make them less liveable, despite higher levels of surveillance, and apparent solutions such as gated communities, which create more private spaces and segregation. Part of the explanation for these trends may be unequal income distributions in which the lower income groups struggle to survive or maintain their position and the wealthy create exclusive areas. Several key problems emerge from these changes. How we can best conceptualize and measure these new forms of insecurity and more compartmentalised spaces? How do we make international and national comparisons of the increasing inequalities within cities and the levels of insecurities? Can we apply the best practices of cities that have successfully overcome these problems to other cities and societies, as well as linking these problems to our understanding of the new forms of urban social spaces?

12-39: 7- Urban Heritage and Conservation

The distinctive identity of many cities and societies depends upon their historical heritage, as expressed in their built fabric. How can these identities be understood and interpreted? What are the policies that support the preservation of these heritages, yet still provide liveable and affordable spaces in these areas, instead of allowing historic areas and city centres to be overwhelmed by homogenised tourism?

12-39: 8- Urban Governance

It is an unfortunate, but undeniable, fact that most large urban agglomerations are not permitted to govern themselves. Control over revenues and investments is shared with other levels of government and/or fragmented among dozens of small municipal units within the metropolitan area. Inevitably these political arrangements affect the spatial structure of infrastructure and public services, including planning. We must explore the spatial issues that detract from urban governance, and investigate the utility of emerging administrative solutions seen in many countries, such as the ‘new regionalism’ that seeks to provide a new spatial solution to the provision of services.

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org 


Urban commission join sessions

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org .

12-39: 1- Urban Challenges for Mediterranean and Gulf Cities

Join Session:
– C12-30 Mediterranean Basin commission
– C12-39 Urban Commission: Urban Challenges in a Complex World

Maria Paradiso, paradiso@unisannio.it
Maria-Jose Piñeira, mariajose.pineira@gmail.com

We encourage submission of papers exploring issues such as mixed urban society, poverty and polarisation, formal and informal settlements and planning, environmental and social implications of urban change, interfaith relations, urban development in the globalization between tradition and modernity, and changing global perceptions of the region. We refer to all countries surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf ones.

12-39: 2- Beyond global cities’ system: cities as geopolitical actors in the complex world

Join Session:
– C12.33 Commission on Political Geography together
– C12.39 Urban Commission: Urban Challenges in a Complex World

Anna Casaglia, anna.casaglia@unimib.it
Céline Rozenblat: celine.rozenblat@unil.ch

Substantial academic literature in the last decades has been dedicated to the analysis of global cities, their interconnections, the networks they are part of and their role in the global economy. Those cities able to compete worldwide have become the parameter to observe and assess urban systems, and the derivation of general theories or taxonomies has come mainly from the observation of few empirical examples (Allegra et al. 2013). Small cities, cities in the global South and less influential urban centres have also undergo changes and reassessments in such features as city size, economic specialization, migration, interactions through social, economic, communication and transport networks and control functions. Moreover, it is interesting to analyse if and how these cities have been affected by urban government restructuring, in the dialectic between national and urban powers, and what kind of transnational networks they are able to constitute and maintain. The aim of the session is to collect case studies from various cities in order to allow a comparative analysis of cities as geopolitical actors. 

12-39 3- The Planning, Symbolism, and Legacy of Mega-events

Join Sessions:
– C12-14 Commission on Global Information Society
– C12-07 Commission on Cultural Approach in Geography
– C12-15 Commission on Tourism, Leisure, and Global Change
– C12-39 Urban Commission: Urban Challenges in a Complex World
– C12-30 Commission on the Mediterranean Basin

Mark Wilson, Michigan State University, wilsonmm@msu.edu
Eva Kassens-Noor, Michigan State University, ekn@msu.edu
Karsten Gäbler, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, karsten.gaebler@uni-jena.de
Dieter Müller, University of Umeå, dieter.muller@geography.umu.se
Maria Paradiso, University of Sannio, paradiso@unisannio.it
Petros Petsimeris, University of Paris 1, petros.petsimeris@wanadoo.fr
Benno Werlen, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, benno.werlen@uni-jena.de

Mega-events play a significant role as expressions of national identity, manifestations of global business, in the shaping of attitudes and values, and the remaking of urban space. These large scale events take many different forms, including sports (Olympics, World Cup, Asian Games), culture (World’s Fairs, Culture Capitals), and religion (the Hajj, Maha Kumbh Mela, World Youth Day). The global focus on one city or country for a specific event prompts use of the event for political, social, business, and urban redevelopment ends. The excitement, prestige, and glamour of the event brings together many interests that wish to use the event to achieve goals of profit, social change, urban development and city branding. Mega-events are often seen as ephemeral, yet the changes associated with them leave a legacy in ideas and places. The proposed sessions provide a wide range of geographic perspectives to a set of events that, on the surface, offer cities prestige and popularity, but also should demand rigorous analysis, accountability and critical evaluation.

3.1- Mega-event Planning and Organization: Urban Challenges and Responsibilities

Currently, there are more than 150 cities worldwide bidding or planning to host a mega-event. While a mega-event holds great promise as a vehicle for a wide range of host city developments, the organizers of such events also face the responsibility of using the event and public funds for constructive ends. This session invites papers that address the many planning and legacy issues associated with large-scale events, including urban redevelopment, transportation and logistics, and social justice in host cities. Comparative studies of past mega-events or case studies of mega-events and their impact on people and places are encouraged.

3.2- Mega-event Planning: Culture Capitals, Place and Identity

To date, fifty cities have served as European Capitals of Culture, with dozens of cities awarded or bidding to be a future host. Culture Capitals are a form of mega-event for their use of an ephemeral event to promote city identity and culture as well as serve as a vehicle for host city urban redevelopment and global positioning. This session will explore the character of culture and identity as expressed by cities and the Capitals of Culture phenomenon. How is culture defined and presented by cities? Does the Capitals of Culture program enhance or diminish the cultural assets of hosts? Also welcome will be evaluations of the impact and legacy of Culture capitals, and analysis of the planning and implementation of these events.

3.3- Mega-event Promotion, Tourism and Marketing

Mega-events are often seen as prestigious and positive investments for host cities to raise their visibility and to attract tourists, business and global recognition. With potential audiences of over a billion people, mega-events offer an international platform for cities to use for tourism and marketing. This session will explore ways that mega-events are advertised and marketed, and how they can be used to promote tourism for the event and in the future. Case studies of event related marketing and promotion will be welcome, as are case studies of the role played by tourism in the planning and legacy of mega-events.

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org . 

Urban Commission invited sessions

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org 

12-39 1- The place and role of small towns in complex urban systems

Agnieszka Kwiatek-Sołtys, akwiatek@up.krakow.pl

Small towns make an important role in the settlement structure of regions and they are a good way to question the construction of territorial models and models of spatiality. In many countries they have the dominant position in total number of cities so it can be said that the development chances of the country are influenced by the condition of small towns. However, they are often left behind the present ongoing changes. In times of the globalization processes, the growth and development of world metropolises, the unfavorable tendencies in the demographic growth, the changing role of industry as the growth factor on one hand and the growing role of the services on the other, the development paths of the smallest urban settlement network units are differentiated.

The reasons and ways for the success of many small towns and stagnation or even failure of others differ. Furthermore, the gap between the leaders and losers is often getting bigger and bigger. Therefore the very complementary approach to small towns should be the aim of the scientific meeting. This, among others, should include the demographical changes, especially migration and aging, functional and spatial changes together with quality of life and sustainable development issues.

Identification and understanding the motives and the development paths of small towns located under different environmental, economic and even political conditions should be the important element of the scientific discussion.

12-39 2- The Labyrinth of Social Changes: New Theoretical and Methodological Approaches

Górczyńska Magdalena, mgor@twarda.pan.pl
Bouloc Caroline, caroline.bouloc@gmail.com

The theme of this session directly addresses the issues of the urban geography dedicated to the diversity between and within the cities, and fits in the research problem identified by the Urban Commission referring to Contested Social Spaces. The aim of this session is twofold. Firstly, it focuses on the different theoretical approaches to identify and explain the current patterns of social diversification in metropolitan areas. Secondly, it tends to gather the innovative methodological approaches allowing grasp and explain the new forms of social structures and their dynamics.

The previously used approaches (derived from Chicago school or later from California school based on the postmodern concepts) are not always applicable in the case of the contemporary metropolitan areas where different processes superpose and create social contradictions. The fragmentation of space, in turn, does not produce easily recognizable zones or patterns. How these new structures should be named and defined? What are the new trends and phenomenon that plays the pivotal role in the metropolitan areas? The comparative perspective in this field is beneficial but sometimes neglected or limited to the European and North American case studies. The real challenge is to explain to what extent these processes are similar and/or dissimilar between the metropolitan areas that differ between themselves in terms of political, economic, social and cultural continuity or discontinuity that they have been undergoing.

The quantitative methods applied in order to measure the distribution of different groups as well as the level of their segregation, based on the theses from Chicago School (including their modifications in the consecutive years), are becoming insufficient in order to measure and explain the phenomena that appear nowadays. In addition, the lack of up-to-date data bases is not a singular obstacle but a major difficulty in different case studies. For this reason, the innovative, perhaps interdisciplinary approaches of how to tackle this problem are of the great importance. Thus, the presentation of successfully implemented research adopting the new methods of data gathering and analyses would be highly appreciated. The innovative, qualitative methods can be also considered as a supplementary proxy to verify the results of classic methods.

This session will gather two types of papers: (1) dedicated to the theoretical approaches to the processes of social changes creating social contradictions, and (2) to the innovative methodological approaches that would be an important added-value to the classic quantitative and qualitative approaches.

12-39 3- Urbanization and functions of cities in post-socialist countries

Daniela Szymańska, dani@umk.pl
Dr. Beata Hołowiecka, b_holow@umk.pl
Prof. C. Rozenblat, celine.rozenblat@unil.ch

Aim: to present urbanization and changes in functions of cities and to show differences in a pace of changes in functions of cities in post-socialist countries

Content: urbanization, de-industrialization, servicization, tertiarisation, multifunctional cities, mono-functional cities, post-socialist countries, classification of cities, size structure of cities.

Deadline for abstract January 27th 2014 igu2014.org .

Travel grant application process

The travel grant application process for attendance at the next IGU Regional Conference in Krakow, Poland 18th to 22nd August 2014 is open. You will find all the details, together with an application form, right below:

to submit to the IGU secretariat by email to: mmeadows@mweb.co.za