DAY 1: Monday, 9 August 2021


Borna Fuerst-Bjeliš, head of the Commission
Raularian Rusu, head of the Organizing Committee


Chairs: Walter Leimgruber, Etienne Nel, Raularian Rusu

9:20 – 9:30 EEST
Walter Leimgruber
Emeritus Professor, University of Fribourg, Department of Geosciences, Geography, Fribourg, Switzerland

9:30 – 9:50 EEST
Etienne Nel

Professor, School of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The marginalization of peripheral regions, particularly those in conservation areas in New Zealand and dependent on international tourism has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The closure of the country’s borders in February 2020 to all but returning residents and citizens has effectively shrunk the economies of regions which relied for the bulk of their income on international tourism. This is because of their location in areas which are physical isolated and which lack alternate development options because of the protected environments in which they are situated. While the country has largely escaped the impact of Covid other countries have had to deal with, for these marginal areas, economic loss, business closure and population outmigration have been direct outcomes. This paper examines the impact of Covid on these tourism dependent economies, how they have responded to the new norm, their ability to break path-dependence and how local resilience and social capital have been drawn on in an attempt to restructure local economies. The paper concludes with a reflection on what the study reveals about the potential of local role-players to respond to marginalization.

9:50 – 10:10 EEST
Dolores Sánchez-Aguilera1, Ángela Martínez-Rivas2, Jaime Martínez-Ruiz2
1Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2PhD researcher, Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

In recent decades, Barcelona has become a benchmark for urban tourism on a global scale. In fact, in the last five years, tourist pressure had led the city to be considered a space characterised by overtourism and reactions against this activity (tourismphobia) from part of the population.

An exponent of these tensions is the Rambla, a promenade that links the Gothic and Raval neighbourhoods and connects the centre of the Eixample with Barcelona’s seafront. This promenade is an iconic street for tourism in the city centre. In order to counteract the touristisation of this area, a municipal initiative was launched in 2018 to reform the Rambla in order to revitalise the promenade, diversify economic activity and boost housing use.

The irruption of the COVID has slowed down the implementation of the reform and has given rise to new dynamics on the Ramblas. The period of confinement and the subsequent restrictions have first paralysed and then slowed down tourist activity in the city. As a result, Las Ramblas are living at this moment a process of transformation: some of the tourism-oriented businesses have struggled or closed as a result of the pandemic, while some are resisting and others are reinventing themselves in order to continue. The recent dynamics on the Ramblas overlap with the processes of exclusion in neighbourhoods in difficulty, such as Raval Sud.

The aim of this paper is to present recent processes of change in a privileged space in the heart of Barcelona: Las Ramblas. Our research analyses the transformations of commercial and tourist premises in Las Ramblas using a methodology based on quantitative analysis (census of premises in Barcelona), qualitative analysis (interviews with different actors) and fieldwork to review the situation during the pandemic.

10:10 – 10:30 EEST
Paulo Nossa1, Anabela Mota-Pinto2, Julio Masquete3, Alice Freia4, Fernanda Cravidão5 
1Professor Assistant, PhD, University of Coimbra, CEGOT, Department of Geography and Tourism, Coimbra, Portugal
2Senior Professor, PhD, University of Coimbra, ICBR, Medical School, Coimbra, Portugal
3Professor Assistant, PhD, University of Rovuma/Niassa, Department of Geography, Lichinga, Mozambique
4Senior Professor, PhD, University of Rovuma/Niassa, Department of Geography, Lichinga, Mozambique
5Senior Professor, PhD, University of Coimbra, CEGOT, Coimbra, Portugal

The authors intend to contribute to a better understanding of the impacts generated by COVID 19 at the regional level, namely in the municipality of Lichinga, capital of the province of Niassa, northern Mozambique.

Starting from a set of historical data that document the progressive microbial unification of the world as agriculture, commerce, and transport technology brought us closer, the authors, through a literature review, systematize a set of determinants present in serious epidemic contexts in the 21st century, particularly in the African continent. They reflect on how the process of globalization and hyperconnectivity has impacted different regions, contributing to the spread of infectious outbreaks, forcing the review of the International Health Regulations (2005), and the adoption of international commitments to prepare for global health.

The outbreak of the current pandemic generated by the SARS-CoV2 virus, the speed of propagation, and the extent reached, forced the authors to reflect beyond the basic epidemiological data, proposing a geographic reading through the analysis of the hyperconnectivity context of the city of Wuhan, China, and how it may have contributed to the global spread of the pandemic.

Simultaneously, through a survey, carried out in partnership between researchers from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and the University Rovuma / Niassa, located in the city of Lichinga, capital of the province of Niassa, Mozambique, it is intended to evaluate how the pandemic by COVID 19 impacted that territory, located near the border with Malawi and Tanzania, what perceptions were built by the affected populations and the protection strategies developed locally to face the disease. The survey is aimed at the literate population in the influence area of the city of Lichinga, being translated into a local dialect to achieve better dissemination and understanding. As an area of less accessibility, northern Mozambique, a country that ranks 181 on the Human Development Index (2020), researchers believe they can contribute to a better characterization and understanding of the impact generated by COVID19 in this marginal territory. At the submission time, the authors do not have the results of the survey, having already been launched on the ground in partnership with Mozambican researchers. The survey will be closed in June 2021. The results and discussion of the data collected will be presented and discussed in the communication now proposed.

The authors declare to comply with principles of research integrity as stated in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

10:30 – 11:30 EEST
Discussions, questions, debates



Chairs: Paulo Nossa, Ciprian-Sandu Moldovan

12:00 – 12:20 EEST
Toivo Muilu
1, Olli Voutilainen2
1Principal Scientist, Adjunct Professor, PhD, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Oulu, Finland
2Senior Scientist, PhD, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Helsinki, Finland

This paper addresses the rural proofing method, which is a participatory planning approach that aims to take the positive or negative effects of planning and policy measures in rural areas into account. Due to sparse population and long distances in Finland, the consequences of political and social decisions, especially in the marginal rural areas, are often different from the central regions. An assessment of the impact of planning is therefore important from the point of view of the equal treatment of regions and residents.

The aim of the rural proofing method is to increase dialogue between the different actors and stakeholders of rural changes in advance, during the planning process, and afterwards. The method was originally developed in Canada and England at the turn of the millennium and it has been in use also in e.g. in the Northern Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. Rural proofing has also been used in Finland since 2009 and it has been recommended by both the government and the parliament of Finland.

Rural proofing can be carried out, for example, in one or more workshops where both rural policymakers and stakeholders are invited. Firstly, they will discuss whether the proposed planning measure will affect rural areas. If the conclusion is yes, attendees will consider the quality and magnitude of the impact on the (rural) region in question and the actions needed to govern the impact. For example, the question of evaluation for rural services could be: does the policy (decision) produce an effect that reduces the number of rural, municipal or village services?

Rural proofing does not yet hold a clear position in the planning system of Finland, even it has gained acceptance and support on the highest political level. It is not yet a statutory planning procedure, like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for certain plans and programmes. However, there are policy initiatives and statements in progress to improve the role of rural proofing in the planning.

We ask here on the basis of expert interviews (N=15) what kind of experiences the key stakeholders from regional to national level have gained so far from the use of the rural proofing method in Finland and how the method should be improved. The analysis is divided into four themes: the use of the method itself, the relation of rural proofing to other rural and regional planning measures, bindingness of the method and its awareness and effectiveness. Even though our results reveal that the method is still not very widespread and there are several problems which must be solved, it includes the essential elements of social innovation that help to increase social capital among planning stakeholders and promote to find shared understanding about development goals on rural development.

12:20 – 12:40 EEST
Chhabi Lal Chidi

Lecturer, Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Past population pressure in the mountain and the hill regions of Nepal, has been released from the large parts of these areas due to the out-migration of mountain farmers to the urban, lower plain areas and foreign countries resulting in agricultural land abandonment during the last two decades. However, there is very little effort on regional level monitoring and analysis of agriculture land abandonment in Nepal, which is related to the livelihood of the mountain and the hill people and environment as well. Thus, this paper aims to assess and to analyze the relationship between population change and agricultural land abandonment of the 27 districts in the central and the eastern mountain and the hill of Nepal. This study is based on population census data and land use/ land cover data based on Landsat image. There was a nearly 5% decrease in population in the total 27 mountain and hill districts during the census year 2001 to 2011 and some districts have a nearly 32% decrease in population during this period when the total population of Nepal was increased by 14.4%. It is reported that large parts of the agricultural land have been abandoned in the last decades and a 0.21% decrease in cultivated land in this region from 2000 to 2010 is the starting of the present situation of agricultural land abandonment. Studies reported that some parts of this region are facing heavy agricultural land abandonment in the recent past converting into grassland, shrubs, and forest, where more than half of the cultivated land is abandoned during the last two decades, which has a multifaceted impact on mountain agriculture, the livelihood of the farmers and food security of hill people and the country as well.

12:40 – 13:00 EEST
Lelia Papp
1, Ana-Maria Pop2 
1Lecturer, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre for Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Research Fellow, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre for Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Mountain areas are generally perceived in terms of the constraints imposed by the natural environment and the difficulties faced by the communities living in these territories. The current global conditions make mountain areas more exposed than ever to economic, social, and environmental challenges, which require a special approach, different from that applied to other types of territories.

The Romanian mountain area, although perceived as ‘an area marked by natural handicaps’, is a habitable space par excellence, which has provided, over time, the necessary livelihood as evidenced by the four cycles of anthropization, marked by population ebbs and flows. Although it has a comparative advantage over all neighbouring regions in terms of the presence and diversity of resources (mineral resources, water resources, food resources, biodiversity, etc.), the evolution of the mountain area has been marked by trends of marginalization for economic, political and administrative reasons, with multiple effects: mountain exodus to cities and other countries, demographic aging, degradation of urban and social infrastructure, degradation of vernacular heritage, agricultural abandonment, poor investment in infrastructure and technologies in mountain agriculture, deficient vocational education and training on mountain development, etc.

However, marginalization and the low degree of technological intervention have allowed Romania to preserve some of the traditional agricultural occupations and have among the most extensive and best preserved High Nature Value (HNV) farmland areas in Europe. Most of them are concentrated in the mountains and in the hilly areas proximate to the Carpathians and are associated with small semi-subsistence farms.

The legislative and institutional framework created starting with the years 2017 and 2018 in order to support the Romanian mountain area to turn its elements of geographical specificity into assets that contribute to its sustainable development meant also encouraging the implementation and use of the EU optional quality term ‘mountain product’ for agricultural and food products produced and processed in the mountains.

The aim of this paper is to analyse the situation of the 948 local administrative units included in the mountain area in terms of the local producers’ interest in obtaining the right to use the optional quality term “mountain product” and the dynamics of the number of products registered in the National Register of Mountain Products. Depending on the number and the territorial distribution of the type of products subject to the request for registration, namely (a) products of animal origin, processed and unprocessed (meat and meat products, milk and milk products, fish and fish products, eggs), (b) products of vegetable origin, processed and unprocessed (vegetable products, bread, bakery and pastry products) and (c) bee products, several types of areas were identified within the mountain area.

13:00 – 13:30 EEST
Questions and answers



Chairs: Ruth Kark, Ana-Maria Pop

14:30 – 14:50 EEST
Marinela Istrate
1, Andreea Fedor2, Corneliu Iaţu3
1Lecturer, PhD, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Iaşi, Romania
2PhD student, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Iaşi, Romania
3Professor, PhD, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Iaşi, Romania

In the last years, reaching the gender equality within decision making positions, especially in politics, was a highly discussed/debated topic and many researches and reports were made in this direction. The present work attempts to understand the Romanian society tendencies in what concern gender stereotypes and typologies regarding women’s involvement in politics.

The aim of the present research is to analyze the public perception of Romanian citizens’ compared to the average opinion of the European citizens on women’s involvement within the political life and gender discrimination. In this sense, there were selected some key-questions from the two Eurobarometers (Gender Equality, November 2017 and Discrimination in the European Union, October 2019). Six questions regarding the perception of women’s involvement within the political life and a Gender Stereotype Index were selected. The data was analyzed in order to highlight certain typologies of the analyzed countries in regarding the gender equality in politics. Comparing the results from the Central and East European countries with those from Western and Northern Europe highlights major differences in thinking.

The results show that lowering the gender stereotypes remains a significant challenge for Romania, as in here one of the lowest values of gender tolerance is encountered and women’s responsibilities within the family is still representing an important aspect. Moreover, the created typology (ascending hierarchical classification) places, once again, Romania in the category of countries where gender discrimination, including (or especially) within the political life has high values. A behavior that characterizes other countries in Central and Eastern Europe too, but it cannot be overlooked the fact that in Romania more acute.

14:50 – 15:10 EEST
Elena-Manuela Bîrsănuc

PhD student, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Gender inequities and their territorial impact (by a dissociate modelling of social relations) are of more and more interest for scholars, including studies regarding energy poverty. This paper analyzes spatial and social gender differentiation in Romania as indicators of vulnerability to energy poverty. The link between gender discrepancies and the susceptibility to energy poverty is enhanced by a series of gender-sensitive indicators and their impact in the territorial-administrative units in Romania. Spatial and statistical analyzes are performed for indicators of vulnerable groups: age factors (population older than 75 years old; children with ages up to 4 years old), dependency indices (age and economic dependency), health status (population with disabilities or limitative illnesses), employment status (unemployed, part-time employed, pensioners), or living conditions (dwellings without electricity or heat services). The interrelations of different social axes and their territorial variations is demonstrated trough Hot Spot Analysis and Cluster and Outlier Analysis. Principal Components Analysis is applied and the results are spatialized using Multivariate Clustering in order to compare the two approaches, resulting relevant gendered vulnerability maps. This methodological framework allows a high-level of predictability for the analyzed phenomenon by measuring its magnitude and providing useful results for reducing the vulnerability to energy poverty in Romania.

15:10 – 15:30 EEST
Hugo Capellà Miternique

Professor, Universitat de Les Illes Balears, Department of Geography, Palma, Spain

Solitude is a concept that has commonly been neglected in Geography. Behind this controversial spatial vacuum concept, we are going to discuss and prove its relevance for Geography. Solitude has often been associated to the spatial concept of the desert with opposite perspectives: from negative absence, to positive introspection. Solitude is, as silence for History, as the desert for Geography, as Black holes for the Universe, or as the night for the day, something that is invisible but necessary, to be.

This presentation is based on theoretical reflection and positioning with spatial examples. On first, we focus on the origin of the concept and the reasons of social geographical fear to spatial disorientation or loss. Secondly, we analyze the evolution of the spatial representation of the desert, from the past (with special focus on Classical period, Christianity, Modern Times and Romanticism) to Age Information era, with special attention to new forms of loneliness (urban loneliness, cyber-loneliness). And thirdly, we conclude with a discussion to insist on the importance to give to solitude the right place in Geography.

Our present technical overprotected societies isolate us on one side, from a chosen solitude, necessary for personal learning processes and on the other side, transform us into lonely antisocial individuals. Efforts in the desert have often been considered as a loss of time but is may be the right time to hear what desert has to reveal. It is because the desert permit us to hear the freedom sound behind personal unknown scary feeling of loss.

15:30 – 15:50 EEST
Nicoleta David

Lecturer, PhD, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre for Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Marginalized areas are imposed by a series of specific landscapes, among which the degraded, repulsive ones occupy an important place. They take the form of waste deposits (landfills), slum type dwellings, unmodernized access roads, and degraded natural landscape elements. They are located mainly in suburban areas but also in depopulated rural areas.

15:50 – 16:30 EEST
Questions and answers



Chairs: Borna Fuerst-Bjeliš, Ana-Maria Pop

17:00 – 17:20 EEST
Márcio Moraes Valença

Professor, Urban and Regional Studies Postgraduate Program / Architecture and Urbanism Postgraduate Program, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

There is much said about modern times. Loss of familiarity with people close by, turned into ‘Other’; the unknown, incog crowd passing by unaccounted; time that rushes, now following business frenetic rhythms; technological revolutions that accelerate time in transport and communications, defining new global and local scales and time-space relations; the rational standardization of our domestic day life and at the workplace; mass production and consumption – postmodernity, as defined by Fredric Jameson, inherits all these features and adds new layers of complexity, new dimensions to real, everyday life. Much has to do with ‘velocity’, rather than just time compression. Velocity is a feature of time that equates things being done and consumed at the same time, all at once, by different people and enterprises in different locations. It is in part what you are able to do with your smartphone. The key here is ‘scope’, not only ‘mass’, or rather, a massive scope, considering the enlarged and complex global markets and interactions. In The city and the city, China Miéville considers a peculiar situation, in which parallel worlds (cities) coexist, but have by law to be ignored from each side. People are able to ‘see’ but are trained from childhood to ‘unsee’ whatever happens in the other city. This is a futuristic, dystopian, scientific fiction novel that clearly approaches themes which are very much part of our time: inequality, indifference, violence, political authoritarianism, Orwellian surveillance and control by intelligence agencies, immigration, prejudice, and the like. In poor cities, it is common to see adults and children alike begging in stoplights or on the streets. People get so used to this situation and feel so disempowered that they end up unseeing and forgetting the scene in a blink. This is the same regarding most problems going on elsewhere. They are never our problems; they are other people’s problems, not in your backyard. The discussion of Miéville’s book will be complemented by the analysis of two feature films: a Brazilian production called Amarelo manga (literally, Mango Yellow – Cláudio Assis, 2003), and a Spanish production called El hoyo (or The Platform – Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2019). Both are disturbingly real.

17:20 – 17:40 EEST
Ibolya Török
1, József Benedek2
1Associate Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Acad., Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The main aim of this study is to describe the spatial patterns of local income inequalities by employing techniques of spatial exploratory data analysis. Global and local measures of spatial autocorrelation were computed in order to obtain estimates for the existing spatial autocorrelation at the local income level. Using this information, we determined the spatial clusters of significantly auto correlated local income distribution. The first major result of the research consists in the measurement of the local income levels, an innovative contribution to the advancement in this field since there are no official statistics on local level economic data in Romania. The second major result consists in the identification and delineation of specific spatial structures at high spatial resolution. It enables the precise designation of peripheral regions for spatial planning interventions. The third major outcome of the analysis brings empirical evidence for the existence of highly significant spatial interactions and for the strong spatial interconnections between areas of similar local income levels.

17:40 – 18:00 EEST
Steve Déry
1, Claudia Currado2, Marcel Lefebvre2, Weldy Saint-Fleur2, Arnaud Vigouroux2
1Professeur titulaire, Département de géographie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
2Étudiants de l’Université Laval dans le cours GGR-7016 Analyse géographique des problèmes contemporains, hiver 2021, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Les modes d’organisation technologiques et socioéconomiques qui se sont imposés après la Deuxième Guerre mondiale ont eu une incidence profonde sur les écosystèmes et les conditions de vie d’une majorité d’êtres humains. L’augmentation des inégalités et les transformations climatiques rapides plongent de nombreuses sociétés dans des crises multiples et concomitantes : climatique, énergétique, agricole, économique, sociale, santé publique. Elles résultent d’un système économique dont la raison d’être est l’accumulation du capital par la dépossession du travail des plus vulnérables et la simplification des écosystèmes pour en faire des ressources marchandes. Mais le monde d’aujourd’hui n’est pas l’aboutissement d’un processus historique inéluctable. Il a été édifié au gré de luttes de pouvoir qui ont permis à certains intérêts et conceptions du monde de s’imposer. Il aurait pu … et il pourrait aussi en être autrement.

En 2021, il n’est pas très original de dénoncer les inégalités, et encore moins d’espérer contribuer à les réduire. Elles sont partout, de tous les types, sur toutes les tribunes, dans tous les médias, dans les rapports gouvernementaux, dans ceux des organisations internationales, dans les articles scientifiques, dans les livres, dans le vécu quotidien de millions d’immigrants, dans celui des femmes dans tous les pays du monde, dans leur corps aussi. Que peut-on ajouter de plus à ce récit? Pourquoi tenter d’y voir encore « plus clair »? En deux mots comme en mille : la survie de l’humanité.

Notre objectif? À l’aide d’une mise en commun de travaux aux objets spécifiques variés, portant sur des questions et des enjeux diversifiés, il s’agit de dégager des lignes directrices. Qu’y a-t-il de similaires dans les trajectoires, dans les relations de pouvoir, dans l’organisation territoriale? Tous ces problèmes d’inégalités sont-ils sans aucune relation? Quatre domaines nourrissent notre réflexion : la recherche scientifique, le domaine des organisations internationales, celui des gouvernements national et provinciaux au Canada et un domaine plus transversal, celui spécifique du droit. Pour chaque domaine, sont examinés : définitions, concepts, terminologie et discours; causes, sources et origines, ainsi que trajectoires; conséquences et filtre covidien actuel; solutions mises en œuvre, et actions à prendre.

Au final, tout cela démontre : 1) l’importance cruciale d’une approche multiscalaire spatiotemporelle pour saisir la complexité des sources des inégalités; 2) que les inégalités contribuent, en marginalisant une part croissante des populations, à créer des sociétés fragmentées où la collaboration, la confiance et les interactions sociales sont faibles; 3) que le rôle de l’État est ambivalent : si le système n’est pas changé, ses actions ne restent que des pansements sur des plaies ouvertes. L’action doit donc être concertée, systémique, sur plusieurs niveaux en même temps, et même en dehors du système, comme en témoigne le cas des paradis fiscaux. Ils augmentent les inégalités et exacerbent les tensions dans le système; pour s’en protéger, les riches accaparent des espaces qu’ils protègent de murs au départ invisibles (gentrification), puis, de plus en plus visibles, jusqu’à devenir clôturés (gated). L’écoumène planétaire devient alors un territoire-gruyère, qui n’est plus à même d’assurer l’avenir des humains.

18:00 – 18:20 EEST
Ştefana Rotaru

PhD candidate, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, SNSPA; Diplomat, Minister Plenipotentiary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Embassy of Romania to the United States

Tim Marshall was mentioning in his book “Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics“ that „technology may seem to overcome the distances between us” which seems to be now more accurate than ever before. Though, he also asserts that „the land where we live, work and raise our children is hugely important” and “the choices of those who lead the seven billion inhabitants of this planet will to some degree always be shaped by the rivers, mountains, deserts, lakes and seas that constrain us all – as they always have.” And this is true, this is the reality.

Therefore, the paper aimed to be presented within the International Geographical Union’s Annual Commission Conference – Bridging regional responses to marginalization and disparities in a globalized world – regards the Three Seas Initiatives (3SI) as a multilateral effort, the most significant political and economic policy initiative to emerge in Central and Eastern Europe in the past fifty years. The project initiated in 2015 is named after the three seas that border the dozen countries’ region, respectively the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas.

3SI creates a great framework for strengthening the transatlantic relations, through direct engagement of the United States in Europe, as part of its increasing global role worldwide. A more robust economic U.S. presence in the region would contribute to strengthening transatlantic business, energy and geopolitical ties to Central and Eastern Europa while compensating China’s and Russia’s initiatives and actions to advance and make regional inroads.

The objectives of the Three Seas Initiative are genuine and timely, proving to be of great relevance in these challenging times generated by the worst health and economic crisis in the last century. Firstly, bolstering the economic resilience, including through creating opportunities for economic growth and well-being in the region; secondly, increasing the inter-connectivity – in terms of conventional infrastructure that could create better interconnection between north and south, developing new and modern infrastructure aiming to achieving the climate goals, but also expanding and modernizing the digital infrastructure for a “smart connectivity”; enhancing the energy security by diversification of energy market and infrastructure for an increased open competition; last, but not least, creating the right path for defending current geopolitical interest.

This paper aims to explain the added value of the Three Seas Initiative not only for the countries directly involved nor just for the European Union but also for the strengthening of the transatlantic relations and a more intense relationship between the United States and the 12 EU and NATO member states included in the 3SI such as Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The more U.S. engagement in the 3SI is a win – win situation that would also benefit the people to people connection between the Americans and the Europeans and could also contribute to create more opportunities for advancing America’s interest in a strategic region, part of a more complex but interconnected world.

18:20 – 19:00 EEST
Questions and answers


Les Bardes – Steve Déry

« Changer de temps » is an album… that has not been recorded yet, because of our stay in Covidland. The ten songs that will be presented in acoustic versions, provide tastes of various rock flavours, from the 1950s to our time. Together, they constitute a storyline of understanding towards action. Our planet, transformed in a « Peau de chagrin » (The Wild Ass’s Skin, to quote de title of Balzac’s novel) by an economic system obsessed by numbers and toxic geopolitics, is nothing but its own shadow. When victims become their own oppressors, and family relationships are lost in social mazes, the society triggers self-defence movements, where the youth can show that they are ready! But action needs to be taken one step further: taking to the streets is not enough anymore; we need brooms, tons of them, to clean the whole mess, our mess, and others’. And while we are in a Covidland bubble, we need to reflect on these events, to educate ourselves, to shake our atrophied citizens’ muscles, vital tools in a kit to change our era, to change our time… changer de temps!


1) Il faut des bardes (p.2)
2) Géopolitique (p.3)
3) La peau de chagrin (p.4)
4) Father’s Look* (paroles: Julye Lemay et Steve Déry) (p.5)
5) Ils chantent mon requiem (La ballade de Ti-J) (p.6)
6) Toujours les mêmes (La ballade des prêts étudiants) (p.7)
7) Le rock ‘n roll du balayeur (p.8)
8) Le 6 t’aime! (p.9)
9) Dans une bulle (En Covidie) (p.10)
10) Changer de temps (p.11)
All songs are written and composed by Steve Déry (except*).


DAY 2: Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Chairs: Toivo Muilu, Lelia Papp

9:00 – 9:20 EEST
Mohd Salleh Daim
1, Jamalunlaili Abdullah2
1Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Sustainable Community Development Centre, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia
2Professor, PhD, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia

Many protected areas around the world including in Malaysia, do have a mutual relationship with its immediate local stakeholders.  Taman Negara National Park (TNNP), Pahang and the local stakeholders had coexisted for hundreds of years.  In the past when resources are abundant, management is unheard of, but conflict is scarce. Those days, forest dwellers fully utilised the natural resources around them for their daily sustenance and livelihood.  When the British install protected area management in 1936, the Tembeling river became the boundary of an area now known as King George V National Park.  However, the indigenous people were given a legal provision to still continue their tradition and dwelling inside King George V National Park until now.  Forest is still the only option for livelihood but with limitation often resulted with conflict. Protected area should not be managed as “fortress and fine”. The new era of protected area management should realise its potential to contribute to rural development thus minimizing conflict with local stakeholders.  This paper addresses the livelihood needs of TNNP’s local stakeholders, issues, dependency to resources, and interactions between community and protected area management institutions. A total of 290 respondents from ten villages consist of seven Malay villages and three Orang Asal villages neighbouring to TNNP along the 80 km boundary were selected and interviewed face-to-face using a questionnaire.  Drawing from the empirical evidence gathered during the study, the findings are: 1) being geographically marginalised, the villagers (Malays and Orang Asal) are very much dependent to the resources within and around protected area; 2) there are various issues arises being neighbours to TNNP such as human-elephant conflicts, boundary and land ownership issues, and concern on the illegal hunting by poachers from outside Malaysia; and 3) local stakeholders are expecting to be involved in any decision-making regarding the management of TNNP.  In conclusion, poor conservation outcomes and continuous intrusion to the protected areas, the management of TNNP is forced to reconsider the role of community in protected area resource use and conservation. Community participation has recently become a popular approach in protected area management and has the potential in creating sustainable community within or around the protected areas.

9:20 – 9:40 EEST
Andreea Costea
1, Ştefan Bilaşco2
1PhD student, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Associate Professor, PhD, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Changes in the land use, increasing of the agricultural areas to the detriment of wooded areas, poor management of the agricultural land, along with the impact of the current climate changes, reflected in the increase of the climate aggression index, make soil erosion one of the main risks associated with improper land use, with a direct impact of its productivity and indirectly affecting the human component.

The aim of this study is to assess the risk induced by surface soil erosion on the land use, using as main method of investigation the development of two models of integrated spatial analysis of the territory: a derived model of the universal soil loss equation (USLE) and a qualitative model that integrates the result of soil erosion assessment with the database representing the land use, to highlight the impact on the territory. The spatial analysis models were developed on a structure of vector spatial databases, through which were mapped soil type, soil texture, climate aggression coefficient, land use and alphanumeric databases that highlight the quality of cultivated land, in terms of productive economic potential, quantified qualitatively on a value scale from 1 to 5. The impact of surface soil erosion is strongly manifested in the agricultural field, this being even more significant at national level, as approximately 67% of Romania’s surface consists of agricultural land.

9:40 – 10:00 EEST
Uttam Sagar Shrestha

Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

The present paper makes an attempt to study the trend in population growth and changes in land use along  the settlements  which fall under 30 administrative units (Village Development Committees/Municipalities) Analysis of two decades data (1991-2011) shows that six VDCs/municipalities have positive growth  rate -Manthali municipality (4.60%), Sahare (1.92%), Lamabagar (1.49%), Orang (0.67%), Lamidanda (0.19) and Bhimieswor municipality (BM)(0.19%) and rest have negative growth rate. Similarly, the analysis of land use data (1996-2014) shows that the percentage of forest land has decreased from 31.66% to 19.53% and farm land from 28.76% to 9.14 %. Contrary to this barren land and bush land have increased from 19.44% to 27.95% and 18.02% to 34.62 % respectively in the same period.

Temporal analysis of population and land use change demonstrated that the overall population growth in TRB is rising in localities with hydropower potential sites. It reflects the pressure on arable land, forest land and water resources which is a challenge to basin where only 31.55% of the people have sufficient food production for year.

The census data received from Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)/Nepal  between  1991-2011 and three sets of data received from Department of Survey(DoS)/Nepal  and Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System(RS/GIS) of ICIMOD and Department of Forest Research and Survey (DFRS)/Nepal and field survey during 2015 were used to measure the land use changes.

10:00 – 10:20 EEST
Tihamér-Tibor Sebestyén

Lecturer, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Heavy metal contamination in industrial and mine regions causes serious impacts in the different layers of living space on the local and regional level. Even if the policymakers and citizens are aware of these aspects, the remediation of extended urban areas is almost impossible due to high investment costs. Heavy metal contamination in urban living areas is considered a serious social and ecological concern worldwide with a continually rising public claim to ensure the safest and healthiest environment. The paper evaluates whether the phytoremediation process can be utilized to achieve local energy transition. In many cases, phytoremediation is considered the best solution for the mitigation of contamination. The paper is presenting a model on how to valorize the biomass feedstock in local sustainable energy transition, by involvement of novel digital tools (iGIS, iLEU) and community involvement. The assessment of capacities for transition take into consideration the available digital tools, involvement of citizens, economic feasibility, and environmental benefits.

In view of the above, the main objective of the present paper is to assess the capacities of phytoremediation and the possible paths for valorization of the gained biomass feedstock in energy transition on local level in Baia Mare urban area, Romania. Different pathways are analyzed such as development of local biomass streamlines to bioenergy production. Therefore, this paper provides a wide range of applicability of the biomass feedstock gained from phytoremediation process in urban areas. The results provide a transferable and applicable approach for other urban regions which will be valuable guidance in the energy transition process, for a more sustainable, low carbon technology based and liveable urban social and environmental landscape.

10:20 – 11:00 EEST
Questions and answers



Chairs: Hugo Capellà Miternique, Ibolya Török

11:30 – 11:50 EEST
Walter Leimgruber
Emeritus Professor, University of Fribourg, Department of Geosciences, Geography, Fribourg, Switzerland

Education is vital for all living beings to cope with the challenges of life. This holds particularly good for people living in marginal situations. A major task of development policy is therefore to promote education. Development means to change (improve) a situation that is judged as unsatisfactory, either through personal (internal) efforts or with outside help.

For years, development aid has been a push for economic growth. The so-called developed world (the Global North) in a way wanted to compensate the injustice done to the former colonies, and huge sums were transferred to the so-called underdeveloped world, but the true meaning of development was not considered. Rather, the aim was to secure profitable business relations. Development was simply equaled with growth of production and GDP. The sums involved were important, but the money usually disappeared in private pockets viz. bank accounts.

True development, however, requires capacity building enabling the actors to find ways of improvement themselves, stimulating their potential. The primary way to achieve this is education, the skills to read (what are one’s rights, what is written in a contract), to write (a complaint to the authorities or a request for a job), and to be able to do the sums and not be drawn across the table when it comes to be paid for a job. To this we add professional training, providing the skills to build a house, mend a motorbike or a car, or improve farming techniques.

This paper looks at the issue of (intellectual) education and (vocational) training as means of development, helping people and regions out of marginality.


11:50 – 12:10 EEST
Raularian Rusu1, Titus-Cristian Man1, Ciprian-Sandu Moldovan, Bogdan-Eugen Dolean
1Associate Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre for Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Assistant Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre for Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3PhD student, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The paper aims at assessing the accessibility or isolation of the settlements in Cluj County, North-West Region of Romania, in relation to central places, such as the capital city of Bucharest, the county seat, the city of Cluj-Napoca, other cities or towns and even commune centres, which provide for most services. In order to achieve this objective, we took into consideration all classified roads within Cluj County and the surrounding regions, as well as all the settlements. Central places were analyzed and ranked accordingly, and distances to the nearest central place of every rank were calculated for each settlement. Distances were transformed into driving times needed to reach the central places from any settlement. Stress has been laid on isochrone maps centered on the main cities. While distances are important to assess the connectivity of a certain settlement, journey times to central places provide a better and more realistic picture on accessibility. For each type of road, we considered a certain average speed. The results were assessed using the accessibility index formula:

where: A = the accessibility index;
k = the rank of the settlement;
Trk= the time needed to reach the nearest settlement ranked k;
ak = the coefficient needed for a score of zero.

According to the results, some of the cities near the motorway (Cluj-Napoca, Turda, Câmpia Turzii) have the highest accessibility.  The lowest values of the accessibility index are characteristic for some very small and isolated villages in Apuseni Mountains, such as Smida, Giurcuta de Sus, Dealu Botii, Măguri or Poiana Horea. The values of the accessibility index provide insight on some of the road network issues and may be used as a tool in strategic spatial planning aimed at improving the living standards of the communities in Cluj County.

12:10 – 12:30 EEST
Ciprian-Sandu Moldovan
1, Raularian Rusu2, Titus-Cristian Man2, Elena-Manuela Bîrsănuc3, Iulia Hărănguş3, Bogdan-Eugen Dolean3
1Assistant Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Associate Professor, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3PhD student, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Recent housing developments show increasing pressures on urban and suburban areas. Often, these developments generate additional flows of commuters to urban attractors impacting mobility due to the condition of the road infrastructure which does not develop at the same pace. Cluj Metropolitan Area is a mono-centric system polarized by Cluj-Napoca City which concentrates 45% of the total county population. Since 2011, the population of the metropolitan area increased by 15.7% (almost 14 000 persons) while the population of Cluj-Napoca remained relatively constant. Thus, increasing values of car traffic are registered requiring optimal solutions for a better urban mobility management (volume-capacity ratios less than 75% for road segments and junctions) including but not limited to: public transport development (infrastructure and dedicated bus lanes), car-sharing and carpooling solutions leading to limited usage of private cars and green transportation.

In the present study the smart solutions implemented by Cluj Transport Company are analysed (smart ticketing, bus lane projects, smart monitoring of bus fleet, infrastructure renewal solutions) in order to estimate the efficiency of proposed projects and the spatial impact in connectivity, accessibility and mobility. Additional smart solutions proposed or implemented by local authorities and non-profit organizations (micromobility: electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles) are also investigated.

Nowadays, at global and European scale, the main solutions are focused on the use of hybrid cars, alternative means of transport such as bicycles or electric scooters. Although these are mainly individual choices, they could be adopted by the local authorities and integrated in urban development strategies and transport policies.

12:30 – 12:50 EEST

Cosmina-Daniela Ursu
PhD student, Faculty of Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

After the establishment of the seven Metropolitan Areas around growth poles designated by the Government Decision 1149/2008, the territorial dynamics experienced reorientations of flows and various concentrations in some territorial administrative units more than in others. The study aims to analyse the spatial and temporal dynamics of the impervious space in the seven metropolitan areas in the period 2006-2018. The first step was to delimit these areas on a functional basis, then to calculate the new cover of impervious areas for each administrative unit. The Imperviousness Classified Change sets for the periods 2006-2009, 2009-2012, 2012-2015 and 2015-2018 were used as databases, they were downloaded in raster format from Copernicus Land Monitoring Service website. Cartographic representations were made showing the surfaces that were added from one period to another and the validation was made in Google Earth, which provides a historical imagery. The results show that for the entire analysed interval, the largest increases of the newly built area, due to the expansion of residential areas, industrial parks or transport infrastructure were registered in Cluj, followed by Braşov and Timişoara. Constanţa, Craiova and Iaşi can be included in the second category, with similar increases, while Ploieşti remains on the last position. Also, by analysing the extension of the impervious space, it was possible to observe some development directions within each Metropolitan Area. The differences can be explained by the low level of infrastructure investments in some communes, a low interest for real estate development caused by the distance from the urban center and the poor quality of the utility networks.

12:50 – 13:30 EEST
Questions and answers





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