Thematic Pillars

Given the vast area of scientific interest the conference attempts to organize the diversity of discussion themes/subjects under the following main thematic pillars:

1. Recent Dynamics and Challenges of Territorial, Economic and Social Processes

The rhythm of human life and activity focused on development, progress, modernization and globalization heavily related to space, territory, land-use and urbanization is leading to rapidly changing environmental conditions in terms of territorial challenges, territorial dynamics and spatial progress. These changing conditions engendered new societal challenges and opportunities. Population and socio-economic dynamics in changing spatially complex environments represents a key issue to debate nowadays and generate complex effects approached through interdisciplinary domains and research projects focusing on different areas from a global to a local perspective. In the new view of an integrative global environment the demographic element with its characteristic elements (demographic structures and rates, labor force, migrations, population evolution and modeling, etc.) and human settlements (from hamlets and villages to metropolitan areas) appear as a core element envisaged as both, cause and effect of complex geographical phenomena.

Current research results and findings will identify knowledge gaps regarding the interaction between human behaviour and its recent dynamics, territorial changes, urbanization, land-use change, and natural resources. Scenarios regarding population ageing, economic dependency ratio and unemployment, disappearance of the rural world in its physical and anthropological sense would be just few of the problems that demand the current attention of both scientists and politicians.

Given the topic complexity, this pillar is divided into two sections in order to cover the vast fields of research topics.

a. Dynamics of Urban and Rural Territorial Changes

The current human landscape is one of the most transformed, altered and further undergoing through rapid and dramatic transformations landscape of this world. Its two main sub components, the urban and the rural are the result of changing relationship between the specific human way of life and their related forms of space organization and functioning. Due to their dynamics and territorial changes as well as challenges, the rural and urban areas are inextricably interlinked, many times with the distinction between them becoming diffuse, particularly in the urban fringes of the large urban agglomerations. The suburban emerging landscapes are like a fragmented mosaic of different forms of land cover and a dense transport infrastructure among many other sectors. Significant patterns of rural-urban dynamics related to the changing nature of livelihoods, mobility, markets, settlement dynamics and rural-urban relations along with political and economic changes, the decentralized systems of local governance as main drivers in transformation of production and consumption spaces are just few aspects of the overall framework of development trajectories worth of scientific interest. National vs local is another perspective of importance when dynamics of urban and rural territorial changes are taken into consideration.

b. Spatial Dynamics of Demographic, Economic and Social Processes under the Global Crisis

The concept of global crisis is the multi-layered term concerning a vast category of aspects among which demographic change seen as long-term process lasting several decades; the nature of economic transformations and challenges generating new forms of governance and lastly but not ultimately, the changing intergovernmental relations as major facilitator of economic development. Changes such as globalization of markets, improved communications, changing trade patterns, and the diversification of activities in rural regions had affected the national and local economies and all aspects of life. The recent economic crisis puts under scrutiny these changes and emphases the existing problems (rural poverty, inequalities in rural labour market, farm structural adjustment, migration, etc.). Territorial variability of economic and social processes, a result of inequalities in economic development caused by unbalanced territorial natural resources and by historical, administrative and politic factors, is a broad theme spectrum gathering important present scientific issues from social and economic sphere of activities constantly facing the perspective of the relocation process. Growing social poverty, high unemployment and ethnic tensions appear more focused in certain areas generating further territorial economic and social processes. Recent phenomena like population decrease, ageing, immigration, unemployment, and lifestyle changes (which had reshaped the housing market), segregation, gentrification patterns, social exclusion along with the perspectives of ecological agriculture; the green washing of brown fields and the industrial clusters; the commercial balance or the tourism industry and the life cycle of tourism destinations are some issues approached by this generous theme which aims to emphasize results of researches on territorial economic development in the light of new factors and challenges such as the present economic recession.

 

2. Geomorphology in the relation with human society

In this session we will investigate the relative importance of human activity, in contemporary and near-future landscape change. Broad recognition of the human role in altering Earth’s surface requires an intricate knowledge of the linkages between geomorphic processes and landscape change to develop effective management and policy strategies. Theoretical and applied studies are both welcome, including research that examines the integration of geomorphology with environmental management and policy (indirectly or directly).

a. Geomorphic, pedogenetic processes and hazards

This session addresses the criteria for detecting transient states and landform inheritance in present day landscapes, with contributions welcome from field geomorphology and mapping, stratigraphic and other correlation methods, surface-exposure and other dating methods, geomorphometry, and surface process modelling. Climate change, that directly affects land surface dynamics, also has a huge impact on such hazards.

 b. Methods in Geomorphology

This session including: Modelling in geomorphology; Remote sensing; GIS and spatial analysis; Statistics in geomorphology; Applied geomorphological mapping; Recent advances in surveying technology and better availability of high precision surveying tools made it easy for geomorphologists to benefit from data with higher spatial resolution as well as data with much better precision than just 10 years ago. Applied, engineering and modern geomorphological mapping methods have seen dramatic advances over the last few years. The availability of new - portable - hardware for field data collection, software and methods for geospatial analysis (including open source), data from new satellites and sensors, journals publishing maps and the increased awareness among many professionals that applied geomorphological mapping has fostered research on, and application of, geomorphological maps.

3. Challenges of Environment and Human Dimension

Understanding Challenges of Environment and Human Dimension means to integrate all actors in an interdisciplinary academic field for finding common solutions of environmental problems. We invite researchers from the fields of Environment, Biodiversity & Landscape Diversity and Social Sciences.

a. Landscape: linking Nature and Environmental Practices

This topic is an excellent support in developing the idea of multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approach of the landscape and of the environment where we live. During the symposium we will track the following issues: landscape science and governance, transfer from theory to practice, with a focus on environmental problems.

b. Recent environmental changes

The processes and phenomena characterising recent environmental changes are extremely diverse, but the common element putting supplementary pressure and individualising them in relation to the natural evolution of the planet is represented by the human society, here with a double role: determining factor and affected element. Among the recent environmental changes with a global projection are climate changes, reduction of forest surfaces, desertification, loss of biodiversity, changes in land uses, degradation of water bodies, air pollution, soil contamination, deficient management of wastes and hazardous substances, and other aspects connected to the modification of natural systems as a result of human activities.

4. Living with Weather, Climate and Water

People on planet Earth have to live in an ever - changing weather and climate. Some changes may be positive, but many others will have a negative impact, not only on present generations, but also on our descendants. More than ever, we need scientific knowledge to better understand weather and climate. But there is a wide gap between the needs for action and the current research work. This includes existing observation systems, data exchange, resources and risk management techniques, quality monitoring etc. Efficient management of the weather, climatic and water-related risks today is the foundation for discovering newer potential uses of meteorological and hydrological information of tomorrow.

a. Weather and Climate Events: Risks and Responses

Extreme weather and climate events are expected to occur any time because of the natural variability of climate and the assumed climate change. Taking appropriate precautionary measures has thus become urgent. The key term is adaptation. That is why researchers have to provide basic findings on the human impact of such events, on one side, and on the capacity of the population to adapt to extreme weather and climate conditions, for reducing vulnerability, on the other side. Maximizing the effectiveness of such adaptation measures requires intense multidisciplinary cooperation between experts in numerous fields.

b. Water and Society

Profound pressures on Earth’s water resources affect health, the economy and sustainable development. Industrialization, intensification of agriculture, growing populations and increases in recreational demands increase the necessity for sufficient high-quality water resources. The occurrence of natural disasters such as droughts and floods, highlights the need for sustainable management of water. Universal access to safe drinking-water that protects human health and the environment is of primary concern in the pursuit of health and development. That is why current research issues in hydrology are based on a mainly multi sectorial approach to large and safe water supplies…

 

5. Teaching Geography between traditional and modern

Geography is one of the most important mean of promoting individual education substantially contributing to environmental education and sustainable development education. Research and teaching have had ever been tightly linked together. Scientific wise, Geography takes interest in researching a variety of specific human and spatial aspects both theoretically and applied. Teaching wise, geography contributes to educate and help develop abilities to youth and school pupils. The depth of phenomena knowledge, geographic processes and the teaching – learning trends cannot be achieved without educating thinking, modelling of observation ability, complexity scaling, analysing the relevant components for the fundamental features of this field.

a. Didactic Strategies and Curricula

This section addresses to geography teachers interested in disseminating the didactic experience also in to building and perfecting the didactic methods and techniques used within the teaching and learning process. This approach is connected to the fact that inside the educational practice there is such a tight link and inter conditioning between knowledge – attitude – believes and behaviour that they form a unity. Knowledge taught in schools it is meant to contribute not only to help school pupils to build scientific concepts but also to develop systematic thinking. Hence the need to level geography teacher’s teaching requests to the learning abilities of school pupils and adapting these to the school activity. All these need to be positioned on the axis of alternating traditional teaching – assessing methods with the complementary ones.

b. Geography Education Management

This section aims at facilitating a real experience exchange between teachers who are also project managers by presenting techniques and models for developing efficient project management tools. In the context of the new realities of Romanian education, this initiative aims to promote the image of Romanian education, ensuring and raising quality in education as well as methods of establishing partnerships with the local community in order to align Romanian education to the European standards. Educational projects developed in schools are useful for the institution as well as for the teachers and the students by raising the quality of the didactic actions, enriching general knowledge and also by answering the students’ need of feeling good together and seeing new things, through cooperation, developing their curiosity, developing their capacity of investigation and research as well their observation skills and stimulating their love and respect for the environment.

 

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