Sub-thematic Sessions

1- Cities as a resilient system: between processes and actions

Organizers: Javier Delgado, Manuel Suarez and Ana Valle, UNAM

Cities are drivers of transformational change but are also driven by it. The persistence of a city is often a succession of transformations while facing different shocks (natural phenomena, war, rapid growth). Urban transition processes have been faced through adaptation policies. Processes and actions offer lessons for the present issues of cities’ resilience due to their ability to adapt their conditions to the new challenges of global climate change. The level of study can be at a local scale for one city, as well as for urban systems at regional, national, or wider scales. 

2- Local and Urban Governance: lessons from the past and prospects for resilient and sustainable development in a time of global emergencies and transitions

Organizer: Carlos Nunes Silva, University of Lisbon

In the past, local government’s social, economic and environmental policies have been key drivers in urban transition processes and in the fight against extreme events in all regions of the world. This sub-thematic session, proposed by the IGU Commission on Geography of Governance, aims to examine and discuss lessons from the past, successes and failures in the field of local and urban governance, and prospects for the future, namely in what concerns the challenges associated with globalization, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change, as well as to explore innovative approaches on how local and urban government can fulfil its role in the implementation of the principles and goals of the current global sustainable development agendas, such as the 2030  Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.

Papers may address issues related to one of the following themes, or other issues related to other aspects of local and urban governance, focusing on lessons from the past and/or on innovative approaches:

  • Local government reforms and the impact on the implementation of sustainable development agendas
  • Local governance and the Covid-19 Pandemic: the policy responses and the post-pandemic recovery approaches
  • Local governance responses to Climate Emergency: strategies, plans, actions, outcomes
  • Citizen participation and co-creation in local and urban governance

3- Tourism as a driver of urban change in post-pandemic cities

Organizer: Julie Wilson, Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Tourism has more than ever become a socio-political issue in many urban contexts. Contemporary urban change is shaped by many factors following the Covid-19 pandemic, not least by tourism, impacting upon places that must coexist with tourism activity; from shifting effects on property markets to issues of the right to the city, socio-spatial inequalities and community tensions. Furthermore, platform mediated tourism rentals and other manifestations of the platform economy can contribute to tourism’s dispersion into neighbourhoods without prior tourism trajectories. As a result, perceptions of over-tourism can cause local irritation, leading to a need to find new management solutions to regulate the growing flow of visitors. As such, an understanding of the dynamics of urban tourism, and the local responses it generates, is pivotal for understanding urban transformations in a broader context. This sub-theme of the conference explores this and other urban tourism-related dynamics, with a special emphasis on the potential for regenerative and resilience-thinking approaches to urban tourism conflicts and issues in a post-pandemic context. 

4- From urban geo-diversity to Geo-tourism: Themes, links and interactions

Organizer: Dongying Wei, Beijing Normal University

Urban geodiversity may simply refer to non-living nature within urban areas, but it can also be considered a factor influencing urban development. In addition, urban geo-diversity includes buildings, monuments, and other elements that are not necessarily part of geo-heritage but may represent an important component for promoting and communicating information about the Earth’s surface. Urban geodiversity is also an important source of tourism, and the National Geographic Society defines Geo-tourism as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

The idea is that all elements of a place’s geographical character work together to create an experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors with diverse interests. Geotourism builds on a destination’s “sense of place,” to emphasize the distinctiveness of its sites and benefit visitors and residents alike. Inherent in this approach is that Geotourism is a vehicle to foster Geoconservation and an understanding of Geoheritage.

The study aims to bring leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars together to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of urban geodiversity and Geotourism from a local to an international level.

5- Migration and the Resilience of Cities

Organizer: Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore

Urbanward migrations have long been a compelling force in the growth and diversity of cities. In recent decades, migration has become even more visible as part of globalizing cities with substantial care deficits associated with population ageing or experiencing a shortage of industrial labour. At the same time, cities which are highly dependent on migrant labour are susceptible to disruption and stress in times of pandemic conditions, political emergencies and other global and local crises. This session invites papers focusing on urbanward migration and migrants’ productive and reproductive work in the city in both ordinary times and under conditions of crisis. We welcome papers focusing on transition, transformation, continuity and change on the following topics: (a) multiple pathways that migrants use to gain a place in the city, including labour migration, education migration and marriage migration in the light of changing border controls; (b) urban policies governing migrants’ integration (or non-integration) into the city; and (c) migrants’ roles in and contributions to the resilience of cities in ordinary times and under crisis.  

6- Public policies «up to down» and «bottom up» in the face of climate change

Organizers: José Becerra Ruiz, Universidade Federal do Pará (Brasil), Selene López Uribe, COPEVI – Centro Operacional de Vivienda y Poblamiento A.C  (México), Juan Manuel Delgado, Universidad de Barcelona/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Perú)

Cities have faced different adaptation processes over time. Public policies against climate change formulated from international organizations such as UN-Habitat constitute a new challenge for cities. We propose to analyse the different types of social and environmental impacts of climate change on cities, in relation to public policies formulated from above (top down) and from below (bottom up) to face this global process. The central question of the panel is how is climate change used to advance global agendas at the urban level? To what extent are the solutions contrasted from below, with the solutions proposed from above?