This year’s PLATIAL Symposium will take place online and involve people from many time zones. Our programme is timed for maximum participation to open the event to researchers from as many regions of the world as possible.

All times provided below are Central European Time (CET).

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

4.00 pm – 4.15 pm

Welcome note

4.15 pm – 5.45 pm

Paper session I

From “Hood” to Good – Dealing with Stigmatizing Spatial Representations in Everyday Life
Cosima Werner (Kiel University, DE)
Tilman Schwarze (University of Glasgow, UK)

Media reports on everyday life in US-American under-resourced and racialized neighborhoods predominantly cover one theme: violence and crime. The tragic occurrence of shootings, dead people, and gang crime are at the center of news headlines. This singular perspective on such areas and their residents produces a stigma that affects people’s everyday lives and yet does not cover what it means to live in such an area. By using qualitative interviews with residents and representatives of community organizations, we spotlight the daily practices that illustrate the contested symbolic meaning of the “hood” and the potential redevelopment discourses of the Chicago neighborhood South Shore. The data provide insights into the heterogeneity of the social groups that live in the area and execute practices of social distinctions attached to spaces, as they become apparent with our examples of busy corners at commercial strips and the planned Obama Presidential Center.

(Un)Represented Places – A Case Study of Two Sports Venues in Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund
Franz-Benjamin Mocnik (University of Twente, NL)
Laura Kühl (Heidelberg University, DE)

Maps represent a host of geographical features, but places are usually not among those depicted in detail. This is despite the various functions of a map, many of which refer to places as the common context in which geographical features are used, receive meaning, and even gain identity. Using the example of two sports venues, this paper explores the ways places implicitly influence what information is represented on a map and how it is represented, even if the places themselves are not represented. The findings presented suggest that the interpretation of maps rely partly on the way we perceive places and thus highlight the need for further research related to the interpretation of maps. This way of thinking may, in the long term, help to identify better ways in which places can be represented on maps.

Reclaiming Place Through Marginalized Narratives: A Critical Geography and Humanistic Approach to the Cartographic Visualization of Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Ceren Dolma (University of Twente, NL)

There exists an increasing need and trend to visualize a collective sense of place based on personal experiences and memories. This is especially common among counter-mapping, whereby the mapmakers, whether an individual or a group, appropriate traditional tools to highlight otherwise marginalized narratives. There are multiple challenges of visualizing experiences and memories with GIS technologies and using conventional cartographic techniques. Experiences and memories are often expressed as text and are rich in information. However, they rarely provide spatially precise and logically consistent spatial data suitable for GIS technologies. Using Beyoğlu – I will survive map as a case study and feminist visualization principles, in this paper, I propose unconventional visualization techniques to address these challenges and present what is gained and lost when these techniques are used.

5.45 pm – 6.15 pm


Thursday, 16 December 2021

9.00 am – 10.30 am

Paper session II

My Favourite Place – Exploring Reasons For Place Preference
Johanna Richardson (Massey University, NZ)
Kristin Stock (Massey University, NZ)

In this paper, we investigate sense of place in the context of favourite places, exploring the reasons people give for preferring their favourite places over other places. We conducted an online survey in which we asked 114 respondents to tell us about their favourite places in New Zealand, through textual description and specific, structured questions. Our results show that favourite places are most strongly preferred for their attractiveness, their intrinsic value and the feelings of safety they engender. Economic value and genealogical links were least important in place preference. Beach environments were also given as common reasons for place preference, and activities were an important factor, with people mentioning friends and family, weather and recreational pursuits such as walking and beach activities. Our analysis also showed correlation between place attachment, identification and spiritual connection for favourite places.

Visualising Fuzzy Boundaries of City Neighbourhoods
Milana Glebova (University of Twente, NL)

This paper presents the outcome of the study attempting to improve the cartographic visualisationof crisp and fuzzy boundaries and internal structure of neighbourhoods as placial features. In thestudy preceding this paper, a number of visualisation techniques depicting neighbourhood structurewere generated. The evaluation survey results indicated that vague segments are easier to identify incomparison to crisp; most successful are the techniques which clearly show internal subdivision of a neighbourhood and allow to see the basemap under the symbology layer.

On the Integration of Place and Urban Morphology
Liudmila Slivinskaya (TU Dortmund University, DE)
René Westerholt (TU Dortmund University, DE)

This paper offers a discussion on the nexus of place conceptualisation and urban morphology. An attempt is made to work out how taking into account the concept of place, which is difficult to grasp formally but essential for us as humans, would change the study of urban form. This is done from three different perspectives: the understanding of place as a part of the earth’s surface imbued with meaning, the idea of place as functional and action-related, and from a relational perspective. It is shown how the inclusion of place can expand the existing focus of urban morphology on rigid, formal, geometric forms of the built environment to include other types of more ‘fluid’ morphologies. The overview offered highlights possible pathways to redefining our understanding of urban form and invites further reflection on this.

10.30 am – 1.30 pm


3.30 pm – 4.00 pm


5.00 pm – 5.30 pm


5.30 pm – 6.30 pm

Paper session III

Leveraging Place Reviews to Identify the Effects of COVID-19 on Canadian Tourism
Grant McKenzie (McGill University, CA)

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel world-wide and substantially impacted tourism in most countries. Though many governmental agencies and tourism boards have published data on the impact of the pandemic, in Canada, the vast majority of these data are reported at the national level or sparsely within individual regions. In this preliminary work, we leverage user-contributed tourist attraction reviews to better understand the nuanced changes in travel behavior resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We examine the regional impacts as well as the effects on different categories of tourism within Canada. The purpose of this short paper is to demonstrate the value of analyzing place-based user-generated tourism data and highlight some of the ways it can be leveraged by policy experts and tourism agencies.

Evaluating Public Consultation in Urban Planning via Neural Language Models and Topic Modelling
Christian Caton (University of Warwick, UK)
Gabriele Pergola (University of Warwick, UK)
Tessio Novack (University of Warwick, UK)
Yulan He (University of Warwick, UK)

Urban planning has the fundamental role of managing the cooperative development of ever bigger cities and the community’s cultures inhabiting those places. To make the best decisions, urban planners need to analyse relevant data and community responses, spread through abundant reports. This process can be labour intensive and might lead to overlooking less prominent but still relevant concerns of minorities. In this study, we present a Natural Language Processing framework to assist the analysis of consultation reports. The framework leverages state-of-the-art techniques that enable the urban planners to easily describe the issues of interest in free text and, as a result, to accurately identify the emerging concerns from different stakeholders. A first assessment of the London Plan’s Green Belt policy has shown the capability of detecting specific community interests about urban planner problems, allowing quick identification of minorities’ issues, otherwise overlooked due to the vast amount of data.

6.30 pm – 7.00 pm


7.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Paper session IV

Characteristics of Evocative Places and Emotions Felt at These Places: A Multi-Cultural Comparison
Alenka Poplin (Iowa State University, US)

This research concentrates on evocative places; places that evoke images, emotions and memories. The main focus is on places at which people recharge and feel at peace. We study the locations of these places, their characteristics and the emotions people attach to these places. Paper-map and digital-map experiments were conducted in Hamburg (Germany), Ames and Grinnell (Iowa), Vitória and Belo Horizonte (Brazil). Based on the data from all 804 collected places on three different continents we designed The Conceptual Model of an Evocative Place. The model structures the characteristics with which evocative places can be described into the four main categories: physical characteristics, experiences, senses and values. We then discuss the differences in the locations of evocative places (outside vs. inside) and the differences in emotions expressed on different continents. In our further research we will explore the negative side of emotions and the deeper meaning of these differences.

Mapping Unsafe Places and Emotions: Study of Ames, Iowa
Thomas Kosacz (Iowa State University, US)
Max Gula (Iowa State University, US)
Alenka Poplin (Iowa State University, US)
Tim Tobin (Iowa State University, US)
Fatema Nourin (Iowa State University, US)

This research concentrates on mapping places and emotions. The case study is focused on a small college town Ames in Iowa. The research questions concentrate on the locations of unsafe places in the city, their characteristics and the emotions felt at these places. The unsafe places were collected in a map-based experiment conducted at the “Play Ames: Imagine your City” community engagement festival. While taking the survey, residents were asked to plot a point where their unsafe place was on the paper map and describe emotions they felt at this place. In this initial study 46 locations were mapped and visualized in a GIS. The results of the survey revealed common themes between their “unsafe” places across the city such as high volume of traffic, isolated and not enough lights. The most often mentioned emotions were: anxious, nervous, risky, concerned, agitated, stressed, insecure, and worried. In the future we will add a layer on favorite places and combine the data with data on evocative places.

Friday, 17 December 2021

9.30 am – 10.00 am


12.00 noon – 12.15 pm

Closing note