We warmly invite all geographers to the 8th Belgian Geographers Days, which will
take place on Friday October 18th 2019 at "Het Pand" & on Saturday 19th 2019 at Campus Sterre, Ghent.
Friday October 18th - Academic Day
The overall theme of this year’s conference is “Geography for the Future - The Future of Geography?”. Poverty, famines, political conflicts and cultural contrasts, (in)equality, the quest for clean energy, the limits to economic growth, climate change, untenable mobility systems and air quality, indigenous struggles, responsible resource management,... These are only a few of the crucial and often interconnected issues today, which all bear a strong geographical component. Therefore, the challenges and opportunities are numerous for the discipline of Geography and will also shape the manner in which the field will develop in the future.
In order to consolidate this broad spectrum of critical issues during the Belgian Geographers Days, we believe the Sustainable Development Goals, formulated in 2016 by the United Nations, will provide a convenient and workable framework. The SDGs provide a global blueprint for a future-proof society, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships. Besides the open sessions, which will be organized based on the received abstracts, we distilled the following 6 key sessions for the conference, based on the SDGs:
Quality of Life
This theme gathers three SDGs focusing on the people’s quality of life: (1) No Poverty,
(2) Zero Hunger, (3) Health and Well-Being. Many different geographic research
disciplines contribute to this broader goal, ranging from studies in physical geography
on hydrology systems and erosion management to enable sustainable agriculture, over efforts in
landscape-ecology that investigate the impact of people’s surroundings on their health and well-being,
to developing geographic information systems assisting rescue workers in areas affected by
epidemics or calamities.
Inequality can be studied in relation to a wide variety of topics such as space, locations,
gender, ethnicity, (social) mobility, accessibility, economy, trade and income,...
Unsurprisingly, a plethora of geographic subdisciplines deal with this matter:
economic geographers, transport geographers, feminist geographers, spatial analysts,
human geographers, ... This session is open to scholars whose work strongly centers
on the issues of (in)equality.
Climate change is inevitably the major environmental threat we face nowadays. Geography
allows the understanding of the geospatial characteristics of climate change with its impacts,
and consequently contributes to sustainable and eco-driven land management decisions.
Therefore, we encourage presentations regarding climate change research and exchange of
information and ideas among researchers in geography and its related domains.
Innovation and Infrastructure
The 9th sustainable development goal stimulates us to build a resilient infrastructure,
to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and to foster innovation.
Innovation is one of the main objectives of scientific research these days and
many studies, especially in geography, focus on infrastructure and industrialization.
The availability of big data (e.g. sensor data, point clouds) provides new possibilities
but also offers challenges for the design and management of infrastructure and industry.
How future innovations will influence both the technology and the environment of infrastructure
and industry, is an important question for the geographers.
Sustainable Cities and Communities
The UN have estimated that two-thirds of the global population will be living in
cities by 2050. Next to the pressure on housing and infrastructure caused by this
rapid urbanization, cities are also faced with other challenges such as the impacts
of climate change, migration and mobility issues. The environmental impact of the urban
sprawl, the heat-island effect, vulnerability to disasters, social segregation,...
are all issues to be tackled when working towards sustainable cities and communities.
Life on Land
Humans live on the Earth’s surface and have substantially changed it. Land changes
have allowed settlement and development, while at the same time landscapes have not
always changed for the better. Direct human impacts on the environment have resulted
in strong modifications of the geomorphic processes, soils, vegetation and water management.
This is the realm of many landscape and physical geographers in Belgium.
How to reach the venue by public transport from the railway station?
Take tram 1 (direction Evergem or Wondelgem) from Sint-Pieters train station to the stop “Gent Korte Meer”, get off and walk 5 minutes.
Saturday October 19th - Teachers day
Saturday 19 October focuses on education: a mix of lectures, workshops and excursions that is also based as much as possible on the selected SDGs.
As these are the Belgian geographers days, there will be workshops in Dutch, French and English.
from 8.30 a.m. welcome with coffee
9 am: Keynote: Dr. Marjolein Cox
9.45 am: workshops round 1
11 am: coffee break
11.30 am: workshops round 2
12.45 pm: lunch break
1.30 pm: workshops round 3 or excursion (includes round 3 and 4)
2.45 pm: coffee break
3.15 pm: workshops round 4 or excursion (continuation)