18 Sep 19 | News

Recap of the 21st ECTQG – European Colloquium on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography

LISER was honoured to host the bi-annual event that gathered 140 researchers from 23 countries


Mondorf-Les-Bains, Luxembourg.  From September 5-9, geographers from 23 countries descended on the charming spa town, situated in Southeastern Luxembourg, to participate in the 21st edition of the European Colloquium on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography (ECTQG). This year, the bi-annual event gathered 140 participants as well as the presentation of 120 research papers. Discover the book of abstracts here

This edition of the ECTQG was jointly organised by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning of the University of Luxembourg and the Urban Development and Mobility Department of LISER, grouped under the Quadtrees virtual lab. The Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) also helped support the ECTQG.

Over the course of five days, researchers had to opportunity to partake in fruitful exchanges during the spatial analysis workshop, the many academic sessions or one of the many dinners/outings.  Discover the full programme here

Following the structure of previous events, the backbone of the programme was made of a set of special sessions and standard sessions assembled by the organisers and the international scientific committee based on the abstracts received and the main recurring topics of the ECTQG. In addition to the parallel sessions, four keynote speakers were invited for plenary talks. They included:

Prof. Isabelle Thomas (UCLouvain, Belgium). An ECTQG participant for over 30 years, Isabelle will provide us with a long-run reflexion about the progress and challenges raised by European quantitative geographers, especially given the rise of big data and temptation to replace theory building by data crunching: a key debate for today’s geographers.

Prof. Sara Fabrikant (University of Zurich, Switzerland). Sara is a prominent researcher in the field of geovisual analytics, cartography and GIScience. These domains have seen profound changes recently with more computational power and scientists entering the field. In addition, she has strong expertise on virtual environments, a domain that is democratising quickly and changing the way we analyse geographic perception by providing us with fully controlled environments.

Prof. Elsa Arcaute (UCL, United Kingdom). From one of our leading quantitative group in Europe (CASA), Elsa has a background in theoretical physics and undertakes research at the frontier between geography and complex systems science. With graph and percolation approaches, Elsa somehow continues with a strong tradition in geography to use models from physics when building formalised theory and making sense of geographic data.

Prof. Luc Anselin (University of Chicago, USA). A (The) worldwide leader in spatial statistics and econometrics, for over 30 years, Luc has been instrumental in providing statistical tools (GEODA, ...) specifically dedicated to geographical observations, that account for spatial biases and dependence. He profoundly changed the way statistics is taught and used by geographers - also in Europe - and is a perfect keynote to set the scene for a specifically spatial approach in social sciences.

LISER wishes to thank all those who helped make the 21st ECTQG a success. A big thank you to: the scientific committee members for their tireless efforts; to Daniel Arribas Bel and Roger Bivand for preparing an excellent spatial analysis workshop; the incredible Keynote speakers who enlightened audiences; researchers who diligently prepared their presentations; to LISER administration and all organisers who ensured a functioning organisation; and last but not least Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) who helped support the initiative.

More about ECTQG

The European Colloquium on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography - ECTQG - is both a bi-annual scientific meeting and a community of scientists from all over Europe, who are interested in advancing quantitative methods and theories with a strong geographical dimension.

The first colloquium was held in 1978 in Strasbourg where 49 researchers from Britain, France, Austria and Germany discussed advances in spatial analysis, statistics, and spatial interactions, and conducted epistemological introspection about the quantitative turn in geography within their respective research traditions. Except for a small hiccup in the early 1980’s, the colloquium was held every second year since. The community quickly expanded to most European countries and beyond, and topics diversified with time. Nowadays the ideas and methods developed within the ECTQG include for example epistemology and theory, geographic information science, geovisualistation, spatial statistics, spatial interactions, spatial networks, big geographic data, agent-based models, computer simulations, artificial life and intelligence, time geography, geo-history/archaeology, urban patterns and growth, fractals, urban scaling laws, economic geography, environmental and social sustainability, climate change, health geography, transport and land use.

The 22nd European Colloquium on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography will take place in Manchester, UK, in September 2021! Looking forward to see you!