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Department of Spatial Planning

Invited talk at University of Münster

Illustrative sketch of a digital city © Gerd Altmann​/​Pixabay

Jun.-Prof. René Westerholt gave an invited lecture as part of the GI-Forum series of talks at the Institute for Geoinformatics of the University of Münster. This lecture was dedicated to the interface between space, digitalisation, and statistical spatial analysis. Spatial analysis is a descendant of the so-called quantitative revolution, which took hold of large parts of the social sciences from the 1950s onwards. The core of spatial analysis developed at the interface of statistics, regional science, economics, and geography and was complemented by contributions from application domains such as ecology and epidemiology. As far as the analysis of human geographical phenomena is concerned, the field is based on a concept that responds to a largely analogue world. In such a world, human spatial experiences are little influenced by real-time information and there is no profound interconnection between everyday geographical experiences and digital technologies. These circumstances have changed fundamentally in recent years. Digital technologies, whether visible or invisible, are now routinely embedded in everyday practices. Initial theorisations of corresponding socio-technical concepts of space exist, but spatial analysis has so far hardly responded to these new kinds of spaces. The lecture began with an overview of digital geographies and corresponding space notions. Building on this, challenges for spatial analysis were discussed, including some contributions the speaker has made in recent years.