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RAM has co-convened the PLATIAL'21 symposium

Logo of PLATIAL'21 © René Westerholt & Franz-Benjamin Mocnik

The 3rd International Symposium on Platial Information Science (PLATIAL'21) concluded on Friday 17 December. This event, a blend of conference and workshop, is the first and so far only international forum to discuss research on representations of "place", understood as mental concepts of meaningful locations, in information structures. With René Westerholt as a founding member of the event, our lab is significantly involved in the organisation of the symposium. This year, in light of the COVID pandemic, the event was held online, which provided a great opportunity to gather contributions and participants from all over the world. In total, more than 50 people from across all imaginable time zones attended the event, which included two keynote lectures, three workshops, and ten presentations.

The keynote lectures were delivered by Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente, NL) and Bill Palmer (University of Newcastle, AU). Peter-Paul Verbeek offered a philosophical perspective on the interaction of place and technology. He focused on the mediating role of technology in helping us to gain a better understanding of place. The main part of the talk focused on case studies including smart city technologies, earth observation technologies, and climate engineering technologies as examples of technologies that not only mediate place but also act in normative ways embedded in cultural frameworks. Bill Palmer offered a linguistic account of place. He shed light on the complex interplay of culture, perception, group behaviour, and not least linguistic features, through which notions of place emerge that relate to the mental model of the physical world in our minds. Both lectures did an excellent job of broadening the perspective of all attendees and were thus crucial to the success of the event.

The three workshops all covered relevant and current topics around platial information. The first workshop was organised by Ekaterina Egorova (University of Twente, NL), Junghwan Kim (Harvard University, US), Grant McKenzie (McGill University, CA), Martin Tomko (University of Melbourne, AU), and Hongyu Zhang (McGill University, CA). Place-based information is ultimately always about people, in one way or another. The organisers therefore considered the issue of ethics in place-based research. Inspired by a series of lightning talks, workshop participants discussed a variety of topics, and a report summarising the results will follow in the final proceedings. The second workshop, organised by Thora Tenbrink (Bangor University, UK), focused on places of climate change. The latter will have (and in some places already has) a profound impact on our lives, including how we perceive, shape, and interact with places. A lively discussion developed in which a variety of topics were addressed, including methodological, but also human-geographical and linguistic aspects. A third workshop on streetscape modelling was offered by Tessio Novack, Carlos Cámara-Menoyo, James Tripp, and Lichuan Xiang (all University of Warwick, UK). The main theme here was the intersection of computer vision, psychological research, and urban science to gain a deeper understanding of how we conceptualise streetscapes, that is, the visual appearance of a street.

The papers presented covered a wide spectrum, from the visualisation of places to linguistic studies, to urban morphology. Authors and titles as well as links to all papers are given below. Most of the talks were also recorded and are available on YouTube.


Playlist of all videos:



T Kosacz, M Gula, A Poplin, T Tobin, and F Nourin: Mapping Unsafe Places and Emotions: Study of Ames, Iowa, pp. 5–10. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767174.

A Poplin: Characteristics of Evocative Places and Emotions Felt at These Places: A Multi-Cultural Comparison, pp. 11–16. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767176.

J Richardson, and K Stock: My Favourite Place – Exploring Reasons For Place Preference, pp. 17–23. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767178.

FB Mocnik, and L Kühl: (Un)Represented Places – A Case Study of Two Sports Venues in Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund, pp. 25–30. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767180.

C Werner, and T Schwarze: From “Hood” to Good – Dealing with Stigmatizing Spatial Representations in Everyday Life, pp. 31–34. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767182.

C Dolma: Reclaiming Place Through Marginalized Narratives: A Critical Geography and Humanistic Approach to the Cartographic Visualization of Beyoğlu, Istanbul, pp. 35–40. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767184.

M Glebova: Visualising Fuzzy Boundaries of City Neighbourhoods, pp. 41–47. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767186.

C Caton, G Pergola, T Novack, and Y He: Evaluating Public Consultation in Urban Planning via Neural Language Models and Topic Modelling, pp. 49–54. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767188.

G McKenzie: Leveraging Place Reviews to Identify the Effects of COVID-19 on Canadian Tourism, pp. 55–60. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767190.

L Slivinskaya, and R Westerholt: On the Integration of Place and Urban Morphology, pp. 61–66. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5767192.


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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dort­mund University (Second Page in English)