The GSoF Palmén Colloquium. Autumn 2022 Schedule.
The Colloquium takes place 12:00-13:00 on selected Fridays in Teams (or at a local venue)
Friday 16th SEPT
Traces of Linné: The genealogies of Finnish geographers
Every doctor has a supervisor or two and, usually, the acknowledgments of a dissertation mention these supervisors. Thus, it is possible to construct scientific family trees, or hierarchical networks, that on a whole start to reveal how a discipline is constructed and conditioned and how old and new ideas are circulated or brought into scientific practice. The Mathematics Genealogy Project has since the 1990s listed such relations of scholars hundreds of years back and has enabled scholars to distinguish “mathematical families”. This paper discusses a charting of Finnish geographers for the past 140 years. While the 19th-century geography in Finland was advanced by scholarly giants AE Nordenskiöld and Z Topelius, the inception of Finnish geography is within plant ecology. The institutional university geography grew from the analysis of the spread of flora and lichen, and plant ecology itself was a ‘leftover’ of fast-evolving medicine. Thus, the first academic seat holder in geography, Ragnar Hult, was supervised by ecologists supervised by physicians, whose ‘lineage’ goes back to natural philosopher Carl Linné. Going through over a hundred dissertations yields information on the origins, institutions, titles, and research areas reveal trends, protégées, successions, transitions, and new branches in Finnish geography and how international trends have contributed to new research ideas. There are elements of difference and repetition in the field, but more than Deleuzian analysis, understanding disciplinary histories allow the geographical community to reflect what geographers do and how they impact science.
Joni Vainikka, Post-doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki, President for the Geographical Society of Finland, joni.vainikka(AT)helsinki.fi
Friday 30th SEPT
Human geographical perspectives on knowledge creation and creativity in the era of AI
Knowledge and creativity are key concepts, and knowledge creation and creativity are key processes in human geographies, specifically in economic, creative and digital geographies. Current era is characterized by fast developing digitalization, robotization, and self-learning AI-technology. Humans across public and private sectors increasingly create knowledge and are creative with AI. Introducing a non-human learning actor alongside the human actor into these processes challenges the existing human-centered understandings of knowledge and creativity, and transforms the processes of knowledge creation and creativity. More-than-human approach is needed to understand such a change. Despite increasing literature on robots and AIs in human geography, empirical research remains thin – particularly in the context of everyday spatial creativity and knowledge creation processes with robots and AIs. In the presentation, I ask: (i) whether knowledge and creativity need redefinition in the era of AI, and (ii) how humans create knowledge and are creative with AIs and robots? I present spatial process perspective to empirical study of creativity and knowledge creation. I present results of our projects Co-Creativity in the Era of AI of Finland-based artists and scientists who create with AI (Kone Foundation 2020-23), and Second Machine Age Knowledge Co-Creation Processes in Space and Time (Academy of Finland 2018-23) of university students, researchers, and experts in business companies who work with AI and robots in Finland and Singapore. Materials include nearly 100 interviews, video demonstrations of work, diaries of creative moments, and mobility-mapping of spatial creativity processes.
Johanna Hautala, Associate Professor of Regional Development and Innovation Policy, University of Vaasa, johanna.hautala(AT)uwasa.fi
Friday, 14th OCT
Exploring the geographies of interest in sustainability topics using digital data
Ensuring the success of global sustainability efforts requires broad societal engagement and a suitable framework for monitoring relevant progress towards the targets defined in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet, our capacity to track progress in space and time is hampered by difficulties related to data availability, accuracy, and timeliness. In this context, the use of digital data is an emerging prospect to help overcome these limitations. Specifically, the availability of temporal and spatial information in data mined from social media, search engines and other digital platforms provides opportunities to assess the spatial and temporal dynamics of how people engage with sustainability topics. Using examples from recent research, I will aim to highlight the some of the prospects of using of digital data to track interest in a broad range of sustainability-related topics across time and space. I will also outline some of the challenges associated with using digital data in this context, including issues of interdisciplinarity, ethics, data biases and validation, and discuss potential research avenues that can help in addressing these challenges.
Ricardo Correia, Academy Research Fellow, University of Helsinki, ricardo.correia(AT)helsinki.fi
Thursday – Friday 3rd-4th NOV
GEOGRAPHY DAYS, University of Tampere
Friday, 18th NOV
Sensing place-based landscape values for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable urban development
How to direct urban development towards a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable direction? Among others, geographers strive to respond to this question. Systems thinking can help to understand interactions and dependencies between people, the urban landscape and technology, which together drive, for examples dynamics in our cities. Recent years have seen a massive development of sensing systems allowing capturing and monitoring human presence, action and even intention both passively and actively. In particular, real-time passive sensing seeks to explain society through big data and computational capacity. However, to balance this, we also need data carefully and deliberately collected by and with the people. Participatory mapping approaches, the voluntary contributions of people to create spatially explicit data that communicate their knowledge, experience, and aspirations, aims to support consultation, engagement and empowerment of diverse stakeholders in urban and land use planning. In this presentation, I focus on place-based landscape values that emerge in human-landscape interaction. I will share examples on how participatory mapping of landscape values reveals the contributions of urban nature to subjective well-being. Furthermore, I will highlight how virtual landscapes act as platforms for provoking place-based values. In conclusions, I discuss messages for green infrastructure planning that supports urban resilience and human well-being.
Nora Fagerholm, Associate Professor of Human-Nature Interactions and Sustainability, University of Turku, nora.fagerholm(AT)utu.fi
Friday, 16th DEC
The (changing) geography of innovation in times of the COVID-19 crisis
Innovation is the key to growth. Thus, the geographical distribution of innovative activities, including research and development (R&D), is a major factor explaining differences in regional development. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public health restrictions led to a significant slump in economic activities around the globe. This slump has been met by various policy actions to cushion the detrimental socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis to eventually bring the economy back on track. The results of the Business Finland funded COSPIN project provide an ex-ante evaluation of the effectiveness of one such policy action in Finland, namely a massive increase in public R&D funding allocated though the novel R&D instrument for firms in disruptive circumstances granted in 2020 via Business Finland. The evaluation started by estimating the structural link between R&D funding and economic growth for Finnish NUTS-3 regions using pre-COVID-19 data. These estimates were used to forecast regional recovery growth out of sample and to quantify the growth contribution of R&D funding. Depending on the chosen scenario, the forecasts point to a mean recovery growth rate of GDP between 2–4% in 2021 after a decline of up to ‑2.5% in 2020. R&D funding constitutes a significant pillar in this recovery process with mean contributions in terms of GDP growth of between 0.4% and 1%. At the same time, by using firm- and municipal-level panel regression analyses, the COSPIN project identified key differences and temporal changes in R&D funding patterns across different region types. The empirical results show that firms located in urban regions have been generally more successful in applying for competitive public R&D funding than firms located in rural regions. However, rural firms have caught up to their urban counterparts during the COVID-19 pandemic. This narrowing of the rural–urban R&D funding gap 1) shows that easy and flexible access to R&D++ funding during the COVID-19 pandemic (in 2020) appears to be especially attractive for small rural enterprises, 2) points to the strategic flexibility of small rural enterprises in times of crisis, and 3) indicates that the innovation capacity of these firms/regions is more resilient to economic shocks than typically thought.
Teemu Makkonen, Professor of regional science and economic geography, University of Eastern Finland, teemu.makkonen(AT)uef.fi
Friday, 20th JAN
Adaptation and migration in times of environmental change: Evidence from Bangladesh
The low-lying coastal areas of Bangladesh suffer from different types of slow-onset environmental change, of which drinking water contamination, biodiversity loss and land degradation due to soil salinization are the most acute. Further, Bangladesh is among the ten most climate-affected countries in the world, and climate change propels other environmental changes through sea-level rise and changing weather patterns, the first effects being already felt in the country. Based on a household survey among 400 households living in two exposed coastal areas of Bangladesh, this presentation explores the surveyed households’ perceptions of environmental changes, in what ways they have adapted to changing conditions, and how they plan to do so in the future. Using multivariate analysis, it will show which household factors impact the adaptation decisions and how recent shocks impact these decisions. Among other things, our data shows that over 2/3 of households have taken measures in the past to mitigate the effects of environmental change and that 80% plan to take future measures. Interestingly, and despite very pessimistic expectations about how environmental change will impact their income and welfare, only very few expect to migrate permanently in the future.
Helena Tukiainen, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Oulu, helena.tukiainen(AT)oulu.fi
This work is conducted by Helena Tukiainen, Päivi Lujala and Carolyn Cole, and it is part of a project “Effects of environmental change on adaptation and mobility dynamics” at the Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu.