Call for Abstracts (Extended Deadline: 13.10.2022)

Session “Spatial Methods in Transdisciplinarity for Urban Sustainability” at the 3rd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (SMUS Conference) &  3rd RC33 Regional Conference Asia: India, 20‒26.02.2023. On-site conference hosted by IIT Roorkee (India)


Dear Colleagues,

We hereby invite you to submit an abstract for the Session “Spatial Methods in Transdisciplinarity for Urban Sustainability” at the “3rd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (“SMUS Conference”), which will simultaneously be the “3rd RC33 Regional Conference Asia: India”, and take place on-site at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee, India) from Monday, February 20th, to Sunday, February 26th, 2023.

Session Organizers

Fraya Frehse, Angela Million and Ignacio Castillo Ulloa (Universidade de São Paulo and Technische Universität Berlin, Brazil and Germany)

Session Topic: Spatial Methods in Transdisciplinarity for Urban Sustainability

Since the publication of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, transdisciplinarity has been accentually gaining traction among scholars concerned with the issue of urban sustainability. Debates have accordingly witnessed an upsurge of contributions that underscore the epistemological, political, and ethical relevance of transdisciplinarity, although the discussion on especially this issue is historically older: it stems from the 1970s and has re-emerged precisely during the 1990s, when climate change and sustainability entered the public agenda (see Bernstein 2015). Furthermore, inherent in this body of work are calls for the gap between research and practice to be bridged (see Fam et al. 2018; Padmanabhan 2019). This is an entailed complexity to be both acknowledged and dealt with (Kirby 2018), and its contextual singularities should be strategically and substantially integrated (Bojorquéz-Tapia et al., 2020; Thondhlana 2021; Marshall et al., 2018). Given that interdisciplinarity betokens the kind of knowledge production that is innately forged in research-practice collaborations between scientific researchers and local practitioners (based in NGOs, private firms, or local government agencies) as well as independent policy-makers or artists, transdisciplinarity research development is not only action-bent but also of transformative nature. As such, interdisciplinarity, in view of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), becomes a crucial cognitive device for both scientists and practitioners engaged in finding political ways to render urban sustainability attainable. In addition, seen as a “transformational scientific field” (Lang et al. 2012), interdisciplinarity research catalyses transformative agencies and spaces to give way to the transformations that sustainability requires. Against this backdrop, this session discusses the role of spatial methods in a transdisciplinarity research-practice agenda regarding urban sustainability. More concretely, it explores possibilities and limitations that empirical research techniques sensitive to both the social and relational dimensions of space (ethnographic observation, go-along interviews, and visual methods such as mapping, drawing, photographing, and GIS) offer to transdisciplinarity applied to urban sustainability issues. We particularly welcome papers that critically address any of the following issues: (i) the theoretical, or methodological role of spatial methods in a transdisciplinary research-practice agenda of urban sustainability; (ii) incremental, evolutionary, and social learning approach in transdisciplinary research and practice; (iii) the appropriateness of spatial methods to the diverse transdisciplinary partners, issues and contexts; (iv) any common lines of discussion between transdisciplinary and participatory research that make use of spatial methods.

About the Conference

The “Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (GCSMUS or SMUS) together with the Research Committee on “Logic and Methodology in Sociology” (RC33) of the “International Sociology Association” (ISA) and the Research Network “Quantitative Methods” (RN21) of the European Sociology Association” (ESA) will organize a 3rd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (“SMUS Conference”), which will simultaneously be the “3rd RC33 Regional Conference Asia: India”, and take place on site at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee, India) from Monday, February 20th, to Sunday, February 26th, 2023. The six-day conference aims at continuing a global dialogue on methods and should attract methodologists from all over the world and all social and spatial sciences (e. g. anthropology, area studies, architecture, communication studies, computational sciences, digital humanities, educational sciences, geography, historical sciences, humanities, landscape planning, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban design, urban planning, traffic planning and environmental planning). The conference programme will include keynotes, sessions and advanced methodological training courses. With this intention, we invite scholars of all social and spatial sciences and other scholars who are interested in methodological discussions to suggest an abstract to any sessions of the conference. All papers have to address a methodological problem.

Please find more information on the above institutions on the following websites:

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Submission of Abstracts

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this session, please submit an English-language abstract containing the following information to SMUS India 2023 via the official conference website ( 15.06.2022 and 13.10.2022, containing the following information:

  • Session the paper is submitted to
  • Paper Title
  • Speakers (= name(s), email address(es), institutional affiliation(s))
  • 1,000-2,000 Word Abstract (= short description of the proposed talk. The abstract should explain which methodological problem is addressed, why this is relevant, how the paper refers to the session and what the general line of argument will be.)

Please note that all sessions must adhere to the rules of session organization comprised in the RC33 statutes and GCSMUS Objectives (see below). Please note that you can give a maximum of two papers at the conference, including joint papers. The conference organizers will inform you if your proposed paper has been accepted for presentation at the conference. For further information, please see the conference website or contact the session organizers. 

Please also kindly forward this call to anybody to whom it might be of interest.

Best wishes,

Gaurav Raheja, Shubhajit Sadhukhan, Manish Kumar Asthana