Plenary Sessions

Rob ATKINSON, Professor at University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Dr Atkinson is Professor of Urban Policy in the Department of Planning and Architecture, University of the West of England, Bristol and a member of the Department’s Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments. For the last thirty years he has been involved in research, teaching and policy work related to cities. From an initial focus in the 1980s on British cities his research interests have taken on a much wider European dimension, beginning in the 1990s with a focus on social exclusion and then in the later 1990s a growing interest in spatial development with particular reference to urban areas and their relationship with the wider territory. A key transversal aspect of this work has been a concern with sustainability and the nature of sustainable urban development. In parallel, and closely linked, he has also become increasingly interested in the role of knowledge and how different forms of knowledge are combined with particular reference to urban and spatial policies/projects.

These different elements have been pursued, often in combination, through a variety of research projects from the local to the European level. Much of this research has been carried out through large-scale European projects (Framework Programme, ESPON and COST) working with a wide range of partners from across Europe in both the academic and policy communities. All of this research has been driven by a combination of theoretical work, investigation through case studies and policy outputs directed at the academic community and European, regional and local policy makers. The last point indicates a key concern in his work – interacting with relevant policy communities and providing inputs into policy development.

He is also editor of the journal – Urban Research and Practice and one of the editors of a book series on European Urban Research published by the Amsterdam based Techne Press.

Olivier COUTARD, Research Professor at the National Centre for Scientific Research, France

Olivier Coutard is a socio-economist. He was trained as a civil engineer (ENPC 1988), and he holds a master's degree in transportation socio-economics (1988) and a PhD in economics and social sciences (ENPC 1994). His PhD thesis dealt with the introduction of competition in the electricity supply industry. He has been holding a full-time research position with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) since 1996. He was appointed a CNRS research professor in 2007. 

He is researching the governance of urban infrastructure services (water and energy supply, telecommunications, urban transportation), reforms in those sectors and their social, spatial and environmental implications. More specifically, he has been working on issues such as:
the relations between networked infrastructures and urban integration or splintering dynamics; mobility and "automobility" behaviors of low income individuals, households or groups; the development and "universalisation" of network services; network services and vulnerable or insolvent users. His current research addresses: urban energy (and “energy transition”) policies in Europe; and the transformations in the sociotechnical organisation of urban services, esp. the critique of large networked systems, the development of alternative technologies, and the politics of the “post-networked city”.

Since 2008, he is Director of Latts (Laboratoire Techniques Territoires Sociétés,, a multidisciplinary social science research centre with ca. 50 permanent researchers, where he previously headed the Networks, Institutions, Territories research group (2002-2006). He was from 2006 to 2009 the first Director of the French national interdisciplinary research programme on Cities and the Environment ( jointly sponsored by CNRS and the French ministry for Sustainable Development. He has chaired the French national commission for the assessment of CNRS researchers and research groups in Geography, Urban Planning and Architectural Research (2008-2012). He is co-editor of Flux, International Quarterly on Networks and Territories and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Technology and of the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development. He has been an expert for several French and European research institutions (ANR, France; ESRC, United Kingdom; Mistra, Sweden; Formas, Sweden). He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the joint programming initiative Urban Europe (

Dagmar HAASE, Professor at Humboldt University Berlin and UFZ Leipzig, Germany

Dagmar Haase studied Geography, Biology and Geology at the Halle-Wittenberg University and Sociology at the Leipzig University in Germany. From 1996 to 1999 she was PhD student at the University of Leipzig, Department of Geography, and focused her research on modelling and monitoring water and matter fluxes in disturbed and landscape systems. 1999 she finished her PhD thesis on modelling matter fluxes of disturbed urban floodplain forests.

Since 2000 Dagmar Haase is a member of the scientific staff of the Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in the Department of Applied Landscape Ecology and co-ordinates since 2003 the research work on urban modelling and monitoring at the Department. In this field, her research speciality is spatially explicit modelling household driven land use changes and urban shrinkage. Another subject of her current research refers to environmental effects of urban land use change such as flood impact and risk assessment, recreational and habitat functions of urban greenery. Dagmar Haase is engaged in the EU IP PLUREL as module leader for the sustainability assessment modelling of land use changes at regional level. She is futher working on urban flood risk assessment within the FLOODsite EU IP as well as coordinates the Tisza River Basin Case Study in the NeWater EU IP which focuses on conceptual and system dynamics modelling and qualitative mapping to mitigate urban flood issues.

Since 2009 Dagmar Haase holds the professorship of Landscape Ecology at the Department of Geography at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She works further as a guest scientist at the UFZ continuing her work on urban land use change modelling, urban ecosystem services and flood risk assessment. 

Zorica NEDOVIC-BUDIC, Professor at University College Dublin, Ireland

Zorica Nedovic-Budic is Professor Chair of spatial planning and geographic information systems (GIS) and Head of School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy at University College Dublin. She received her PhD degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993, and spent 15 years as faculty at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Nedovic-Budic’s research is about planning, cities and technology. Her main areas of interest are in implementation of GIS in local government settings, GIS applications in urban planning, development of spatial data infrastructures (SDI) and contributions of volunteered geographic information (VGI). She is particularly interested in evaluating the impact of GIS, SDI and VGI on local planning process and decisions. The focus of her planning studies is in comparative urban development and planning practice in post-communist and transitional societies, context-sensitive planning systems, international diffusion of planning ideas and methods and land use regulation and management of information and communication technologies (ICT). The primary sources of research funding have been the US National Science Foundation, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, R.W. Johnson Foundation and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

 Dr. Nedovic-Budic is currently the principal investigator of an FP7 project Transitioning Towards Urban Resilience and Sustainability (TURaS). She has published extensively in books and refereed journals. Recent output includes co-edited books Spatial Data Infrastructures in Context: North and South (Taylor & Francis, 2011) and Urban Mosaic of Post-socialist Europe: Space, Policy and Institutions (Springer, 2006); book chapters on SDI Effectiveness from the User Perspective (in A Multi-View Framework to Assess Spatial Data Infrastructures, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2008), Spatial Distribution of ICT in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Region (in Creative Urban Regions, IGI Global, Inc., 2008), and Local Government Applications: Toward E-Governance (in Manual of Geospatial Science and Technology, CRC Press / Taylor & Francis, 2010); and articles on An Interdisciplinary Frame for Understanding Volunteered Geographic Information (Geomatica, 2010), Reconceptualizing the Role of the User of Spatial Data Infrastructure (GeoJournal, 2008), National SDI Building Blocks: Regional GIS in the US (Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, 2009) and The Mornings After…Serbian Spatial Planning Legislation in Context (European Planning Studies, 2011). Dr. Nedoviæ-Budiæ has served on the Board of Directors of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), and as the book reviews co-editor for the Journal of the American Planning Association. She has been an editorial board member of URISA Journal, International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development and Territorium.

EURA Conference - Urban Europe - Challenges to Meet the Urban Future