TRACK 1 PLACES: Places as the social and ecological glue of cities and regions 
Mina Akhavan (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Ingmar Pastak (University of Tartu, Estonia)
Xin Y (Southeast University, China)

The definition of a place is first based on its relationship with the city and residential area. The content that appears in the place refers to the long-term and regular occurrence of various human activities in the local area. For example residence, work, production, administration, shopping, sales, agricultural operations, entertainment, etc. Within an urban area, the specific functions of a place are generally distributed in space according to a certain pattern. Through building facilities, spatial forms, and local activities, many places have a strong or relatively strong special meaning, and these places, blocks or cities will be reflected in people's consciousness. Historically, the place is integrated with the process of human settlement, and thus acquires new functions and meanings. Places are not just a stop during the migration of nomads. On the contrary, when people’s life content gets rid of the nomadic way, after years, they gradually form a dependency on these places: through construction activities, functional utilization, and possession rights, institutionalize the establishment of corresponding land divisions; in terms of physical form, in addition to newly arranged buildings, technical facilities and vegetation, it must also include the long-term historical deposition of previous such elements. These contents are passed down in the memory of residents through oral or written words. 

In principle, there is an antagonistic relationship between the development and ecological balance of cities and residential areas. Both the process of human settlement and the emergence of cities are huge interventions in ecological balance. In recent years, many cities and urban agglomeration areas are facing the problem of stagnation or shrinking of the number of residents, but this also provides the possibility of sustainable use of natural resources for urban renewal. This track welcomes theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions addressing the role of place in maintaining the ecological diversity and social cohesion of cities and regions: 

  • place and networks 

  • reorganization of urban space 

  • urban mobility 

  • urban transformation 

  • urban pedagogy 

  • urban landscape 

  • Identity and its identification process in cities and regions 

Keywords: place-making, ecological restoration, public spaces, urban culture, human scale, healthy city, urban qualities, urban identity, urban regeneration