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Issue 15 | October 2018

Magazine of the European Geography Association

Scientific Symposium 2014

ISSN 2518-3273

This issue of the European Geographer is dedicated to the memory of Matt Stephens, friend, editor, and EGEAn.

Scientific Symposium 2014 European Geographer 15 | 11/2018

Editorial Dymphie Burger & Maike Nowatzki


GEOtalk An Introduction to Lidar Sophia Paul

Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians?


6 Pakistan, the New Paradise for Geographers?

Dorien Aartsma


Wendy Wuyts

Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool



Ema Corodescu

Places of Power


Maria Menegaki

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana Michael Ogbe


EGEA Congress Fever Interview conducted by Wendy Wuyts Write up by Colette Caruana



Editorial Dear readers, we are very happy to present you another amazing issue of the European Geographer. The scientific and non-scientific articles written by EGEAns will take you to many interesting countries such as Ghana, Greece, Romania, and Pakistan. You will find out what „desire lanes“ and LiDAR are, and what it is like to visit all four regional congresses in one year. The scientific articles published here were part of the Scientific Symposium held at the Annual Congress 2014 in Predeal, Romania. For both of us, this was the first AC of our EGEA career, and we still remember the presentations that went along with the articles published in the magazine you’re holding in your hands. During the EGEA year 17/18, the Editorial Board of the European Geographer worked hard, not only on this issue, but also on preparing the following ones as well as giving you more insight into our work on our facebook page (@EuropeanGeographer). We had two amazing live meetings hosted by EGEA Nijmegen and EGEA Vienna, that did not only leave us and the participating EG members passionate about our work, but also strengthened bonds of friendship. Reaching the end of our studies, and with that also slowly drifting into the group of EGEA "oldies" we are proud that we lead the publishing of such a great piece of EGEA literature. We want to thank all our editors for spotting loads of misspelled words and referencing mistakes, our layout team for putting the pieces together and making it look like a professional magazine – you are magicians, and our PR team for keeping old readers informed and attracting new ones. Another big thank you goes to our authors for their great articles and the willingness to improve them further and further. Last but not least: thanks to the previous Chief Editors who were always ready to provide advice and guidance. It remains to say that whatever life will offer us after

graduation – be it a PhD, an editing job at National Geographic, or opening a vegan ice cream shop – we will always keep some European Geographers in our bookshelves!

Your Chief Editors 2017/18 Dymphie Burger & Maike Nowatzki EGEA Amsterdam & EGEA Tübingen

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Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians? Desire lanes are unofficial and unpaved lanes in green areas, used as a shortcut. Normally pedestrians do not fly off pavements and walk on nice green areas, because it is not socially accepted. They only do so, when they expect that this will be more convenient and will make them reach their short-term goals sooner. In such an instance, they really desire to cross the green area. When a short-term goal comes in sight, pedestrians are eager to take the shortest route to reach it. Merely big obstacles can change this pattern. By leaving footprints on the earth, each time on the same line, a desire lane is created. The first step in a new place is orientation. After this, the pedestrian will evaluate his or her route. When necessary, he or she will manipulate the place by walking through the green area. By doing this repeatedly, a path emerges: the desire lane. Social norms do change when a desire lane exists: it becomes acceptable to take the path now. Experts state that urban planners often forget about pedestrian needs. They also express that it is difficult to prevent desire lanes. Pedestrian behaviour can be predicted in part, but there will always be some level of unpredictability. At the end of this article, some advice is given to urban planners for paving more comfortable lanes for pedestrians.. pedestrians, walking routes, pedestrian behaviour, lived space, urban planning, infrastructure Dorien Aartsma (EGEA Utrecht)

1. Introduction On every scale, urban planners think about every step you will take. Governments aspire to shape space in the most efficient way to fulfil the wishes of its users (Spit and Zoete, 2009, pp.25-30; VROM, 2000, p. 8). There seems to be no space for "error" or for leaving one’s own footprints in the urban design. But why do desire lanes exist? Desire lanes are mud lanes, alongside or between planned and paved streets. Green surface is barren due to people walking over it repeatedly (Helbing et al., 2001, pp.361-362; Tiessen, 2007). Citizens are creating their own infrastructure to fulfil their wishes. “Desire lanes are lanes that aren’t used because they’re there, but are there because they’re used” (Ter Voorde, 2011). Thus, the question arises if it is possible to improve the pedestrian infrastructure in order to increase the comfort of pedestrians? After all, people do not like to walk in mud (Gehl, 2011, pp.135-145). The question emerging from this issue is: to what extent


Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians?

are there differences in types of desire lanes in public space between tortuous and linear street patterns and how can street patterns be improved based on this knowledge?

2. Theoretical Framework In this chapter, several theories are presented. To illustrate the subject, I refer to a fictive citizen, namely Steven. Every morning, Steven arrives at the train station via Mainstreet. At the end of Mainstreet there are traffic lights leading to the entrance of the station. However, Steven prefers to cross the street earlier through a grass field next to a bus stop. 2.1 What is a desire lane? A desire lane is a non-official constructed path, which means it is neither planned nor paved. The path exists in green areas like a grass field because people crushed the

green area by walking or cycling on it (Helbing et al., 2001, pp.361-362; Tiessen, 2007). Transport has a central role in the structure of a city. In the case of desire lanes, transport and thus citizens are the "designers" of the roads. So, this means that it is not the government which decides where the paths are situated. An example of a desire lane is displayed in Figure 1.

2.3 The formation of desire lanes

2.2 Predicting pedestrian behaviour

Often there is no strong connection or contact between pedestrians in a certain area. Yet there still is social pressure: the tend to deviate from the official path is often negligible (Helbing et al., 2001, p.369). Ittelson et al. (1974) discuss social system in which the environment is formed by (p.13). People are raised by their environment or society to behave in the appropriate way according to the relevant physical environment (p.90). An example of this is that you are expected to walk on a pedestrian lane and not next to it.

People move in space to participate in activities in several places (Dijst et al., 2002, pp.413-430; Urry, 2008) Walking is the most common way of transport (Urry, 2008, pp.64-65). Pedestrian behaviour often seems chaotic, in-

The formation of desire lanes is a process. This process, from a first track in a grass field to social acceptance of the desire lane, is described in this paragraph. 2.4 Social pressure

2.5 Self-organisation and the active human being

Figure 1: Example of a desire lanes Source: Author‘s own

dividuals still behave in relation to certain patterns (Helbing et al., 2001, pp.361-364; Kam Ho et al., 2012; Urry, 2008, pp.75-77). Individuals do not make complicated decisions, but behave according to an optimised behaviour strategy. This strategy is formed by trying out and learning from setbacks. Even though everybody has an optimised strategy (tourists and children to a lesser extent), the behaviour of an individual is difficult to predict. The difficulty derives from the route and destination often being unknown. Notwithstanding, the behaviour of flows of pedestrians is quite predictable (Helbing et al., 2001, pp.364-365). Desire lanes are not made and used by one pedestrian, but by flows of people (Helbing et al., 1998; Helbing et al., 2001). Therefore, the behaviour of pedestrians who are using desire lanes is easy to foretell.

Under certain circumstances, self-organisation of collective behavioural patterns can be found. Self-organisation implies that these patterns are not externally planned, prescribed or organised by such things as traffic signs or laws (Helbing et al., 2001, p.368). Ittelson et al. (1974) are talking about the active human being, who chooses his or her own path and by doing this, influencing their environment (pp.1-16). When does a human being become active and develop self-organisation? Which path a person takes depends on the utility that the person sees in a particular route as well as on the overall goal and the value that someone puts in this. A motivation in which the probability of success is included is required. This is also called the inner reality. There must be a reason that the probability of success is included. This is also labelled as the inner reality (Ajzen, 1991, pp.183-184; Ittelson et al., 1974, pp.84-85; Golledge and Stimson, 1997, pp.277-282). The greater the ambiguity or lack of structure in the grid, the more likely pedestrians are to take matters into their own hands and self-organisation occurs (Ittelson et al., 1974, p.86). People who are en route usually have short term goals (Helbing et al., 1998, p.8; Toledo et al., 2007, p.111). When someone walks from home to the station, they have

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several successive short-term goals. When the pedestrian is leaving home, the short-term goal is to go to the right, for example. After the first short term goal another is formed, like walking on the other side of the street, waiting for traffic lights to turn green or turn left at the roundabout. When a short-term goal is in sight, like the other end of a grass field, pedestrians prefer not to walk around the field, but to cross it. Walking is a physical activity which costs energy. This is why pedestrians are conscious about the route they take. Pedestrians prefer to take direct or shorter routes or short cuts. Only big obstacles like dangerous traffic or big barriers can stop this pattern (Gehl, 2011, pp.135-145). Michiel de Certeau approaches walking as a form of urban emancipation in which pedestrians have certain tactics and are breaking the "rational map" of the city (Middelton, 2010, p.579). Simply said: people can break the planned walking routes and create their own lane, namely the desire lane. 2.6 Lefebvre’s spatial triad Desire can be understood to be an imprint of past pedestrians’ behaviour in the earth’s surface. Simultaneously the users of desire lanes are creators, users and maintainers of the lane. Therefore a desire lane is not only a "thing" or result of people’s behaviour, but also a production of space produced by an ongoing social process. If a lane is not used anymore, grass will "take over" the lane. The production of space is constituted by the triangle of social practice, representation of space and spaces of representation (Leary, 2009, p.195). This triangle is a dynamic framework (Spierings, 2013, slide 10). Spatial practice is every observable element in the city space. This includes the daily routine of everyday life, the production of the physical built environment, and the resulting built environment (Leary, 2009, p.195; Spierings, 2013, slide 11). Translated to desire lanes, spatial practice is the lane itself, which you can empirically observe. As pedestrian behaviour is usually built on routines, routines of everyday life are observable too. Further parts of spatial practice are the pavement and the green area as part of the built environment. Represented space is the conceived space of those who play an important role in the production of space, such as planners, scientists etc. Represented space is what planners


Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians?

think the public space should be like and how users should behave (Leary, p.195; Spierings, 2013, slide 12). The planners discourse in this example is that planners create pavements which pedestrians should use in their opinion. The green areas are seen as attractive and as enrichment for the neighbourhood which should not be disturbed. The last element is spaces of representation. These are the spaces of the users and are associated with images and symbols (Leary, 2009, p.195). This lived space is the imagined representation and is shaped through the daily routine of the users (Spierings, 2013, slide 12). For pedestrians footpaths are symbolised as a pedestrian zone where you are allowed and even expected to walk on. This aspect of the planners’ discourse is reflected in the users discourse and the users are reproducing this discourse by behaving in the way the discourse describes. Green areas are also seen by pedestrians as beautiful areas which cannot be touched. There is one exception: when a pedestrian needs a shortcut, because he/she thinks the pavement is not sufficient enough, mostly because it is a detour. Pedestrians feel that they are allowed to take a shortcut trough the grass. The feeling to be obliged to walk in a field and the resulting behaviour arises in interaction with the built environment (spaces of representation in interaction with spatial practice). These thoughts are in friction with planners’ discourse and change the public space designed by planners in this way. This friction between spaces of representation, represented space and spatial practice is called counter space in the perspective of planners, because it does not fit their discourse. 2.7 Six types of reactions in pedestrian behaviour Self-organisation of pedestrians can partly explain why desire lanes arise and persist. The arising process can be explained further on the basis of six types of reactions in pedestrian behaviour. Ittelson et al. (1974) describe these related and intertwined types of reactions. These phases describe how an individual gets to know an unknown place and in which he or she makes the unknown known (Ittelson et al. 1974). The phases are affection, orientation, categorisation, systematisation, manipulation and coding (pp.96-98). The types of reaction of getting to know an unknown space can be used in explaining the arising of desire lanes. As the pedestrian gets to know a certain

place better and better, he or she will discover that shorter ways do exist to the destination and will manipulate the place in such a way that he or she is able to take the shorter route. The types are explained below. The phases are supplemented by Golledge and Stimson (1997, pp.31-36). These authors write about decision-making and choice behaviour of people who are on the move. Their book "Spatial behaviour" explains a sixth phase which influences the arising process of desire lanes, namely evaluation. Affection is the extent to which a person is emotionally touched in a certain area by that space. Other literature shows that this phase has little influence on the arising of desire lanes. This is why the phase is not explained in more detail. In the orientation phase, the person is actively trying to understand the place. Where is the supermarket, what is "good" in the neighbourhood and what is "bad" and which route leads from the house to the train station? Orientation stems from the desire of human beings to know where he or she is physically located in relation to the total surroundings (Ittelson et al., 1974, p.96). This information is taken from personal experiences, but also from external sources such as television or stories of other people (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, pp.31-36). The individual in a new environment is doing more than just getting oriented: he or she is making categories. This goes beyond the identification and mapping of the new environment because here the pedestrian evaluates various aspects of the area and gives it a unique meaning. An individual makes different categories, by measuring the functionality against his or her values, condition and needs. It is not half so important to know how to get to a specific place, as to know which route is fastest or entails the least stress (Ittelson, 1974, pp.96-97). When the pedestrian has enough information about the area and can create multiple categories, the process of moving from the starting point to the destination is imagined. After this, a process starts in which choices are made and there are various routes which are tried and evaluated (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, pp.31-36). During the exploration of the best route, trying out several routs is very important (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, p.35). During all the phases, trying out new routes occurs. By trying various routes, the pedestrian gets to know the area, evaluates the different paths and can create categories which

route is the best and eventually gets systematics (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, p.35). Evaluation, for example, whether there is satisfaction from a specific distance from the route, ensures that more and more alternate paths, destinations and actions are removed from the psychical "textbook" of potential travel plans in the area. In the end habit as well as nearly automatic reactions establish themselves from the initial evaluation (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, p.35). During the evaluation process, time, distance, and restrictions of authorities like the government are taken into account (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, p.34). Pedestrians, however, would be completely overwhelmed with useless information. This is because every detail of the environment would be recognized, everything put into a category and each detail would be evaluated separately. Therefore, men can distinct the most necessary things from the less necessary details and only remember the most important elements (Fruin, 1971, p.33). This is also a form of creating categories. In the phase of systematics, the person gets the feeling that he or she found order in the environment and understands his or her surroundings. However, it is difficult to say precisely when this phase starts, as it has some overlaps with previous stages. The pedestrian does not only know the environment well, but is also able to predict and gain benefit out of it (Ittelson et al., 1974, p.97). Specific paths that lead to the destination are reviewed and criteria such as minimizing the distance, time, effort, and curves are included herein. Expectations are formulated in terms of restrictive criteria, such as economic and environmental rationality, satisfaction and minimization of regrets. These criteria should help identify conflicting situations between possible alternates in the space the person is in or is going to be in. If the optimised assumptions of a place can be achieved with a purpose, they are mostly identified and named in the mind of the person (Golledge and Stimson, 1997, pp.33-34). Having found some systematics also means that the human being in the place is able to manipulate. To which extent the space can be manipulated depends on the capacity of the individual to order the space until a certain extent. Additionally, it depends on the place itself and what it has to offer. When someone has a better grip on a certain environment, their ability to change or manipu-

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late their environment to make it effective for them will increase. If they know the place more, they are better able to come up with alternatives. For example, when no bus is departing from the station in their home town, they are able to come up with better and often faster alternatives, like which walking route will bring them home as fast as possible. Last but not least is coding. Many codes or names already exist for elements in the environment, like tree, street and house. Beside these, people have social codes, like big tree, narrow street and ugly house. By doing this, people can optimise their systematisation and manipulation (Ittelson et al., 1974, pp.97-98). The six interrelated phases are graphically displayed in Figure 2. This is a simplified display of the reality in daily life. The phases are intertwined (which is not displayed in the figure) and will follow each other more often. Also, Steven (the fictive pedestrian) knows these six phases very well. He learned to get to know his environment better and better (orientation), made categories and coded these categories after evaluating them (crossing the streets at the point of the traffic lights coded Steven as detour; Steven wanted to find a faster way). In time his behaviour got more systematic in the route, he found out about the grass field next to the bus stop (orientation) and coded it as potential shorter route. Then, he started to manipulate the environment by taking the shorter route. Ittelson et al. (1974) do not directly mean creating a new route with manipulation. However, this might be interpreted in this way. In the manipulation phases, Steven will change his behaviour and thus the environment by taking the shortest route. 2.8 Track potential, track system and desire lane The six phases dealt with in the previous paragraph are not the whole explanation for the formation of desire lanes. The aim of somebody who wants to go somewhere is often to take the shortest and fastest route to the destination. The shorter route is determined by physical elements of the environment. This means that human beings do not only influence their environment, but are also influenced by the same environment. This relationship is therefore dynamic (Ittelson et al., 1974, pp.12-13; Helbing et al., 1998, p.3; Tiessen, 2007).


Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians?

Figure 2: Graphical display of the six intertwined and interrelated phases during the process of the arising of a desire lane Source: Author‘s own

People prefer to take the shortest route and take into account the specific attributes of their environment (Helbing et al., 2001, p.376). Desire lanes are often not the fastest route for everyone who uses the lane. Detours of approximately 25% seems acceptable for pedestrians. The lanes are often an outcome of compromises between routes in different directions (Helbing et al., 2001, p 376). Different individuals will take the shortest route to their goal. Because different individuals have different goals, track potentials arise due to the footprints of all these individuals. Helbing (1998) writes that during a walk the pedestrian leaves a mark (footprints) in the green area (p.8). Such a mark is called a track potential. A strong track potential can lead to a final desire lane. An active pedestrian changes his or her environment by leaving tracks and marks and is also able to read the tracks of others, which influences his or her behaviour. By doing this, the active pedestrian has indirect interaction with other pedestrians by changes in the environment (tracks) (Helbing et al., 1998, pp.5-6). Gehl (2011) writes about contact with other pedestrians with a low insensitivity, which includes passive contact like hearing and seeing (p.15). Therefore, it may be stated that following a desire lane is social contact with others in a very low intensity. When a pedestrian is on his way to a destination and there are no obstacles on his or her way, the only power on the pedestrian is the track potential (Helbing et al., 1998, p.8). After a while the pedestrians are going to use the lanes which are used most frequently because these are more comfortable to walk in. In this way a selection of lanes exists which are more or less comfortable. Lanes which are used less frequent will fade away as the plants will grow over them again. After a while, the final desire lane is the only one which will survive (Helbing et al., 2001, p.379).

As stated before, indirect social pressure determines which route pedestrians will take. Furthermore, physical characteristics of the environment influence pedestrian behaviour. When something changes in the physical environment, the characteristic behaviour pattern of the place changes too (Ittelson et al., 1974, p.91). The creation and existence of a desire lane changes the socially accepted behaviours: it is now allowed to take the short cut and thus use the desire lane.

3. Methodology Observations are done in three neighbourhoods with meandering (Elderveld, Arnhem; Colmschate Noord, Deventer; Doorslag, Nieuwegein) and three with straight streets (Elden, Arnhem; Zandweerd, Deventer; Galecop, Nieuwegein). It is expected that the physical characteristics of the neighbourhoods, namely the street pattern, will influence the creation of desire lanes. The neighbourhoods are chosen in three cities in the Netherlands, in each city one meandering and one straight street pattern. By doing this, the city urban planning policy will have the least influence over the creation of desire lanes. The tool being used to determine the amount of green areas within the neighbourhoods was Google Street View, as desire lanes only arise in green areas. Next to the determination of the location, pictures are taken and analysed. After this, three in-depth interviews took place with experts: one urban planner (Marieke Timmermans) and two pedestrian behaviour experts (Rob Methorst and Ton Hendriks).

4. Results First of all, every desire lane is unique. In this article only, common characteristics are described. The type of plants on-site influences the existence of desire lanes. When the plants are knee high and have spines, less desire lanes existed, most likely because it is less comfortable to walk on. In addition, the environment has to have a common destination, like the entrance of a shopping centre or supermarket, a bus stop or parking spaces. Beside this, an individual destination is also possible, like a lane from a front door to a private parking place, crossing public green. Obstacles also influence the existence of desire lanes. Sometimes obstacles lead to a funnel effect: pedest-

rians for example cannot walk through a tree or fence, so they are forced to cross the green area on the same spot. These observations lead to the same conclusion: the desire lane must be used quite often, otherwise no lane will be visible in the green area. Sometimes, the obstacles are too high or too big, and thus pedestrians have no chance to cross the green area and create a short cut. In such situations, it costs too much energy to cross the obstacles. The form of the desire lane is often curved and nearly no lane leads directly to a short-term destination, especially when the lane leads on a large green area. Four types of desire lanes do exist, see Figure 3. There are no differences between the types of neighbourhoods. According to experts, planners do often not think about the needs of pedestrians: cars are more important to them. Urban planners may do a better job and keep more attention on the needs of pedestrians. Especially for the elderly for whom it is already difficult to walk, the thoughtlessness of urban planners makes it even more difficult for them. Sidewalks are often places next to the roads for cars. Streets become too big, while there is quite often a different need for the pedestrians, because they take different routes compared to cars. These experts also say that it is difficult to stop pedestrians and the easiest way to stop the existence of desire lanes is to pave every square centimetre. They are not sure if this is the right solution: the environment is not pretty anymore if you were to pave every square centimetre. They also all see the desire lanes as some kind of art or as protest against governmental policy. One of the experts calls desire lanes a compliment for liberal and self-thinking men. The experts explain the non-existence of differences between the types of neighbourhoods by writing that the behaviour of people and especially that of pedestrians is always difficult to predict. Sometimes they form new goals when they are on their way and sometimes there is more social control than in another place. “Even the type of shoes the pedestrians are wearing, influence the creation of desire lanes!� One of the experts points out that desire lanes are often the outcome of expectations. Because everybody has different expectations about which route will give them the least resistance, it is difficult to predict desire lanes. According to the experts, there are too many elements which influence the existence of desire lanes and

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Figure 3: Different types of desire lanes Source: Author‘s own

a lot are unseen. It is therefore still very difficult to predict where a desire lane will emerge. This is also a reason why it is impossible to prevent all of the desire lanes. “But still, it is so annoying to me that the urban planners forget the pedestrians, like us do not exist!�

5. Conclusion and Recommendations After doing this research, some advice can be made to urban planners of public space to make walking more comfortable and attractive. First, it is advised to urban planners not to forget about pedestrians. Think about their needs and try to find out which route they will probably take. It is not often very clear, but there is a big chance that pedestrians have a need for a paved lane from the bus stop to the front entrance of the super market. Secondly, it is important to remove obstacles of the official and paved roads. By doing this, pedestrians will not feel like they are forced to walk on the green areas. When urban planners really want to prevent pedestrians from walking in green areas, place obstacles like high plants and fences in the green areas. An ideal street pattern does not exist. Interpretations about aesthetics, functionality and assumptions about the needs of people and pedestrians are different when you ask different urban planners. Besides this, different theories about the ideal pavement do exist in the science of human


Desire Lanes: Misjudging the Needs of Pedestrians?

behaviour and geography. Desire lanes are human made. As long as human beings are not 100% predictable, it is not always possible to prevent desire lanes. The question is: should desire lanes even be prevented? To prevent all desire lanes, the only solution is to pave the entire earth. Nevertheless, some desire lanes are easily prevented. Urban planners have to think more about pedestrian behaviour, think about centres where pedestrians come from and may eventually change the green areas to areas nobody wants to walk on. Through some simple changes, the infrastructure for pedestrians will become better and more comfortable. References Ajzen, I., 1991. The theory of planned behaviour. Organizational behaviour and human decision processes, 50(2), pp.79-211. Dijst, M., de Jong, T. and van Eck, J.R., 2002. Opportunities for transport mode change: an exploration of a disaggregated approach. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 29(3), pp.413-430. Fruin, F., 1971. Pedestrian- planning and design. New York: Metropolitan association of urban designers and environmental planners, pp.7-33. Gehl, J., 1989. A changing street life in a changing society. Places, 6(1), pp.8-17. Gehl, J., 2011 Life between buildings; using public space. London: Island Press, pp.9-15, 129-145.

Golledge, R. G. and Stimson R. J., 1997. Spatial behavior – a geographic perspective. New York: The Guilford Press, pp.31-36, 277-288.

Mieszkowski, P. and Mills, E.S., 1993. The causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(3), pp. 135-147.

Helbing, D., Molnár, P. and Schweitzer, F., 1998. Computer simulations of pedestrian dynamics and trail formation. arXiv preprint cond-mat/9805074.

Moore, N. and Scott, M., 2005. Introduction: The Geographical and Policy Context. In: Moore, N. and Scott, M. eds. 2005. Renewing Urban Communities: Environment, Citizenship and Sustainability in Ireland. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 1-25. Scott, M., 2006. Strategic Spatial Planning and Contested Ruralities: Insights from the Republic of Ireland. European Planning Studies, 14(6), pp. 811-829.

Helbing, D., Molnár, P., Farkas, I.J. and Bolay, K., 2001. Selforganizing pedestrian movement. Environment and planning B: planning and design, 28(3), pp.361-383. Ittelson, W. H., Proshansky, H. M., Rivlin, L. G., and Winkel, G. H., 1974 An introduction to environmental psychology. New York City: University of New York, pp.1-16, 84-98. Kam Ho, T., K. Matthews, L. O’Gorman, H. Steck (2012) Public space behavior modeling with video and sensor analytics. Bell Labs Technical Journal. 16 (4), pp. 203-218.

Winston, N., 2007. From Boost to Bust? An Assessment of the Impact of Sustainable Development Policies on Housing in the Republic of Ireland. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 12 (1), pp. 57-71.

Leary, M.E., 2009. The Production of Space through a Shrine and Vendetta in Manchester: Lefebvre‘s Spatial Triad and the Regeneration of a Place Renamed Castlefield. Planning Theory & Practice, 10(2), pp.189-212. Middleton, J., 2010. Sense and the city: exploring the embodied geographies of urban walking. Social & Cultural Geography, 11(6), pp.575-596. Spierings, B., 2013. Lecture 3. Advanced Urban Geography. Utrecht: Utrecht University. Spit, T. and Zoete, P. 2009. Ruimtelijke ordening in Nederland – een wetenschappelijke introductie in het vakgebied. Spatial planning in the Netherlands – a scientific introduction in the Den Haag: Sdu uitgevers. 2nd edition, p.26. Ter Voorde, M. 2011. Waarom olifantenpaadjes krom zijn. Why desire lanes are crooked. NewScientist,[online] 15th of May. Available at: <> [Accessed 27th of February 2018]. Tiessen, M., 2007. Accepting invitations: Desire lines as earthly offerings. Rhizomes. Available from: http://www. rhizomes. net/ issue15/tiessen.html [accessed 29/11/2012]. Toledo, T., Koutsopoulos, H.N. and Ben-Akiva, M., 2007. Integrated driving behavior modeling. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 15(2), pp.96-112. Urry, J., 2008. Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 20, 63-77. VROM, 2000. Ruimte maken, ruimte delen. Make space, share space. Den Haag: VROM, pp. 8. development: regional planning matters. The Geographical Journal, 170(2), pp. 135-145. MacLaren, A., 2005. Suburbanising Dublin: Out of an Overcrowded Frying Pan into a Fire of Unsustainability?.. In: Moore, N. and Scott, M. eds. 2005. Renewing Urban Communities: Environment, Citizenship and Sustainability in Ireland. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 60-74. McGrath, B., 1998. Environmental sustainability and rural settlement growth in Ireland. Town Planning Review, 69(3), p.277.

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Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool Case study of the demographic changes in Romanian small towns This study aims to implement a shift-share analysis in ArcGIS 10.1 software and to assess some patterns of demographic changes in Romanian small towns. The methodology consisted of two steps: creating an automated workflow as a Model Builder tool and applying in a case study. The research led to the following results: (1) a Model Tool for ArcGIS 10.1; (2) several maps highlighting the spatial differences in the dynamics of the young population; (3) a particular pattern in young population change. In conclusion, the shift-share analysis proved its efficiency in analysing not only economic, but also demographic phenomena in their dynamics. As for the shift-share tool, its usage can be extended to territorial impact assessments, as different scenarios can be built and evaluated with this tool before adopting a particular policy. GIS tool, model, dynamics, territorial impact assessment Ema Corodescu (EGEA Iasi)

1. Introduction Spatial planning has become a major research field in geography as the sectoral policies are more and more related to the spatial dimension. The quantitative revolution in geography as well as the information revolution involving the rapid development of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) both provide effective tools for performing complex spatial analysis. Nevertheless, performing a complete geographical analysis – either diagnosis or simulation – requires significant contribution from the user, since many of the existing tools are focused on singular steps of any approach. Consequently, this paper tries to offer an example of how the GIS implementation of a well-known geographical method – shift-share analysis – can serve as a functional tool to perform a more complex analysis for territorial diagnosis and impact assessment. 1.1 GIS and territorial impact assessment Policy design as well as the actual practice requires a strong methodological framework that should also be easy to use.


Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool

GIS are an effective solution for creating tools for spatial planning and territorial impact assessment (TIA) as they allow a variety of operations, all of them strongly based on spatial dimension. Walser et al, (2011) explained that GIS allow a coherent approach to the geographical space through three dimensions: horizontally – focusing on limits and discontinuities; vertically – by overlapping different spatial scales; and transversally – by combining different thematic layers. As spatial dimension began to receive increased attention in the context of community development, it focused on finding a methodological and procedural framework able to perform a multi-criteria analysis (Camagni, 2009). In other words, TIA is regarded as an effective solution providing a precise estimation of the consequences, synergies and costs related to an ineffective territorial coordination of the sectoral policies (Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL), 2008). It represents a quantification and an evaluation system for the sectoral policies’ impacts on territorial cohesion (Schindegger and Tatzberger, 2004). Starting with these premises, the actual TIA instruments were elaborated. For instance, the ESPON ARTS tool

assesses the territorial impact by measuring vulnerability in three dimensions: exposure, sensitivity and territorial impact (European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON), 2012). The European Environment Agency (EEA) proposed another instrument – QUICKScan – which uses a modelling system that evaluates social and environmental factors, examines patterns and interactions, implements the potential effects of a specific policy and assesses the impact of these effects (Verweij, et al., 2012). Camagni (2009) proposed a multicriteria model (TEQUILA- Territorial Efficiency Quality Identity Layered Assessment) based on the key concepts of the territorial cohesion – efficiency, quality and identity – for the Trans-European Networks. 1.2 Shift-share analysis Shift-share analyses represent mathematical models aimed to explain the dynamics of different phenomena in three dimensions: national share – the evolution share corresponding to the general dynamics of the analysed phenomenon at the national, or study area level; sector mixing – the share of change related to the dynamics of the analysed sector at the national, or study area level; and regional shift – focusing on the evolution share related to local factors (Groza, 2004). The last dimension is obviously the most interesting in geographical studies as it spots the local vitality or fragility (Rusu and Țurcănașu, 2009), therefore offering an image of the territorial impact of different policies. The model was criticised due to several weaknesses (Armstrong and Taylor, 1985): (1) the difficulty of choosing the appropriate temporal and spatial scale, (2) the possible misunderstanding of the local economic performance, (3) the impossibility of identifying the externalities produced by other sectors or activities that may artificially increase a certain sector and (4) the exclusion of the productivity dynamics of the sector throughout the studied period. Numerous attempts to improve the original model have been made, but they have not been used on a large scale because the classic model benefits from several strong advantages: (1) it is easy to apply, (2) its explanatory force is good enough to provide reliable results, (3) the mathematical model is easy to understand and (4) the data requirements are reasonable (Armstrong and Taylor, 1985).


The present study approach

In this context, this study represents a link between the thorough approach of a geographical method and the technical efficiency of the GIS. The aim of this paper is to create a functional GIS tool for territorial diagnosis and impact assessment based on shift-share analysis. Three main objectives are envisaged: (1) creating an automated workflow for performing shift-share analysis, (2) highlighting the spatial differences related to the changes that occurred in population age structure in Romanian small towns and (3) finding a general explanation for these changes based on the three dimensions of shift-share analysis: national share, proportional shift or sector mixing and regional shift.

2. Methodology 2.1 Tool creation The first step of the study consisted of creating an automated GIS workflow to perform shift-share analysis. It was performed with Model Builder Window in ArcGIS 10.1. The workflow represents a sequence of adding, calculating and summarizing fields in the Attribute Table of the Input Dataset. Firstly, five Add Field – Calculate Field operations were performed (Figure 1). Four of them are aimed to calculate the primary variables required in the analysis: the sum of all sectors for the two moments of time (Tott, Tott_1) and the sector under consideration for both moments (St, St_1). The last one calculates a constant field used for summarising the values during the next step (Const). Then, the four fields were summarised in order to obtain the national/general value (for the entire study area) (Figure 1). Secondly (Figure 2), a new constant field was added and calculated in a summarised table, subsequently used for joining this table to the Input Dataset. Finally, four Add Field – Calculate Field operations were performed for calculating the four final indices (NS, SM, RS, TC) according to the following formulas. Subsequently, the tool was parameterised and subjected to the final settings. A detailed instructions manual was written down, too.

European Geographer 15 | 11/2018


Figure 1: The first set of processes included in the shift-share workflow as a Python script sequence Source: Author‘s own

2.2 Case study approach In order to test the tool’s efficiency, the created workflow was run on a simple variable - the share of the young population in 2002 and 2011 in Romanian small towns. The National Spatial Planning Strategy includes 4 categories of towns and cities are mentioned on the Romanian

territory: 0 rank – the country capital, having European influence; 1st rank – cities of national or even European influence; 2nd rank – cities having regional or departmental importance; 3rd rank – small towns (Regional Development and Public Administration Ministry (MDRAP), 2001). The present case study concerns the last category, the 3rd rank towns. The interest in studying this category of towns lies in their vulnerability, as: (1) many of them were founded due to an industrial activity, which suffered a strong decline during the past 25 years and (2) some of them are artificially declared towns, promoted as they meet the minimal requirements for the urban status without having any polarising force. The demographic decline represents a current issue for the whole of Europe but particularly for the countries having experienced the communist regime (Ungureanu and Muntele, 2008). On the one hand, the population emancipation led to a crash in the birth rate, which cannot have been avoided due to the absence of any immigrant groups with different demographic behaviour and, on the other hand, the massive emigration to Western Europe contributed to a direct decrease in population (Iațu, 2006). Obviously, the most aggressive short-term consequence of the demographic decline is the population ageing. In this context, the case study concerns 216 small, 3rd rank towns of Romania, following a relatively uniform distribution over the country (Figure 3) and holding approximately 10% of the total population. The demographic data was provided by the Romanian National Institute of Statistics (INSSE) (INSSE, 2012).

3. Results and Discussion 3.1 Shift-share analysis tool for ArcGIS

Equation 1: Where: X- the studied variable, for the following temporal and spatial contexts: m, m-1 – time moments for analysing the dynamics, a – the analysed sector/component; t – total for all sectors; i –the elementary spatial unit used in the analysis; s –-study area/national level.


Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool

he main result of the study is the Shift-share analysis Model Builder Tool, comprising six parameters: Input Spatial Units, four VBA expressions for calculating the primary variables and the desired workspace to save the intermediate data. The tool window strictly respects the typical structure of any ArcGIS tool (Figure 4), including a brief explanation for each parameter and a general one for the entire tool. The tool allows the user to work on any data, belonging to any topic, as long as the variable represents a share of 100.

gure 5) are related to the demographic size of the towns (Figure 3). At the same time, the amount of change explained through the national share ranges between -5.3% and -3.2% of the population at the starting date (2002), so the values are neither high, nor dispersed enough to highlight great deficiencies or important spatial disparities. Nevertheless, several compact areas that faced a decline in young population due to the general population decline at the national level can be observed: Prahova Valley, Maramures County, former industrial areas in Hunedora and Caras Severin Counties. Figure 3: Study area - Romanian small towns by their population Source: Author’s own

3.2 Spatial patterns of the demographic changes in Romanian small town The spatial patterns of the demographic changes are assessed through the above-mentioned indices (national shift, sector mixing, regional share and total change). The national share highlights the amount of change explained by the general population dynamics at the national level. This index records negative values for all the towns (Figure 5), suggesting that the demographic decline represents a strong tendency affecting all Romanian small towns and is related to various demographic factors, among which the most important are: the change in the family planning policies during the post-socialist decades (a sharp shift from an aggressive pro-birthing policy to a neutral one), the changes in the general demographic behaviour, the massive emigration. As far as this index is concerned, spatial differences are not very relevant, as the values of the national share (Fi-

Figure 4: The Shift-share analysis tool window Source: Author’s own

Figure 5: The national share of the change in young population between 2002 and 2011 Source: Author’s own

The second index – sector mixing – reveals a totally different image of Romanian small towns (Figure 6): an increase in young population share between 2002 and 2011 for all the small towns due to the dynamics of the young population at national level. This result shows that small towns generally faced an increase in young population, as they might still hold a relative socio-economic potential compared to the surrounding rural areas. Consequently, in spite of their economic decline – particularly in former industrial areas, where urban status was almost exclusively related to a specific industry developed during the communist period – small towns manage to play a minor role as local employment and educational poles for the remote rural areas, thereby slightly diminishing the spatial disparities between rural and urban areas. The general tendency of the spatial distribution of this index is to follow the town size as well (the relative change ranges between 4.7 % and 6.8 %).

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The first two indices only managed to delineate some general, well-known demographic tendencies. The true value of the shift-share analysis is its third dimension – regional shift – for which only the geographical approach can offer an effective explanation.

Figure 6: The change in young population between 2002 and 2011 due to sector mixing Source: Author’s own

Figure 7 shows the spatial distribution of the regional shift (absolute values). First of all, there is a regular dichotomy between mountainous areas and the extra Carpathian ones. Except for 5 towns, all the small towns situated within the Carpathian ring faced important young population decline related to local driving forces. This phenomenon is obviously not directly related to the altitude, but rather to the urban functions deriving from the town location. The massive industrial decline, which started in 1990 and continued after 2000 when many mines and quarries got closed due to their low productivity and inappropriate working conditions, has the most powerful impact on mountain towns, where the entire economic activity used to be closely linked to the mining industry (Ilinca,2013). For example, we can spot several clusters of young population decline: Moinești coal basin, including towns like Târgu Ocna, Dărmănești (the western part of Bacău county); Prahova Valley (starting in Sub-Carpathian area), based on oil industry, but also on other sectors, including towns like Breaza, Comarnic, Bușteni, Azuga.; Brașov area – based on complex industry: Zărnești, Predeal, Rupea; Petroșani area – specialized in high quality coal industry: such as Aninoasa, Uricani, Petrila., Apuseni Mountains – iron and complex ores: Zlatna and Câmpeni (manufactured at Calan steel factory, now closed too).


Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool

Furthermore, this process affected individual towns hosting valuable underground resources: Bălan – former copper mine; Victoria – weapon factory. Several towns overlapping lowlands faced important declines: Berești and Târgu Bujor in Galați County; Făurei in Brăila County, Balș in Olt County, as they used to play the role of local markets or collecting points for different harvesting products resulted from the centralised farming system. On the contrary, other small towns recorded positive values. As we stated before, almost all of these towns are situated outside the Carpathians Mountain Range but the explanation for their positive regional or local shift can be divided in at least three different processes. First of all, the satellite small towns situated around some great Romanian urban poles are to be mentioned: Bucharest, whose surrounding urban system is the most complex and substantial, Constanța, Timișoara, and Arad, whose positive regional shift is explained by the systemic urban growth, distinguished by a massive emigration from the main, central city to the surrounding satellite systems. Other towns faced an increase in their young population due to the presence of certain facilities, particularly educational, compared to their surrounding rural areas. For instance, in Suceava County, towns like Milisăuți, Bucecea, Liteni, Dolhasca, are artificially declared towns, thus they do not benefit from true urban diversity that is able to limit the emigration process. The third explanation is specific for another group of towns, many of them situated in southeastern part of Romania: Mărășești (in Vrancea County), Însurăței, Ianca (in Brăila County), Țăndărei, Amara (in Ialomița County), where the natural increase, insured by a relatively high birth rate, favoured the positive evolution of the young population. While this third index highlights very well the spatial disparities, it is important to analyse not only its absolute values, but also their ratio to the total population at the starting date (2002). Hence, the map in Figure 8 shows a hierarchy of the studied towns, according to the intensity of their regional shift. Therefore several towns, mainly former mining settlements, experienced a local decline of more than 5% – towns such as Sieni, Beclean, Balan, Comarnic, Baia de Aramă, Moldova Nouă, Anina, Zlatna and Câmpeni. At the same time, other towns, many of them situated near those in the first category, faced a lower decline, either due to some remaining industrial activity,

an easy-to-understand example. Concerning the approached issue (young population dynamics in Romanian small towns), the study can be continued through creating demographic forecasts, by extrapolating the existing tendencies, after calibrating them by different demographic indices.

Figure 7: The regional shift of the change in young population between 2002 and 2011 Source: Author’s own

or due to the co-existence of other urban activities: such as in Covasna, Nehoiu, Breaza, Pogoanele, Novaci, Brezoi, Tălmaciu, Abrud. The same hierarchy can be observed in the towns that experienced positive local evolutions. It is the relative index which distinguishably highlights the attractiveness of the Bucharest satellite towns, all of them recording values above 6.7%. On the contrary, for the rest of the great urban centres, only one or two of the towns recorded values belonging to this class: Curtici, Pâncota – Arad, Recaș – Timișoara, Ovidiu – Constanța, while the others recorded lower values, sometimes close to 0: Lipova, Ineu – Arad; Buziaș, Ceacova – Timișoara, Basarabi – Constanța. Finally, the total change (Figure 9) represents the sum of the three components mentioned above. For this final index, only the relative values were mapped, in order to remove the mass effect in the final typology of small Romanian towns. With the exception of several towns the hierarchy and the explanation behind it is very similar to that of the regional shift, therefore confirming the importance of spatial differences in explaining and subsequently simulating the demographic evolution. Another difference is noticeable in the values of the index, which are modified through the addition of the other two components: national share and sector mixing.

Figure 8: The relative regional shift of the change in young population between 2002 and 2011 Source: Author’s own

Apart from the studied issue, the shift-share tool can be useful in understanding and predicting the values for other variables. The value of working with other variables lies in the necessity to simulate the territorial impact of any kind of sectorial policies. As the shift-share analysis is based on rating the individual values of the variable to a larger spatial context/ study area, the method is particularly useful for assessing the territorial impact of macro-

3.3 Further discussion on the created tool The performed case study represents just an attempt to present the shift-share tool functionality using a clear and

Figure 9: The relative total change in young population between 2002 and 2011 Source: Author’s own

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policies, which affect a larger area. Other examples where this method can be used are issues like: employment – assessing the territorial impact of an increase in the share of available employment offers in a certain sector; investments and economic performance – changing the structure of the national budget or private investors’ expenses; or social and medical services – altering the investments or the amount of services available.

4. Conclusions The results of this study lead to several categories of conclusions, which are accompanied by brief comments on recommendations, limitations and possible future developments of this research. Firstly, the approach of this research confirmed or reconfirmed: (1) the possibility to create a GIS tool in order to perform shift-share analysis, also serving as a small step in encouraging the GIS implementations of various methods; (2) the importance of re-thinking the usefulness of certain methods which are not purely geographical, (3) the efficiency of the shift-share analysis in studying the dynamics of demographic or social phenomena, as most of the researches focus on economic phenomena; (4) the idea that social processes can be successfully approached at these three levels (national share, mixing and local particularities). Secondly, the case study results revealed interesting facts on young population dynamics in Romanian small towns. In spite that these towns are regarded as unattractive and facing a total decline, local factors are still able to create quite a few contrary examples. Even though the majority of mining towns really faced a strong decline, there are still enough small towns holding a consistent young population, either due to the proximity to great urban centres, or due to their polarisation capacity. Consequently, these towns should more often be subjected to different policies, as most of the investments and projects give priority to bigger cities or to rural areas. While satellite small towns received enough attention within the policies and projects concerning metropolitan areas, small towns playing the role of local poles were not included in so many revitalisation projects. Hence, the conclusion is that this research has already identified several local poles that still hold an important demographic resource and subsequently require


Shift-Share Analysis as a Territorial Impact Assessment Tool

urgent measures to consolidate their social and economic status. At the same time, other geographical analyses may accompany this study, in order to identify the local poles of attraction, both rural and urban, followed by creating a new priority in Romanian spatial planning agenda: the local development poles. The final conclusion – the most general one – is that more attention should be given to create strategies, methodologies and tools aimed to facilitate the enforcement of the collaboration between the scientific community and the policy designers. Such collaboration may be unsafe if the roles and the professional training are not preserved, as the present tool - as well as many others - is designed for experts with good geographical background rather than for the policy designers themselves. In fact, an intermediate level including consultants with geographical training should be created to insure the adjustments and the operationalisation of the knowledge provided by the scientific community. References Academy for Spatial Research and Planning, 2008. The territorial cohesion principles. Position paper to the EU green paper on territorial cohesion. ARL: Hanover Armstrong, H. and Taylor, J., 1985. Regional Economics and Policy. Oxford: Philip Allan. Camagni, R., 2009. Territorial Impact Assessment for European regions: A methodological proposal and an application to EU transport policy. Evaluation and Program Planning 32, pp. 342350. ESPON, 2012. Territorial Impact Assessment of Policies and EU Directives. A practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners based on contributions from ESPON projects and the European Commission. ESPON : Luxemburg. Groza, O., 2004. Les territoires de l‘industrie. Bucharest: EDP. Iațu, C., 2006. Demographie et geographie du travail dans la Roumanie post-decembriste. Iasi : Sedcom Libris. Ilinca, N., 2013. Human Geography – Romania. Population, Settlements, Economy. Bucharest: CD-Press 2013. Romanian National Institute of Statistics, 2012. General Population Census. INSSE: Bucharest. Regional Development and Public Administration Ministry, 2001.The Spatial Planning of the National Territory - IVth section - Settlement network. MDRAP : Bucharest.

Rusu, A. and Țurcănașu, G., 2009. Les dynamiques de l‘internationalisation économique - entre le deficit d‘attractivité locale et l‘évolution contrastée des activités. Scientific Annals of “ Al. I. Cuza” University of Iași, pp. 195-202. Schindegger, F. and Tatzberger, G., 2004. Territorial impact assessment (TIA): A certain tool or a whole kind of tools (contribution for first interim report of ESPON 3.1). Vienna: Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning. Ungureanu, Al. and Muntele, I., 2008. The geography of population. Iasi: Sedcom Libris 2008. Verweij, P., Winograd, M., Perez-Soba, M., Knapen, R. and van Randen, Y., 2012. QUICKScan: a pragmatic approach to decision support. I International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software Managing Resources of a Limited Planet, Sixth Biennial Meeting. Leipzig. Available at: <http://www.iemss. org/society/index.php/iemss-2012-proceedings> [Accessed on the 14th of March 2018] Walser, O., Thévoz, L., Joerin, F., Schuler, M., Joost, S., Debarbieux, B., 2011. SIG au service du développement territorial. Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes.

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Places of Power Sacred Geography of Greece The topic of this article is: places of power and the sacred geography of Greece. Although it is a topic of high interest among academic circles, related research on Greece is limited. This article is a brief presentation on sacred geography in general and more specifically on the Greek one. The article begins with a definition of the term and the scientific approaches over the years. It is followed by a short chapter about the placement and marking of the sacred sites and the ways they are identified nowadays. The chapter also includes some basic information about the global energy map. The second chapter refers to the Gaia Hypothesis. It incorporates research about the sacred geography of Greece, as well as a few important examples of Greek sacred sites. The last chapter is about the challenges that may be faced while approaching the subject. At the end, there is a brief conclusion including suggestions for further research. Spatial planning, sustainability, sustainable development, urban-rural fringe, urban sprawl, Ireland sacred geography, secular, Gaia, pilgrimage, geodesy, psychometrics Maria Menegaki (EGEA Mytilene)

1. Sacred Sites As Professor Veronica Della Dora (2010) mentions, sacred sites are a part of our everyday lives. Not only do we read and talk about them, but there are also many times when we interact with them. However, sacred space as a concept is challenging to define. Since its borders are not visible, such as the walls of a church, all our senses need to be used in order to see it. One can briefly describe sacred sites as sites with spiritual or metaphysical nature. Since ancient times, they have hosted altars, oracles as well as cradles for knowledge and education. Recently, researchers from various disciplines, including theology, anthropology, architecture, geology, topography and archaeology have studied them. Their approaches were different and often in conflict. Veronica Della Dora has categorised them into the structuralist, the postmodern and the more-than-representational approaches. 1.1 Approaches to the geographies of sacred sites The structuralist approach. A Romanian philosopher and historian of religions named Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) was one of the first and most


Places of Power

important scholars to write about sacred space. According to Eliade, as cited in Della Dora (2010), religious thought is based on a main distinction between the sacred and the profane. Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself as something completely different from the profane. Such manifestations can be encountered in objects that are a part of nature, such as stones, trees, mountains, or even entire locations. Once the sacred manifests itself, even though the object maintains its original form, it gains a secular sanctity for the believer and becomes a channel of communication with the transcendent. Therefore, space is not homogeneous. Some of its parts are sacred, strong, significant, full of meaning and power, while others are profane and amorphous, without structure. From this approach, sacred space is a defined, selfbounded entity around the center of the world; a static territorial container. It is worth mentioning that Wright used the word “geopiety” in order to describe the geometries of sacred space and the identification of sacred sites. (Wright, 1996 cited in Della Dora, 2010, p. 4) The postmodern approach. Lately, boundaries between the sacred and the secular have been puzzling many scholars, and Eliade‘s approach has been criticized several times. Although Eliade‘s approach

gave value to sacred sites, it rejected all other mundane forces as meaningless and therefore unable to influence sacred space. Contemporary cultural geographers have explored the interactions between those forces and the sacred space emphasising its redefinition in terms of modernity and secularisation. Examples of these include the prohibition of burning joss paper in Singapore in honour of their ancestors, the veiling practices of Turkish women, as well as the banning of religious symbols in public spaces. Anthropologists and tourism scholars have defined the conceptual boundaries between the sacred and the profane even more fluidly, since the sacred includes practices and places that are not necessarily religious. For instance, Ian Reader refers to the pilgrimage of Elvis Presley‘s fans to Graceland and the ceremonials for the Hillsborough stadium tragedy in 1989. In both cases, space becomes sacred through death. (Reader, 1993 cited in Della Dora, 2010) Among the scholars who have been engaged with this type of pilgrimage is Rigby, who agrees that it is the visitors‘ activities that transform a place into sacred, rather than its own physical characteristics. Undoubtedly, the case of Graceland is a great example of such a process, since not only do the visitors identify themselves as pilgrims, but they also interact with space, writing related statements on the surrounding walls. Therefore, the writer examines the former home and now burial site of Elvis Presley as "a modern secular pilgrimage center". (Rigby, 2001, pp. 155-161) The Hillsborough tragedy was an event that occurred in 1989 where almost 94 Liverpool supporters died at a football match in Sheffield, England. Some of the supporters had been let into one end of the grounds, while those at the front were crushed against the perimeter fences as the match was about to begin. The following day, people started visiting the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Anfield, the home ground of Liverpool Football Club, in order to mourn for the victims. Soon afterwards visitors, the so-called pilgrims, became more organised and great numbers of them queued for hours to get into the stadium which was gradually transformed into a shrine, or the “third cathedral” as some people named it, filled with flowers, football scarves and condolence messages on the walls. (Davie, 1993, pp. 81-82) The more-than-representational approach. We saw how the postmodern approach questions the structuralist approach by broadening the conceptual spec-

trum of sacred space and signalising its complexity. Yet it ignores one of its most important characteristics: wonder. By turning the sacred into a social force or a result of social forces, it downgrades - if not extinguishes - some basic aspects of the spiritual experience in sacred sites, which makes this approach questionable and invalid according to many scholars. This is a part of a broader and even more complicated problem. While religion and spirituality take place in this world, they are not bound to terrestrial life. The ultimate goal of most users of sacred sites is life after death. Therefore, rather than conforming to social standards, religious and spiritual practices tend to exceed these standards. Recently, a new wave of experimentations in cultural geography has studied aspects, such as the supernatural and the emotional, that challenge sociological determinisms and highlight the poetics of the sacred. Such approaches transcend meaning and representation and are not confined to a self-bounded sacred space (Della Dora, 2010). Placement, identification and marking. No matter which approach one chooses to follow, even if sacred space existed as a means of communication with the divine or was a human construction, identification of sacred sites is the first step towards their recognition, mapping and interpretation. The sites that offer the opportunity to reach a reality beyond the known are usually marked with drawings, altars, buildings or megaliths. In the case of prehistoric cultures before script was invented, these are the only signs revealing a sacred place. Regarding the subsequent ones, there are texts, myths and legends connecting those places with gods or events that marked their history. Mountains are probably the first geological formations to be identified as places of power. This is mainly due to their nature of challenging the world axis of the cosmological model in most people’s mythologies. According to this mythology, the world is divided in three regions: sky, earth and underworld. Another axis penetrates those regions‘ centres where the transition from one to another can be achieved; the holy mountain is the physical expression of this axis. Pyramids, ziggurats and megaliths are considered as copies of these mountains and places where gods can communicate with humans. Among the most important examples are Mount Meru – the world centre for the Hindus –, Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Kailas in Tibet,

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Popokatepetl of the Aztecs, as well as Mount Nemrut in Turkey and Tai in China. Caves are usually the result of the water‘s effects or plate motions. Their position led many cultures to consider them as of feminine nature and thus as the womb of Mother Earth, associating them with birth and spiritual rebirth. Along with mountains, they can be regarded as the oldest holy places. References to them in ancient mythological or religious texts show their sacredness. According to Healy (2007), for instance, Aztecs’ womb of Earth was known as Chicomoztoc, meaning the seven caves. The significance of these caves is reported in the work of the friar Diego Duran, who wrote about the belief that all the major native tribes of highland Mexico originally came from Chicomoztoc. Apart from the written sources, there are plenty of rock art sites associated with ceremonialism. Moreover, the existence of sacred springs with therapeutic or prophetic abilities in sacred caves is a usual phenomenon, since rituals used to take place in caves before people started building temples (see Porphyry, 1917). However, places of power are not limited to geological formations. Even on flat areas there are plenty of them. The way that different cultures were able to locate them is not known. What is known on such sites is the existence of special natural forces that are able to affect humans. According to experts who have studied the subject, most sacred sites are located directly above or close to areas of geophysical specificities such as magnetism, radioactivity, gravity, absence of groundwater, metal concentration, volcanic activity, ultrasounds, as well as phenomena such as the Aurora (see, for instance, the work of Paul Devereux). For instance, megalithic structures of England are located within less than two kilometres from geological faults and large concentrations of igneous rocks. Obviously, the selection of such sites is not random. The ability to detect them without modern tools is possibly due to the perception of the energy apart from the material environment. Besides this, it is common that these places manifest themselves in some ways, with miracles and visions being the most widespread way in Western cultures. After the identification or manifestation of sacred sites, marking them with monoliths, pyramids, temples or small shrines took place. Tree trunks were probably used as well, but the sensitivity of wood to weather conditions does not allow us to have complete evidence. Factors such as age,


Places of Power

culture, quality of the power of the place and its manner of use defined the type of the building. Prehistoric and ancient peoples gave special attention to building materials, since the power emitted from the holy places was believed to be crude and therefore could not be used by a common pilgrim. Thus, the chosen rocks had the ability to process the power of the place and diffuse it. The most common were granite, marble and those containing high concentrations of quartz. In cases where such rocks could not be found in nearby areas, people were forced to bring them from afar. For example, the megaliths used for the construction of the Great Pyramid in Egypt were derived from the area of Aswan, more than 600 kilometres away from Giza. Apart from their function as individual energy points, sacred sites seem to be connected. In other words, each society used some ways to connect to its holy places, based on mythological, symbolic, astrological or geodetic standards (Katsinopoulos, 2002). 1.2 The global energy map Places of power are key points of a broader matrix related to the energy flow in the three dimensions‘ space. This energy, as well as the matrix defining its flow, has many names – occult and scientific ones: leys, tellurique force, qi, prana, anima mundi, aether, orgona or dragon paths (see Watkin, 2015). It was in the ’60s when the Soviet scientists N. Goncharov, B. Moroz and B. Mokarov already found evidence for the existence of weak magnetic lines. These magnetic lines seem to surround our planet shaping a dodecahedron located within an icosahedron. It looks like the Earth was once a huge crystal or had an energetic form resonating from a crystalline core. On a map, scientists noted those monumental constructions of ancient civilizations , and it was immediately shown that they followed the magnetic or energetic lines of the icosahedron. Moreover, they used meteorological and geological maps and found out that all the planet’s centres, with maximum and minimum atmospheric pressure, coincide with the 20 vertices of the dodecahedron. According to Childress (1987), the Earth Grid theory suggests that the grid lines are of a more basic nature than the longitudinal and latitudinal ones that are used in the contexts of conventional geography. The writer uses the term

energy lines to describe them, since “the geometric pattern of the Earth Grid is energetic in nature” (Childress, 1987, p. 5). However, he also raises some issues emerging from the reports of Grid theorists: They tend to draw upon subjective and rather controversial information which challenges the basis of our physical world view and goes against modern scientific views (Childress, 1987).

the positions of the oldest temples in Greece were chosen by ancient mystics based on a network of alignments and triangles. Later Greek researchers discovered triangles, circles, polygons and other geometric shapes linking the holy sites (Richer, 1967 cited in Litsas, 2000).

2. Sacred Geography of Greece

Undoubtedly, there are countless examples of places of power in Greece. In his book "Power Places in Greece", researcher and writer Vembos (2005) has described some of the most important of them, from which I chose to briefly present seven. Most of them belong to the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is also important to mention that although the number of the presented sites is limited and misses out on important ones such as the Acropolis, there is a lot written both in published sources and online, to which the interested reader can easily have access (cf. Further Reading). Samothrace. In a sense, Samothrace is not an island but a mountain in the middle of the sea. Its highest peak, the Moon, is disproportionate to the size of the island. It has been inhabited since the sixth millennium BC. Herodotus says that Pelasgians used to live in Samothrace, whose primordial ancient cults were passed on to the subsequent Greeks. This resulted in the transformation of the island into one of the most important religious centres, focusing on the Sanctuary of the Great Gods and Kabeirian Mysteries. The deities worshipped in the sanctuary were not correlated to the Greek pantheon, and it seems that they arrived in Greece from Asia Minor, while their cult had also developed in Lemnos and Imbros. There is evidence of the cult activity in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods since the 7th century and the reconstruction of monumental buildings since the 4th century BC. The island is full of megalithic monuments that are reminiscent of dolmens, hot springs and hundreds of small churches. Mount Athos. Mount Athos is described as the sacred mountain of Orthodoxy in Greece. Nowadays, while it is a semi-autonomous territory, 3.000 monks live there in twenty large monasteries. However, only few know that Mount Athos has been a sacred place from the depths of antiquity. Pagan hermits used to live in its dense forests since the anci-

Greece is a country with a past that has been important for the transformation of its space. Trails of it can be found everywhere – from rural to urban areas. 2.1 The Gaia hypothesis and Richer’s research Ancient Greeks accepted the existence of the Earth as selfevident. With this as a starting point they proceeded to develop theories about the birth of gods and humans that according to Hesiod and Pindar are two inextricable parts of the same set. In ancient Greece, Gaia, as a living being, is considered to be covered by an ethereal plan all over its surface, each point of which corresponds to a point in the sky. In other words, there exists a net of energy flows that reflects the cosmic universe and receives the energy of stars and planets at each of its points, sending it back to the surface of Earth. Apart from being a living being, Gaia, according to the ancient Greeks, also has a nervous system with key energy points, similar to the acupuncture points on the human body. In his book ‚"Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks", which is considered to be the first related research, Jean Richer claims that there was an earlier stellar cult in Europe and Asia Minor. He also argues that

Figure 1: Planetary Grid Source: Childress, 1987, p.9

2.2. Examples of sacred sites in Greece

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ent times due to the power of the place. There are no ruins from the ancient cities of the mountain area as they were all destroyed in the 2nd century BC. For the following thousand years there exists no clear related historical information, which has led to the birth of many legends. Nowadays, the best samples of Byzantine art and religious images are preserved there, while in its libraries there are countless volumes of books and manuscripts of inestimable historical value. Olympus. Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece (2.918 m.), was the traditional residence of the Gods. For centuries its power attracted many pilgrims, hermits and monks, and it still attracts climbers and mountaineers who want to wander in its wilderness. The impressive landscapes, snow peaks, wide variety of fauna and flora, canyons, as well as the frequent weather alternations contribute to this. Dodona. At the foot of Tomaros, southwest of Ioannina, is the famous oracle of Dodona. Ancient traditions considered the oracle of Dodona as the most ancient Greek oracle as well as unique for its age. Since the mid-3rd millennium, Gaia was worshiped there in the roots of a great oak. Later, Zeus arrived, who, according to mythology, used its interior as his residence. The first buildings seem to have been established at around the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 4th century BC. The decline of the sacred space was due to its destruction by the Romans in 167 BC and finally during the 4th century when the oak tree was cut down and the cult of Zeus was replaced by Christianity. Archaeological excavations since 1913 brought to light everything we know about this power place. Delphi. The hub of the world for the ancient Greeks is located on Mount Parnassus, perhaps the most sacred place of the Greek world, and the most famous oracle. In the main archaeological site, the Sacred Way, which passes through the numerous shrines, temples and the theatre, is a typical initiatory path ending at the temple of Apollo. Several temples were built throughout the years, one on top of the ruins of another with the first one dating back to the 7th century BC. There was also the spring Kassotis, from which the Pythia drank the famous talking water. Legend says that once the spring dried up, the prophetic powers of the place were


Places of Power

lost. The famous Omphalos, a religious stone artefact similar to many others in the ancient world, was also in the temple of Apollo. It is depicted in various vases and coins, and the pattern carved on its shell has also been carved in other stones that identified important geomantic points. It has been discovered, for instance, in Celtic stones – landmarks from Ireland to Germany. The pattern symbolises the harnessing of a place’s powers. Omphalos was a connecting point between heaven and earth. For this reason, it was protected by a stone, an altar or another structure that prevented the entrance for the uninitiated. During the Hellenistic period, the power of the oracle decreased. Later, the area attracted visitors due to the descriptions of Pausanias (1935) which prompted archaeologists to investigate it. Korikion Andron, which is located a few kilometres apart from the area, is also worth mentioning. It is a spacious cave, which was perhaps the first cult centre before the establishment of the oracle of Delphi. Legends connect it with Delphi through underground ways, although they have not been discovered. The cave was dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs, and at its end there is an inaccessible place, the sanctum. Tinos. Tinos is intertwined with ‚"Our lady of Tinos", a centre of worship and miracles. It is certainly no coincidence that the church is built close to the foundations of the ancient temple of Poseidon. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in an old nun‘s dream showing her the construction point of the temple. The timelessness of Tinos is obvious because both in ancient and in modern Greece, the island has been a place of national pilgrimage. More specifically, the icon of the Virgin Mary is widely recognised for its therapeutic miracles mainly connected to disability, fertility or terminal illnesses, attracting thousands of believers each year. (Terzidou, 2010) It was in 1971 that the island was declared sacred by governmental decree and the nun was sanctified. The Cave of Zeus. The Cave of Zeus is the cave where, according to mythology, Zeus was born. His worship there is a continuation of the cult of the Minoan God of agriculture and has attracted believers for centuries. In the Classical and Hellenistic period, the cult was continued with form stages of initiation and the representation of Nativity. The ceremony of initiation lasted 27 days. Besides the cave, Mount Ida itself

is a sacred mountain, as Cretans from various provinces used to visit its peak, where the Chapel of the Holy Cross is located. Paul Vlastos, scholar of the 19th century, described the climbing as “the holy route” (Vembos, 2005). Research Challenges Sacred geography is difficult to be approached. Surely some key sacred sites can be defined not only globally but also in different countries based on their prehistory, role, as well as their special phenomena. However, there are thousands of such places. It is obvious that efforts to map them can initially be unsuccessful. That is because if someone locates a few hundred random locations on a map and begins to unite them with lines, circles and geometric shapes, the laws of probability dictate that they will finally find any shapes they want. Therefore, the main problem is not choosing the information which is to be included, but that which should be excluded. Many researchers do not take this into consideration, which results to misleading conclusions. Furthermore, the second and most important challenge is the difficulty of modern people to understand the significance of such sites for people of that time. Where we now see a monument of archaeological, aesthetic or historical value, people of the past might have felt a coded form of the universe itself.

3. Conclusions In summary, religion dominates many landscapes. According to Park, “one of the more prominent geographical dimensions of religious expression is the notion of sacred space” (Park, 2005, p. 451). Regarding my brief bibliographical research, specifically on the issue of the sacred geography of Greece, there is undoubtedly a pattern in the location of sacred sites. At all the mentioned places, altars and temples of antiquity can be found, most of which were subsequently replaced with Christian buildings. Nevertheless, the mythological and folkloristic backgrounds have developed at those sites and the surrounding areas are rich and the landscapes characteristic, since they are remote from the urban ones, adding peace and tranquillity in holy places. Yet, this incredibly ancient and significant inherited geography remains rather unexplored. After my study on this issue, I suggest a substantial and interdisciplinary research on the Sacred Geography of

Greece, based on both orthodox methods (detailed in situ measurements with GPS, cartography, geodesy) and unorthodox (dowsing, pendulum) in order to exploit, but above all to protect the sacred sites of the country. In addition, anthropological tools could be adopted, since fieldwork would certainly reveal interesting and maybe hidden aspects about people’s perceptions of sacred sites. In our secular globalized world, where nature is increasingly separated from culture in Western thought, it is vital to overcome such dichotomies. Academic interest in sacred geography and sacred sites in general could be a way to strengthen people’s awareness and appreciation of planet Earth and all its life. Apart from regaining spiritual concerns and holistic perceptions, it is necessary to implement effective environmental policies for both industrialised societies and indigenous cultures, whose sacred lands are under the constant threat of western commodification. References Childress, D.H., 1987. Anti-Gravity and the World Grid. Kempton, IL: Adventure Unlimited Press. Davie, G., 1993. Believing without Belonging. A Liverpool Case Study. Archives des sciences sociales des religions, 81, pp.79-89. Della Dora, V., 2010. Engaging Sacred Space: Experiments in the Field. UK Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(2), pp.163-184. Goncharov, N., Moroz, B. and Mokarov, B., 1973: Is the Earth a Large Crystal?. Khimiya I Zhizn. Healy, P.F., 2007. The Anthropology of Mesoamerican Caves. Reviews in Anthropology, 36, pp. 245–278. Katsinopoulos, Ν., 2002. Places of Power. Athens: Esoptron. Litsas, B.N., 2000. The Sacred Geography of Greece. 6th ed. Athens: Esoptron. Park, C., 2005. Religion and Geography. In: J.R. Hinnells, ed. 2005. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. USA: Routledge. pp. 439-455. Pausanias, 1935. Description of Greece, Books 8.22-10. Translated by W.H.S. Jones: Cambridge, MA. Rigby, M., 2001. Graceland: A Sacred Place in a Secular World?. In: C.M. Cusack and P. Oldmeadow, ed. The End of Religions? Religion in an Age of Globalisation. Australia: Sydney University Press. pp. 155-165. Terzidou, M., 2010. Religion as a motivation to travel: The case of Tinos Island in Greece. MIBES – Oral, pp. 338-349.

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Vembos, T., 2005. Places of Power in Greece. Thessaloniki: Archetipo. Watkin, A., 1988. The Old Straight Track: Its Mounds, Beacons, Moats, Sites and Mark Stones. London: Abacus.

Further Reading Alcock, E.S., Osborne R., 1996. Placing the Gods (Sanctuaries and Sacred Space in Ancient Greece). Oxford: Clarendon Paperbacks, Oxford University Press. Andriotis, K., 2009. Sacred Site Experience – A Phenomenological Study. Annals of Tourism Research, 36(1), pp. 64-84. Bailey, A.R., Brace, C., Harvey, D.C., 2006. Religion, Place and Space: A Framework for Investigating Historical Geographies of Religious Identities and Communities. Progress in Human Geography, 30(1), pp. 28-43. Broad, W. J., 2007. The Oracle: Ancient Delphi and the Science Behind Its Lost Secrets. USA: Penguin Books. Carmichael, L.D., Hubert, J., Reeves, B., Schanche, A., 1994. Sacred Sites, Sacred Places. New York: Routledge. Cooper, A., 1997. Sacred Mountains: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Meanings. Edinburgh: Floris Books. Critchlow, K., 2007. Time Stands Still: New Light on Megalithic Science. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Floris Books. Devereux, P., 2010. Sacred Geography: Deciphering Hidden Codes in the Landscape. Gaia: London. Dillon, M., 1997. Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in Ancient Greece, London: Routledge. Durkheim, E., 1915. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. 2nd ed. Translated from French by J.W. Swain., 1976. London: George Allen & Unwin. Eliade, M., 1987. The Sacred And The Profane: The Nature of Religion. Princeton, NJ: Harcourt Inc. Geldard, R., 2000. The Traveler‘s Key to Ancient Greece: A Guide to Sacred Places. USA: Quest Books. Giannoulakis, P., 2004. Entrance to the hollow earth. 2nd ed., Thessaloniki: Agnosto. Harrison, J.E., 1991. Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. USA: Princeton University Press. Hambidge, J., 1924. The Parthenon and other Greek Temples, Their Dynamic Symmetry. USA: Yale University Press. Newman, H., 2008. Earth Grids: The Secret Patterns of Gaia‘s Sacred Sites. UK: Wooden Books. Pogacnik, M., 2008. Sacred Geography. UK: Lindisfarne Books. Porphyry, 1917. On the cave of the nymphs in the thirteenth book of the Odyssey. Translated by T. Taylor. J. M. Watkins: London.


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Richer, J., 1994. Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks: Astrological Symbolism in Art, Architecture and Landscape. USA: State University of New York Press. Rutkowski, B., 1986. The Cult Places of the Aegean. USA: Yale University Press. Scully, V., Jr., 1979. The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture. USA: Yale University Press. Sherrard, P., 1985. Athos: The Holy Mountain. USA: Overlook Books.

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana The alarming rate of health problems associated with malaria in the Hohoe Municipality of the Republic of Ghana necessitated this research work – “A study of malaria prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana” as my Bachelor thesis at the University of Ghana, Accra. The study is structured into three parts: general knowledge about the disease, effects of the disease, and the control mechanisms in the Municipality. Primary and secondary data were collected using the Stratified Sampling Technique – which is used to divide a larger group into subgroups, then the required data is randomly selected proportionally from the subgroups – in four selected towns in the Municipality: Hohoe, Fodome Amle, Lolobi Ashiambi, and Akpafu Mempasem. These data were analysed using both SPSS Version 12 and MS Excel 2003 packages. On the whole, the research indicates that, even though malaria is not the main reason for underdevelopment in the municipality, it exacerbates impacts on the lives of inhabitants. Individually, it contributes the largest cause of death among other diseases in the municipality; convulsions and deformities especially in children are some of its traits. Beside these, stillbirths and barrenness could also be traced to malaria. anopheles, falciparum, malaria, Ghana, parasites, prevalence psychometrics Michael Ogbe (EGEA Trondheim)

1. Background of the Study Some of the most pressing issues in health geography are mostly characterised by complex interactions between humans and the environment. This makes appropriate management especially problematic to some extent. Such interactions are at the heart of the challenge of reducing the global burden of malaria. Malaria is the world’s largest parasitic disease killer; killing more than any other communicable disease apart from tuberculosis (Dzator and Asafu-Adjaye, 2004). Nevertheless, not only does it lead to human deaths, it also inhibits human socio-economic progress. According to Sachs and Malaney (2002), in their work on the economic and social burden of malaria, where malaria prospers most, human societies have prospered least.

Malaria is a misnomer (WGBH, 2005), it is believed to have been drawn from the Italian word “Mal Aire” which means “bad air”. This indicates the historical belief that the disease is caused by miasmas or noxious exhalations from rotten matter or stagnant water (ibid.). Kager (2002) emphasizes that there were about 2 million deaths annually due to malaria worldwide prior to the onset of the Second World War (WWII). However, the incidences were less dominating in Africa in comparison to Asia and the Pacific (WHO, 1999). Around 1976, Wernsdorfer and Kreier (1980) stated a new peak of 6.5 million infections whereas in Europe, Australia, and the US, malaria had all but disappeared. The fundamental reason for this achievement according to this study was the extensive use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). It was used in the treatment of malaria cases alongside chloroquine,

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draining of stagnant waters and the desalinating of marshlands. Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe were the only countries that attempted to eradicate malaria. Other countries considered malaria too big a problem to handle (ibid.). The reasons for this perception at the time can be traced to the writings of Nchinda (1998). Some of these include: the 1970s and 1980s economic downturn, resistivity of malaria parasites to insecticides and repellents, wars, civil conflicts, socio-economic induced migration, and increase in birth rates. In Ghana, malaria was the reason of 33.4% of all hospital admissions, and was the highest cause of death, accounting for 13.1% of all deaths in 2006 and even 16.4% in 2005. In 2006, there were a total of 195,065 malaria admissions, compared to 183,662 in 2005. This translated into a 6.2% increase in admissions due to malaria (GHS, 2006). The driving force behind this research is data analysis with data from the national statistics bureaus (Ghana Statistical Service and Ghana Health Service). The research intended to unearth the state of malaria in the municipality: who is affected, the extent of severity, and what adaptive mechanisms are in place to curb the infectious rate. Despite decades of research, much about the disease is yet to be known in the Hohoe municipality. The effect of malaria on people of all ages is immense. It is most potent among pregnant women and children as they have a weaker immune system. When not properly treated, malaria could cause stillbirth, miscarriage, and maternal mortality in pregnant women. More so, malaria is both a characteristic and a major cause of poverty and low productivity. It is hyper endemic as well as accounts for a reduction in the people’s working abilities. The debilitating effects of malaria on adult victims have a significant impact on communities. In addition to time and money spent on preventing and treating it, it leads to considerable pain and weakness among its victims. It is therefore a challenge to human development and serves as both a cause and consequence of underdevelopment (Sachs and Malaney, 2002) in the municipality. Despite all these, malaria imposes high economic cost on the population. Given that most households in the municipality live on less than US $1 a day (Oduro et al., 2007), the cost for malaria treatment is relatively expensive. Besides its devastating effects, the importance of an


environment devoid of malaria in promoting economic development and poverty reduction has not been fully appreciated by the Municipality. Perhaps the reason for that is that the impact of the burden of malaria has not been researched quantitatively in order to convince politicians, policy makers, development partners, and programme managers to devote the needed attention to this problem. Subsequently, malaria is therefore not only a public health issue, but also a developmental issue, because it has a negative effect on the productivity in major economic sectors, for example, tourism (Hohoe Municipality is at the forefront of ecotourism), alongside investments and trade in municipality. 1.1 Rationale of the study The relevance of this research is to offer duty bearers and right holders in the health sectors new insights into the malaria infection, and to help eradicate this endemic disease in the Hohoe municipality in particular and Ghana as a whole. 1.2 Key research questions • What are the basic favourable conditions needed by the malaria parasite? • What types of measures should be taken when one suffers from the parasite? • Are the control mechanisms in the clinics, hospitals, or other health centres in the municipality effective and serving their purpose? • Is there an affordable and adequate access to health care facilities in the municipality? 1.3 Objectives The study, among other things, • attempts to identify the spatio-temporal pattern of malaria in the study area; • attempts to examine the mode(s) of treatment (if any) in use, and the cost of the endemic disease’s prevention; • attempts to estimate the impact of malaria on economic growth within the Municipality; • attempts to provide possible recommendation as to how the malaria problem can be curbed.

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana

1.4 Hypotheses This study attempted to test the following hypotheses: • Malaria is the cause of most infant mortality. • Malaria leads to underdevelopment within the Municipality. 1.5 Study area The fieldwork for this study was carried out in the Hohoe Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana between December 2007 and February 2008. The Study Area is located in the centre of the Volta Region, framed by the Volta Lake in the west and the Togolese border in the east (see Figure 1). The municipality covers an area of 1,172 km2, has a population of about 154,000 people (2004 estimate), and has a major rainy season lasting from April to July and a minor one from September to November whereas the rest of the year is dry (Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, 2004).

Hohoe Municipality is at the forefront of the country’s community-based ecotourism destinations. Among the ecotourism sites are lofty mountains blending with low green lands, heart throbbing natural scenery of spectacular waterfalls, as well as historical caves. Hohoe Municipality is also home to the highest peak in Ghana (Mount Afadja), the highest waterfall in West Africa (Wli Falls), and the sacred and rare species of Mona Monkeys. Importantly, Hohoe Municipal has the reputation of being one of the most friendly and hospitable areas in Ghana. In combination with an exciting and vibrant lively culture, the ubiquitous smiles make the Municipality the ideal destination for community-based tourism.

2. Literature Review The literature review of this study focuses on some of the definitions, causes, symptoms, and prevention mechanisms of malaria.

Figure 1: A map of Hohoe Municipality Source: Author’s own

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2.1 Definitions of malaria Malaria is an “infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by the parasitic infection of red blood cells by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito” ( Houghton Mifflin, 2002). Malaria is an acute (sub)tropical infectious disease caused by Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae P. ovale and P. falciparum which are transmitted to human beings by mosquito vectors (Loeb, 1993). Oduro et al. (2007) on the other hand, consider the common clinical case definition of malaria to be “fever (axillary temperature 37.5°C) accompanied by parasite blood count greater than a specified threshold density”. Balentine (2008), however, defines it as an infectious disease, caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the sting of the Anopheles mosquito, by a contaminated needle or transfusion.

about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour (1.6 – 2.4 km/hour). When a female Anopheles mosquito bites someone who is already infected with the malaria parasite, it takes up the parasites which with time reproduce sexually in her system. Whilst in her system, the parasites move to the salivary glands and mature into sporozoites. From this stage onwards, the next victim of the mosquito receives theses sporozoites. The mosquito only injects a minimal volume of saliva into the person to stop the blood clotting. After entering the blood of the new host, the sporozoites are transported through the blood till they get to the liver (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Upon reaching the liver of the host, the sporozoites produce high numbers of so called merozoites. The merozoites are released from the liver cells into the blood stream at this point (Prudêncio et al., 2006). They attack the red blood cells of the victim and divide themselves into further parasites. With time, some of the merozoites develop into gametocytes which can be carried by any female anopheles mosquito with a blood meal (Bray and Garnham, 1982).

2.2 Causes of malaria 2.4 Symptoms of malaria Wernsdorfer and Kreier (1980) argue that malaria is the accepted name denoting the disease or condition of infection in humans caused by parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. They also argue that although malaria was originally restricted to plasmodial infections in humans, it now includes all infections caused by organisms belonging to the family Plasmodiidae, which therefore are commonly referred to as malaria parasites. Jones et al. (2008) consider malaria to be the most important infectious disease in the world affecting many people living between the latitudes of approximately 60° N and 40° S. In terms of transmission, he asserts that malaria parasites are usually transmitted from the blood of an infected person to a female Anopheles mosquito and then to susceptible new persons. The time from when the mosquito ingests the gametocytes until it has infective sporozoites is at least 10 days. The gametocytes can develop into sporozoites only if the temperature is above 15° C. 2.3 How the parasite gets to the human body According to Col (1996), there are about 2,700 different species of mosquitoes, and they are capable of flying to


Boyd (1949) mentions the classic triad of chills, fever, and sweating and analysed the characteristic periodicity of various forms of malaria. He recognizes continued fevers as the most dangerous, often fatal forms – infections caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The Healthwise Staff (2013) states that most of the infections due to malaria have symptoms akin to flu. Examples of these are high fever, chills and sore muscle. Some of these symptoms tend to come in cycles. 2.5 Prevention of malaria To prevent malaria, protection from mosquito bites and/ or taking anti-malaria medication is necessary. If bed nets and clothes are treated with insecticides and insect repellents, the risk of infection of malaria will be reduced. In the tropics, however, the use of air-conditioners and electric fans indoors can also be a very helpful preventive tool.

3. Conceptual Framework Malaria is the most important vector-borne disease be-

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana

cause of its global distribution (Gubler, 1998); and as such, the malaria decision analysis support tool (MDAST) by Kramer et al. (2004) was adopted for this study. This model was used to study malaria in Tanzania by the same authors, and it has proven to be a helpful tool. Wiener and Graham (1995) argued that it assisted decision makers to recognize diverse effects, weight the trade-offs, and, in the longer run, seek risk-superior moves that reduce multiple risks in concert. The MDAST is made up of four major components: contextual factors, choices, outputs, and outcomes. In the contextual factors in this study, malaria in the municipality was looked at under three subsets. The malaria context; for instance, â&#x20AC;&#x153;how severe is it?â&#x20AC;? What is the spatial dimension - how widely spread is it? The environmental context; how is the environment contributing to the spread of the disease? Are the gutters choked leading to stagnant waters which promotes the breeding of mosquitoes in the municipality? The last context is social. Social factors are frequently unnoticed by those in charge of establishing control measures against malaria (Heggenhougen et al., 2003). How do the inhabitants in the municipality accept or adhere to the available control mechanisms? Are pregnant women, for instance, using the insecticide treated bed nets they have been given in the hospital? Do nursing mothers protect their children from mosquito bites?

Under the choices component, the main concerns are whether specific types of vaccines are available for the treatment of malaria and whether they are affordable or for free? These choices affect the contextual components and subsequently the outputs that are generated in the control of malaria. The output component deals with how the various choices affect the health (Markandya, 1998) and economic (Asante and Asenso-Okyere, 2003) conditions of the populations. Finally, the net benefits component looks at the yields accruing from the various strategies employed in the control and prevention of malaria in the municipality. Figure 2 shows the edited graphical representation of the Malaria Decision Analysis Support Tool (MDAST) for this study. 3.1 Source of the data In order to achieve the stated objectives, the search for data employed various sources ranging from primary (questionnaires and in-depth interviews - carried out in Hohoe, Lolobi Ashiambi, Akpafu Mempasem, and Fodome Amle) to secondary sources (books, journals, newspapers, and internet publications containing information on the disease as well as data from various health centres and the Health Directorate in the municipality).

Figure 2: Edited version of Malaria Decision Analysis Support Tool (MDAST) Source: Kramer et al., 2004, p.136

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3.2 Sample framework The targeted group is homogenous in terms of occupation and gender. Stratified Sampling (Cochran, 2007) was found to be the most appropriate technique in which the study area was divided into zones of four (A, B, C, and D). One leading town in each zone was selected, and the questionnaires were given out in it. These towns are Hohoe, Lolobi Ashiambi, Akpafu Mempasem, and Fodome Amle corresponding to 40, 20, 15, and 15 questionnaires, respectively. In each of these towns, the Simple Random Sampling Technique was used to acquire information about the disease in the municipality. Two indepth interviews were also conducted by the researcher; Madam Henrietta Soglo of the Lolobi Kumasi Health Centre and Mr. George Ogbe (a retired teacher) gave much verity of the pandemic. 3.3 Data analysis and presentation Version 12.0 of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software was mainly used for the analysis and presentation of the data gathered even though some of the trend presentations were done by the use of the Microsoft Excel 2003 application. The descriptive techniques presented provided rules for combining variables in an optimal way to create the required pictures including tables, proportions, and graphs. 3.4 Data limitations Limitations were manifested in various ways during the research. The first limitation was the high cost associated with the production of questionnaires and transportations of the data collection period. This contributed to the relatively small size of the sampled population which might render the findings insufficient for generalizations about the municipality. Secondly, general apathy was also encountered among the respondents even as they showed some amount of readiness to co-operate. They claimed that nothing had been done about their health problems despite their relentless efforts in helping complete similar research in the past. In this regard, I intend getting the various health centres in


the municipality a copy of this publication for them to see that their concerns had been duly captured and publicised. Aside these challenges and the demanding, laborious, and time-consuming nature of data collection, the concomitant problems of technology could not be overemphasized. Loss of information on storage devices (faulty or virus-attacked pen drives, crashing of hard disk), unconsciously deleting typed and other information on the computer were experienced. In spite of these limitations, the data collected as well as all information gathered are reliable - the stability of a measurement over time (Miller and Kirk, 1986) and an analytical source of reference of the malaria endemic in the municipality. 3.5 Demographic characteristics of respondents Gender and age distribution of respondents Out of the 90 respondents, 48.84% were males and 51.16% were females. In terms of age distribution, four main groups were outlined as follows: below 20 years (11.63%), 20 – 49 years (72.09%), 50 – 60 (11.63%) years, and above 60 years (4.65%). Level of education and range of monthly income of respondents Out of the 4.5% of the respondents being JSS/Middle school graduates, 50% each fell between the ranges of below GH¢ 50 and above GH¢ 200, respectively. Those who completed Senior Secondary School (SSS) constituted to 43.2% of the respondents among which 13.33% have their monthly income ranging below GH¢ 50 and 86.67% had theirs being between GH¢ 50 – 100. The 20.5% Technical / Commercial / Vocational graduates had 11.11% each of the ranges of below GH¢ 50, GH¢ 50 – 100, and GH¢ 100 – 200, whilst the remaining 66.67% fell above GH¢ 200. In regards to Tertiary leavers comprising of Teacher Training Colleges, Polytechnics, and Universitiy graduates, 14.29% enjoyed below GH¢ 50, 28.57% between GH¢ 50 – 100, 21.43% between GH¢ 100 – 200, and 35.71% above GH¢ 200 as shown in Figure 3. Corresponding to marital status, the research revealed that among the 90 respondents, 54.5% were single, 40.9% were married, and 2.3% were divorced or widowed.

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana

Figure 3: Level of education and range of income of respondents Source: Author’s own, 2008

3.6 General knowledge of malaria in the municipality Causes of malaria Aside the universal acuity of mosquitoes (fm. Anopheles) being the main contagion agents of malaria, the questionnaire sought to identify whether witchcraft, type

Figure 4: Rates of malaria occurrence among respondents Source: Author’s own, 2008

of drinking water, and destiny had various roles to play in the parasite’s transmission. A total of 8.5% thought it occurs through the type of drinking water, 2% blamed it on witchcraft, and the remaining 91.5% saw mosquitoes to be the sole distributor of the malaria parasite. Occurrence of malaria In Figure 4, 4.7% of the respondents are recurrent sufferers from malaria, 7.0% are often infected, and the majority at 81.4% saw theirs to be less frequent while the remaining 7.0% were totally unaware of their infection status. Most affected group As to which particular group of people the disease affects most, 75.0 % of the respondents said children were mostly affected. Marsh (2002) agrees to this assertion that the most affected category of people is children in sub-Saharan Africa. This corroborates the first hypothesis which is malaria is the cause of most infant mortality in the Hohoe municipality. Some of the reasons for this are: • They play with dirty and chocked gutters which most often house these mosquitoes and hence they get bitten. • Lack of personal hygiene or proper care - parents fail to protect or educate their children on personal hygiene. • Children undisputedly have low immunity to the disease therefore coupled with the lack of insecticide-treated

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bed nets become paramount preys. â&#x20AC;˘ Some of the respondents were of the view that insufficient breast feeding could also lead to easy infection of the pandemic on the part of children. This is because they claim breast milk provides some form of immunity to malaria infection (not scientifically tested). Malaria compared to other diseases Data gathered from the Hohoe Health Directorate shows that in 2006, among the eight top diseases by age reported at the various health centres in the municipality, malaria alone had an overwhelming 27,622 cases which constitute about 65.5% of the total reported cases to all the health facilities in the Hohoe Municipality illustrated in the table. Among the other things the respondents knew about malaria were: It is without a doubt a non-contagious but very serious killer disease in the tropics. It leads to several happenings such as barrenness in women, premature or stillbirths in pregnant women, convulsions among children, as well as the ultimate death of victims. In the municipality, the pandemic is so pronounced in the rainy months like April, June, July, and October as stated in the background of the study area. This is due to the fact that there is a lot of water collected in used tins, gutters, and any of such opened surfaces which is a fertile ground (Kramer et al., 2004) for the breeding of mosquitoes compared to the relatively drier months like December, January, and February when humidity is low. Data collected from the Hohoe Government Hospital shows June, October, April, and September having the most reported cases of the disease which are the main rainy months in 2007. This means that there is a significant amount of link between the type of month and that of malaria infection. Figure 5 depicts this.

disease (Asante and Asenso-Okyere, 2003). The inhabitants are mostly farmers and traders, with a small part of them being government workers in diverse fields. Good health is needed to bring money home and since the disease makes one weak and mal-functional, logically, this will limit productivity in farming and trading, which will have a negative effect on income. Beside these economic activities, it is also evident that malaria affects the social, maternal/paternal, and religious responsibilities of the people in the municipality. ResponTable 1: Top eight diseases by age reported at the various health centres in the municipality in 2007 Data source: Hohoe Municipal Health Directorate, 2008 Source: Authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own

ding to the effects of malaria on the three responsibilities mentioned above, 67.3% said it affected their social responsibilities, the effect on maternal/paternal responsibilities was felt by 20% of them, whilst 12.7% were religiously affected by the disease. Contrary to the second hypothesis that malaria is the main cause of underdevelopment in the municipality, about 66.7% of the respondents did not see the disease as the main cause of underdevelopment even as it is significantly affecting the municipality in a catastrophic way. Control mechanisms in use The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has not just come to be a panacea to most of the health prob-

3.7 Effects of malaria and its control mechanisms Effects of malaria The effects of malaria within the municipality are as follows: It contributed to most of the mortality rates (as shown in Table 2: 103 deaths in 2004, 60 deaths in 2005, and 92 in 2006), barrenness, stillbirths or premature deliveries, convulsions among children, and in some cases deformation of the body. Nonetheless, the economic activities of the people are not spared either by this precarious


Figure 5: Reported malaria cases of 2007 in the municipality Data source: Hohoe Government Hospital, 2008 Source: Authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana

Table 2: Three-year trend of five leading causes of death in the Hohoe Municipality Data source: District Health Directorate Hohoe, 2008 Source: Author’s own

lems but also as a personal remedy to malaria treatment. Malaria drugs such as artesunate armodaequin, malaquit, malafan, and several others are now given to patients for free if they are registered members. Besides, a number of the discussions and conversations the researcher overheard indicate that some patients also use prophylactics. Most of the respondents (71.1%) visit the hospital/clinics (the Hohoe Government Hospital, Lolobi Kumasi Health Centre and others), about 26.7% of them only go to a drug store (Cel Chemist for instance) and purchase whichever drug perceived to be a malaria therapy. However, about 2.2% seek refuge from various herbalists in the area when they get infected with malaria. Deciding on which of the options are the best and most effective, the majority (76% of the respondents) chose hospitals/clinics. Malaria treatment costs in between 2.00 and 20.00 GH¢, which is seen as affordable by 70% of the male respondents, but 30% of the men (and counterparts) disagree, which Figure 6 elaborates. Suggested malaria preventive mechanisms Some of the preventive mechanisms through which this disease can be eradicated in the municipality suggested in both the questionnaires and in-depth interviews are:

• killing mosquitoes by using mosquito insecticide sprays. • embarking on good sanitary habits like spraying and de-clogging all gutters, proper disposal of canned waste products. • cultivating the habit of sleeping under treated insecticide bed nets especially when children are involved. • the introduction of periodic immunization against the propagation of the malaria parasite in the human body. • From the in-depth interviews the researcher conducted, it is noticed that the over emphasis on the HIV/AIDS threat overshadowed all attentions and deliberations on the disease and thus needs a reconsidering. Quite cleverly, Mr. George Ogbe suggested that since malaria is transmitted from one person to another by mosquitoes, an intensive research should be conducted into how the parasite could be destroyed in the human body. He added, “If there is no parasite to be carried by any loose mosquito, no malaria would be experienced!” Most research, however, had tested and continued to test this particular logic, but to their disappointment, the results show that the parasite could still not be eradicated but only treated for some time just for it to resurface again. • “Isolation” to Mr Ogbe is therefore the only magic tool for the desired upshot in this case. Just as an ovum is naturally separated from other sperm after fertilization, the human body’s blood cells should also be artificially manipulated in such a way that they cannot in any way be affected by the malaria parasite. This sounds simple and plausible, but would human ingenuity be able to accomplish it? There has not yet been much consensus about this, however, research is yet to be done on this topic.

4. Conclusion 4.1 Definition of malaria

Figure 6: Affordability of malaria treatment by gender Source: Author’s own

Malaria is a potentially fatal tropical disease that is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium and spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. The symptoms of malaria infection are similar to the symptoms of influenza: tiredness, diarrhoea, or a whole range of other symptoms. Malaria should always be suspected if these symptoms occur. Malaria can be deadly.

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4.2 Causal factors The malaria parasite from the empirical evidence are caused by drinking water, witchcraft and mosquitoes. Malignant malaria can kill, but the other forms are much less likely to prove fatal. 4.3 Recommendations It is obvious that the prevention of malaria is merely a question of avoiding mosquito bites. In the view of the undesirable effects associated with malaria, the various recommendations below are crucial in curbing the malaria bane in the Hohoe Municipality in particular and the entire globe as a whole. First and foremost, there should be appropriate education mounted at the grassroots level to inform people as to the many preventive measures available to reduce affliction and increase productivity locally and nationally. For instance, education based on ensuring a clean environment devoid of chocked gutters, collection of cans and tins which store water that serve as breeding places of mosquitoes. Secondly, malaria control policies such as the use of Insecticide Treated bed Nets (ITNs) should be made available and affordable to everyone. There is an on-going policy that provides pregnant women and nursing mothers who attend either ante-natal or post-natal health checks especially in the study area with these nets. This particular policy, for example, is a step in the right direction and must be sustained. Thirdly, unlike AIDS in which a victim may abstain from certain behaviours, mosquitoes on the other hand, bite whoever they come across. Hence, malaria is very difficult to avoid individually. Therefore, most of the funding going into the control of AIDS should rather be redirected to that of malaria in my opinion. More money should be given to research into malaria drugs and other preventive mechanisms both in the physical and social sciences. When the former American president Mr. George Bush visited Ghana in 2008, he announced a 17 million dollar package to fight malaria that year. This "Bush Initiative" is hoped to provide the necessary logistics and materials, such as bed nets, in fighting malaria. This is a good example of such aids which when used adequately would


in no mean way help curb the incidence of malaria in our environments. Finally, opinion leaders such as Assemblymen, church leaders, and other social groups could organize clean-ups regularly to improve on sanitation and drainage systems in the communities. This strategy would also provide aid in curbing malaria. References Asante, F. A. and Asenso-Okyere, K., 2003. Economic burden of malaria in Ghana. World Health Organization (WHO), pp.1-81. Balentine, J. R., 2008. What is malaria?, Medicinene, [online] Available at: < htm#what_is_malaria> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. Boyd, M. F., 1949. Malariology. A comprehensive Survey of all Aspects of this Group of Diseases from a global Standpoint, n.l.: Saunders. Bray, R. S. & Garnham, P. C. C., 1982. The life-cycle of primate malaria parasites. British medical bulletin, 38(2), pp.117-122. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016. Malaria: Biology, [online] Available at: < about/biology/index.html> [Accessed 17 December 2017]. Cochran, W. G., 2007. Sampling techniques. John Wiley & Sons. Col, J., 1996. Mosquito, [online]. Available at: <http://www.> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. Dzator, J. and Asafu-Adjaye, J., 2004. A study of malaria care provider choice in Ghana. Health Policy, 69(3), pp.389-401. GHS, 2006. Effects of malaria in Ghana. The Daily Dispatch. Accra. Gubler, D. J., 1998. Resurgent vector-borne diseases as a global health problem. Emerging infectious diseases, 4, pp.442-450. Healthwise Staff, 2007. What Are the Symptoms of Malaria? Emedicinehealth, [online] Available at: <https://www.emedicinehealth. com/malaria-health/page3.htm#Symptoms> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. Heggenhougen, H., Hackethal, V., Vivek, P. & Espielman, A., 2003. The Behavioural and Social Aspects of Malaria and its Control UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva: World Health Organisation. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Stedmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Medical Dictionary. n.p.: Houghton Mifflin Company, [online] Available at: <http://> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. Jones, K. E., Patel, N. G., Levy, M. A., Storeygard, A., Balk, D., Gittleman, J. L. and Daszak, P., 2008. Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Nature, 451(7181), pp.990-993. Kager, P., 2002. Malaria control: constraints and opportunities. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 7, pp.1042-1046.

A Study of Malaria Prevalence in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region, Ghana

Kramer, R. A., Dickinson, K. L., Anderson, R. M., Fowler, V. G., Miranda, M. L., Mutero, C. M., Saterson, K. A. & Wiener, J. B., 2004. Using decision analysis to improve malaria control policy making. Health policy, 92, pp.133-140. Loeb, S., 1993. Tropical Diseases, London: Springhouse Corporation. Markandya, A., 1998. The valuation of health impacts in developing countries. Planejamento e Políticas Públicas,18, pp.119-155. Marsh, K., 2002. Malaria and the human body, part 1: Danger cycle, Wellcome, [online] Available at: <http://malaria.wellcome.> [Accessed 11 June 2007]. Miller, M. L. & Kirk, J., 1986. Reliability and validity in qualitative research, Sage. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, 2004. Volta, Hohoe Municipal Demographic Characteristics, [online] Available at: < aspx?s=718&distID=179> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. Nchinda, T. C., 1998. Malaria: a reemerging disease in Africa. Emerging infectious diseases, 4, pp.398-403. Oduro, A. R., Koram, K. A., Rogers, W., Atuguba, F., Ansah, P., Anyorigiya, T., Ansah, A., Anto, F., Mensah, N. & Hodgson, A., 2007. Severe falciparum malaria in young children of the KassenaNankana district of northern Ghana. Malaria journal, 6, pp.96102. Prudêncio, M., Rodrigues, A. & Mota, M. M., 2006. The silent path to thousands of merozoites: the Plasmodium liver stage. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 4(11), pp.849-856. Sachs, J. & Malaney, P., 2002. The economic and social burden of malaria. Nature, 415, pp.680-685. Wernsdorfer, W. H. & Kreier, J., 1980. The importance of malaria in the world. Malaria, Volume 1. Epidemiology, chemotherapy, morphology, and metabolism, pp.1-93. WGBH, 2005. Deadly Diseases: Malaria, PBS, [online]: Available at: < malaria.html> [Accessed 9 October 2017]. WHO, 1999. The world health report 1999: making a difference, World Health Organization. Wiener, J. B. & Graham, J. D. Eds.,1995. Risk vs. risk: Tradeoffs in protecting health and the environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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An Introduction to Lidar Processing and Analysing Lidar Data in ArcGIS The North and Baltic Regional Congress 2015 was held in Tuusula near Helsinki in Finland. Inspired by its surroundings, the topic of the congress was “Forests as a lifeline in Northern Europe – challenges and perspectives”. During the event, one workshop approached this subject from a GIS perspective. Janne Saarikko, who works for Esri Finland, gave an introduction to the use of Lidar data and possible problems that can be solved with it. After talking about the most important terms, we learned how to manage Lidar data in ArcMap and how to create new information from it. We covered its fields of application and used our newly acquired knowledge to calculate the canopy heights and density of a forest. remote sensing, GIS, Lidar, LAS dataset, point cloud, digital models

1. What is Lidar? To be able to work with the data, it is necessary to introduce some theory and explain the key concepts up front. Lidar, also spelt LIDAR or LiDAR, means Light Detection and Ranging and is “an optical remote-sensing technique that uses laser light to densely sample the surface of the earth, producing highly accurate x,y,z measurements” (Esri, 2013c). The output is a so-called cloud of millions of points where each point has certain characteristics like intensity or a GPS timestamp in addition to the coordinates. The points can be classified and viewed in 2D or 3D with ArcGIS. To collect the needed data, a Lidar remote sensing system is used (see Figure 1). This can be a data collection platform such as a plane, helicopter, car, or a tripod equipped with a scanner system, GPS as well as an Internal Navigation System (INS) that measures the position of the scanner inside the vehicle. The scanner transmits laser beams to scan the target and measures the time they need to return in order to calculate the distance. The laser is reflected not only by ground but by various other surfaces, such as vegetation, buildings or bridges. It is also possible that the signal is split and returned several times e.g. by different tree branches. However, water is an exception. In most of the cases, no signal returns from the surface of water, and lakes are often areas with no points. All this data is post-processed for the use in ArcGIS.


An Introduction to Lidar

Sophia Paul (EGEA Innsbruck)

Figure 1: Example of an airborne Lidar. The airplane emits a laser beam (green arrow behind the red one) which is reflected by the ground and returned to the plane (red arrow). The GPS satellite (actually, many more are used) is needed to add x, y and z values to the measured point. Source: Esri, 2013c

2. Working with Lidar If you receive Lidar data, it will be in “.las” format but to use it in ArcMap, it first needs to be converted into a LAS Dataset (“.lasd”). This can be done with the help of

the tool Create LAS Dataset and must be saved outside a geodatabase. When viewed in ArcMap, the screen might merely show red rectangles instead of points because there are too many dots to be calculated and displayed. The points will be visible only at a larger scale. Most options used to display and manage the files can be found in the LAS Dataset toolbar (Figure 2). To further create data from the LAS files, some useful tools in the toolbox are LAS Dataset to Raster Converter, Surface Contour, Viewshed (3D Analysis) and LAS Statistics.

Figure 3: How to change the Class Code in Profile View. Selected points can manually be assigned to a new class. Source: Esri, 2013a

2.2 Creating new data from LAS

Figure 2: The LAS Dataset toolbar provides utensils for working with Lidar data. Source: Esri, 2013b

2.1 Managing the point cloud Handling millions of points might seem like a big task to someone who has never worked with point clouds before, but luckily it is easier than one might think. Using the LAS Dataset toolbar, the points can be viewed in different ways. Filters offer the possibility to exclude surface or non-surface points, Point Symbology Renderers change the colouring of the points and with Surface Symbology Renderers, the surface can be viewed as TIN (Triangular Irregular Network) or contours, both on the fly without creating new files. For a quick peek at how the area looks in 3D, the LAS Dataset 3D View opens a small window that resembles a simple version of ArcScene and allows rotating and zooming. Classes are usually standardised and calculated with algorithms, but those calculations happen to miss parts of the cloud or misinterpret some areas. To fix this, the Profile View is needed (Figure 3). Here, a profile for a certain area can be displayed in an extra window. If the points are set to “Class” as point symbology, the class can be changed. After selecting the points that should be changed, the dialog box Change Class Code is used to assign them a new class. One should bear in mind that these changes are permanent.

There are several ways to generate information from LAS data. One is to create digital models. Depending on whether only the ground points or all of them are used, a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), a Terrain Model (DTM) or a Digital Surface Model (DSM) can be created and further used. The feature of intensity that is also saved in every point gives a value to the “return strength of the laser pulse that generated the Lidar point” (Esri, 2013c). From this information, an intensity raster can be calculated that resembles a black and white aerial photo in which water, forests and buildings can easily be distinguished. However, noinformation is provided about the height of those features. For uneven or mountainous areas, contours might be helpful.The contour line is drawn as a vector in fixed distances that can be chosen. A Viewshed Analysis can be used to identify cells of your raster which can be seen from another cell and vice versa. This analysis, which needs a DMS as input, is used for analysing the visibility of and view from high buildings, mountains and antennas. There are several other tools available to work with Lidar data, for instance to calculate statistics.

3. Lidar in Practice Put into practice, there are very diverse ways to use point clouds. They can be used to make topographic maps, 3D models of buildings or other objects, forest inventories, or 3D analyses. Cities use it to monitor spatial development, for mapping floodplains, and calculating solar potentials. Other research areas using laser data are hydrology, geology, and geomorphology. In the workshop, an exemplified workflow was perfor-

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med on the topic of estimating forest canopy density and height. This data can be used for several environmental applications such as biomass estimation, vegetation coverage, and biodiversity determination. Canopy density or cover describes the ratio of vegetation to ground and canopy height is the height difference between the top of the canopy and the ground (Esri, 2015). We used open data of the area where the congress was held, which was downloaded from the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS, 2016). For the calculation of the canopy density, the study area must be divided into raster cells. A point count is performed for every cell with LAS Point Statistics as Raster. NoData cells need to be set to zero to avoid problems with further calculations (Is Null for setting them to 1 and Con for updating the original raster; for more details see Esri, 2015). Those steps are done with the ground and above ground multipoints. The function Plus adds up the two results to get the total count for every cell. Before dividing in the next operation, the raster needs to be converted from long integer to floating point data type with Float. After this change, the division (Divide) of the aboveground count raster and the floatingpoint total count raster will give a result between 0.0 and 1.0, meaning no canopy to very dense canopy. In order to calculate the canopy height, the Digital Elevation Model is subtracted from the Digital Surface Model of the area (LAS Dataset to Raster, Minus). The result is a raster with values of height above the ground in metres (Esri, 2015). Note that unrealistic results in both calculations are most probably caused by wrongly classified points and outliers.

4. Conclusion During the Lidar workshop held at the NBRC 2015 by Janne Saarikko, we learned the basics of working with point clouds. How does the data collection work? How can the points be processed in ArcGIS? What additional data can be generated from them? Which disciplines use this technology and what can an application look like? Point clouds provide the basis for many different calculations and applications. GIS programs give us the tools to work with them without even noticing the huge amount of data we are processing. Lidar data will keep playing an important role in remote sensing and help geographers


An Introduction to Lidar

and other scientists solve problems. Possible research areas that can use Lidar are diverse and being proficient in the method would be beneficial. References Esri, 2013a. ArcGIS Help 10.1 – Editing LAS point classification, [online] Available at: < main/10.1/index.html#/Editing_LAS_point_classification_ codes/015w00000060000000/> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. Esri, 2013b. ArcGIS Help 10.1 – The interactive LAS Dataset toolbar, [online] Available at: < help/main/10.1/index.html#//015w00000053000000> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. Esri, 2013c. ArcGIS Help 10.1 – What is Lidar data?, [online] Available at: < index.html#/What_is_Lidar/015w00000041000000/> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. Esri, 2015. Estimating Forest Canopy and Height, [online] Available at: < manage-data/las-dataset/Lidar-solutions-estimating-forestdensity-and-height.htm> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. National Land Survey of Finland (NLS), 2016. File service of open data, [online] Available at: https://tiedostopalvelu. [Accessed 1 August 2016].

Further Reading Esri, 2012. Training: Working with Lidar Data in ArcGIS 10.1, [online] Available at: < cfm?fa=catalog.webcoursedetail&courseid=2497> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. (free 60 minutes training seminar that gives an introduction to Lidar data for mapping and analysis) Esri, 2013. ArcGIS Help 10.1 – What is a LAS dataset?, [online] Available at: < index.html#/What_is_a_LAS_dataset/015w00000057000000/> [Accessed 20 June 2015]. (ArcGIS Help section covering LAS and Lidar)

Pakistan, the New Paradise for Geographers? In April 2013, I visited Pakistan for a month to do voluntary work, visit friends, and explore Pakistan. One of my most memorable stories was my journey to Hunza which is a paradise for people interested in landscapes, landslides, and culture. Wendy Wuyts (EGEA Leuven)

1. A Tourist in Pakistan Pakistan is not really the first holiday destination that would pop up in your mind. My friends and family were also not really keen on me traveling to “the most dangerous country in the world, which is not really womanfriendly”, but that did not stop me. I had friends in Lahore, had already visited some countries, and wanted to explore something “new”; a country which you do not see so often in (western) media and on Facebook. In April 2013, I worked on a biodynamic farm close to Lahore in Pakistan and also went couch surfing in this city and Islamabad. Some of my hosts invited me to join a road trip to Hunza, a northern province in the Himalayas, famous for its mountainous sceneries, rich culture, and cherry blossoms.

2. The Highest Road in the World You can reach Hunza only over land by the Karakoram Highway (KKH), the highest paved international road in the world connecting China with Pakistan. The construction of this road started in 1959 and it took twenty years before it was finished. Many people died during this time. The “highway” needs a lot of maintenance because it is subject to landslides and earthquakes, full of geography school book examples, and it is more of a bumpy mountain road than what we would call a highway. Along the way there are many stations with Chinese engineers because there is always some work for them to do. “The road to success”, I read somewhere on a rock, “is always under construction.” Another interesting aspect of the KKH is that it traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road. My travel companions often pointed to scary looking paths on the

Figure 1: The road to success is always under construction. Source: Author‘s own

other side of the valley or to carvings in the rocks, which were remainders of this ancient trade road. When my friends and I took the car, we went through Abbottabad, the city where the Americans found Osama Bin Laden, and from there we went into the mountains. The first part of the KKH was in the dark and I fell asleep, but then I woke up and noticed that we had stopped the journey. A landslide had blocked the whole way and we were parked among many colorful trucks and cars.

Figure 2: The landslide blocked the Karakoream Highway. These people will have to wait until the Chinese engineers have cleared the landslide. Source: Author‘s own

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of the FWO (Frontier Works Organisation) tried to clear the road. FWO employs the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers, but everybody talked more about “the Chinese engineers” who will solve the problems. They told us it would take two days before the road would be cleared. I then heard an explosion. The Chinese engineers had started to use dynamite to clear the road. All the people in the trucks started to make their camps. There was nothing to do, except waiting. We had the choice to return, to stay, or to find a way over the landslide. In the meantime, local men took a bed out of the house for me, so I could sit there and relax. I was surprised that they realised that I was a white woman, since I was packed under a dark black blanket, since we were in a conservative area. As dawn was breaking, one of my hosts stood before a true Pakistani truck on its way to China. Pakistan has

Figure 4: Other people cross the landslide. Seeing the babies and grandmothers climb the steep imaginary paths convinces me to also make the cross over. Source: Author‘s own

to get to the other side. Also people from the other road arrived over the rocks. My new friends and I also decided to cross. I was really scared. It was very steep and the soil was not always rocky, but loose sand. I would not have done it unless I had not seen grandmothers doing it. I heard later that not everybody was used to it and before I had started climbing this slope packed in long scarves to cover myself, that local people had strongly warned my friends, saying that I should not do it since I was not used to climbing in this region. After this adventurous hike we took the bus to Gilgit, which is close to the junction of 3 mountain ranges, the Kurrakuram, Hindukush, and Himalayas. There we could borrow a car of someone else to drive to Hunza and the Attabad Lake. The lake was formed by a massive landslide in 2010. Many buildings were flooded. The only way we could continue our travel to China was by a colorful boat.

Figure 3: The trucks in South-Asia are often augmented to have even more space for the famous regional truck art. Source: Author‘s own

this tradition of decorating trucks and buses. It is seen as moving art and the trucks are very different from other trucks around the world. In the meantime, I witnessed how grandmothers and families with babies started to climb the steep rocks to cross the landslide, while it was being bombed with dynamite,


Pakistan, the New Paradise for Geographers?

Figure 5: This engineer takes a break. You see the debris of a big landslide that resulted in a big lake and also put a part of the road underwater. Now they are building a tunnel, but as the highway is often struck by landslides, the engineers always have work to do. Source: Author‘s own

Figure 6: Now the trucks and other vechicles have to take a boat to continue their passage to China. Source: Author‘s own

3. Culture in Hunza Hunza is famous for their cherry blossoms in the spring. In fact, I saw dozens of buses full of Japanese people admiring the pink and white oceans of blossoms, together with the high peaks of the Himalayas, of which some are higher than 8000 meters. There are hostels, souvenir shops, and other touristic infrastructures in this very remote area of the world.

Figure 8: When you travel, especially in more conservative areas, I feel it is appropriate to wear local dresses. Being surrounded by the Pakistani Himalaya, I reflect upon the freedom of travelling outside your comfort zone. Source: Author‘s own

4. Pakistan, the New Paradise for Geographers? Pakistan really surprised me in a very positive way. I only knew some stereotypes, which survived the western media filter, but what I saw there were very hospitable and friendly people, very curious about my culture, stories and opinions, full of respect and very helpful. The architecture and nature were astonishing. Although some people stared at me (a young white female traveler is not really a daily sight), I never felt uncomfortable. Of course Pakistan also has some bad sides and there are a lot of terrorist attacks and war. It is a paradoxical country, or a country like its famous neighbour India. Still, I hope more and more people will consider some parts of Pakistan as their next holiday destination.

Figure 7: Two Pakistani friends and I used this car to explore Hunza‘s cherry blossoms and villages. Source: Author‘s own

My friend "Pinky" and I are relaxing in the Himalayas after a small hike and climb. I am wearing the traditional clothing of Hunza and Gilgit, which would not insult local people there. In some regions I would cover myself more, while in Islamabad and Lahore I could wear long pants with a T-shirt with long sleeves and sometimes a dupetta, which is Urdu for long scarf, often worn by SouthAsian women.

Figure 9: Spring in Pakistan. Source: Author‘s own

European Geographer 15 | 11/2018


EGEA Congress Fever The ultimate EGEA adventure: Attending all four Reginal Congresses in one year. Wendy Wuyts (EGEA Leuven) met with Lukas Bösl (EGEA Munich) at the North and Baltic Regional Congress 2015 on the last day of his adventure to talk to him more about his experience. Interview conducted by Wendy Wuyts (EGEA Leuven) Write up by Colette Caruana (EGEA Malta)

The first thing that Wendy found out was that in fact Lukas had not been to any EGEA congresses before the first regional congress of 2015 – The Western Regional Congress (WRC) organised by EGEA Marburg. The second one was the EuroMed Regional Congress (EMRC) in Bosnia, followed by the Eastern Regional Congress (ERC) in Poland and finally the North and Baltic Regional Congress (NBRC) in Finland. All of his congress experiences were from March to May 2015 - practically four congresses over a span of six weeks!

Figure 1: In between the sessions Source: The official EGEA smugmug page, 2015


EGEA Congress Fever

As someone who had attended all of these different events in very diverse parts of Europe in such a short amount of time, Lukas was ideally placed to compare them to one another. Wendy asked him to give his views on the kind of intercultural experiences people have at congresses and to reflect on the special aspects of the four regions and whether these are echoed in the congress organisation. “Maybe we can start with saying that all congresses have many things in common”, was Lukas’ first remark. He explained how all of the congresses have more or less the

Figure 2: Participants of the pre-event Source: Sophia Paul, 2015

same time schedule or frame; they all last for four or five days and are similarly structured. For example: they all have workshops you can choose from and there was always one day for excursions. No matter which congress it was, these were the common features. “And also there are some EGEA traditions that happen at every congress”, he said with a smile, “some EGEA dances and the Cultural Fair, and also Schnappi being present at each congress.” Yet even within such similarities he could see some differences. One thing he highlighted was that in the Cultural Fair he was used to the German table being huge because there were usually many Germans present. As a result he was used to bringing just few items for the table because with so many people, if everyone brought something there was always enough. The NBRC, however, was different because it was a small congress and there were only about six people from Germany. Shockingly he admitted that “the German table was actually one of the least prepared ones” that time. He felt that this showed that there is a difference in the people participating in each congress. At the WRC a lot of people from the Netherlands and Germany were present but this was less so at the other regional congresses. He noted that the regional culture came across in the Cultural Fair as well with more homemade food and drinks at the ERC and EMRC, while there was a lot more beer at the WRC. Wendy then asked him to think about some other points from the programme, specifically about the scientific programme: “You mentioned that you had a workshop at every congress. What were the differences you saw in the workshops at each congress?”

“I think that might be one of the biggest differences of the congresses I experienced so far”, Lukas replied. “They all had scientific input for sure”, he assured, but explained that the approach was different. The WRC had a big emphasis on the scientific input as the organisers went to great lengths to ensure that this was the case (to the extent that the participants even continued to work during the lunch break because they were so excited about their topic), while at the EMRC and ERC the workshop leaders took a more relaxed approach and wanted to ensure that learning was done in a relaxed and open manner. He also commented that the workshop strongly depended on the persons leading it and the approach that the organisers took. Wendy and Lukas then reflected a bit on the usual regional stereotyping: that WRCs are always more scientific than EMRCs and ERCs, and NBRCs are in between. Wendy asked, “Maybe we’re enforcing the stereotype of self-fulfilling prophesies?” Lukas explained that he thinks that it comes down to the organising entity. Marburg was probably the largest Western entity at the time with many very experienced members in the OrgaTeam, while Banja Luka was relatively new and only one of the organisers had ever been to a congress before they organised it. He

Figure 3: "The New Raptors" Source: Sophia Paul, 2015

felt that every OrgaTeam wanted to make their congress the best one ever, but they took different approaches and emphasised different points. To focus a little bit on the NBRC, Lukas explained that he really liked how it was a small congress with only around 50 people and that the idea of bonding was really strong. He explained that he normally feels that at some point at a congress all participants start to divide into subgroups but

European Geographer 15 | 11/2018


that at the NBRC it was really nice how most of the participants stuck together. He gave the example of the sauna session which all participants had the chance to experience the day before the interview took place – it really brought everyone together to socialize. Wendy added that she felt that the NBRC had a nice mixture: The scientific level is good and as a workshop leader she also felt respected by the participants. There was also a lot of space for bonding and most interestingly, she didn’t feel tired (which she normally does at congresses as there are so many things to do). Wendy and Lukas then went on to discuss the best things about each congress Lukas had been to – things that were unique. He explained how at every congress the things which he really remembers the most were actually not part of the formal scientific program. “What I really liked about the WRC was the daily evaluation group. It was a really, really neat idea to bring people back together in small groups every day and just reflect on the day.” He also liked the German fairy tale evening as he thinks they put a lot of effort into randomizing the participants because it was a very big regional congress with 110 participants. At the EMRC what really struck him was that “this was the one where they put the most effort into tradition because traditions are really, really important in this region.” For example, they did not only perform folk dances but they also offered a workshop for the participants to learn them, giving them meaning by explaining why they are important for them. He really liked the “Slava” and how one of the organisers was explaining what it was all about, the customs, saying prayer. “You got the impression like you can actually get a bit in touch with the old traditions of the area… that they’re still preserved.” He also mentioned that it seemed very important for the OrgaTeam to be good hosts and try to include people and to introduce the area and the culture to the visitors. They continued to discuss the different cultures of the organisers that came across at the different congresses. At the ERC he recalled how towards the beginning one of the organisers said “Ok, this is a congress. We know the most important thing is not about the scientific input. It’s about being social, it’s about being, about partying, about food and about everything.” Two things he liked were that they organised Roman games on the first night and got people involved in that, and the Polish evening which they really put a lot of effort into. They invited a musician family


EGEA Congress Fever

Figure 3: Evaluation group "The Strawberries" Source: Vartan Epremian, 2015

to play Polish music and the food was excellent. So once again he could say that the ERC was one of the congresses where he experienced current traditions and customs. His main experience of culture at the NBRC was the “Sitsit” which is a student’s tradition and which he felt was one of the memorable things at this congress. Everyone sits at long tables and you sing and you eat and drink all night long. There are a number of rules and somebody leading the Sitsit. One of the rules is that at any time during the evening people could announce a new song, and all the participants would join in and sing it together. It was very well planned and it encouraged this feeling of community he felt throughout the congress. Wendy and Lukas also briefly discussed the EGEA green committee. At the time it was just starting out as a project to certify congresses as “green congresses”. He thought that there was more of an emphasis on this aspect at the WRC and NBRC and to a lesser extent also at the ERC. He saw some big efforts and even announcements about what was being done at these congresses. He explained that you could draw comparisons, for example by noticing that one thing was more at one event or that one thing was less at another event, but that you must also keep in mind the different situations: every OrgaTeam had a different starting level in terms of experience, financial support and people power, but he also emphasised that “at each congress I had the feeling they wanted to have the best congress ever and put a lot of effort into it. And this is one thing that counts for all four congresses.” Talking about his self-development, Lukas thought that joining a congress was very good for him because he got to know so many people and learnt a lot during all events. Travelling to different regions made him face things that

were very different to how they would be in his home and he felt that at every single congress he could learn something new. He explained that in your normal environment you always stick with the same friends and do the same things but that you really learn the most when you are in a new environment or situation. “If you go out and get new experiences, maybe go to a different region than your own, it’ll help you a lot for self-improvement.” It might even be a bit difficult or scary to take the first step to register for a congress and you may not know what to expect, but if you do this step you’ll learn a lot about social skills, about different places and cultures and different perspectives to things. He summed it up perfectly by saying: “I learnt a lot about geography”. Lukas went on to explain that, in spite of already having been a member of EGEA for around a year and a half, it took him some time to start attending events and that he felt that he may have left it a bit late, being 25 at the time of the interview. He had been active in Munich before and participated in a few exchanges “but I think that it was only by going to congresses that I really got the full picture of what EGEA is all about.” Congresses to him are simply a density of different nationalities, of different personalities and people which makes it a unique experience. “You just have to be open minded, go and talk to people and then you are easily part of the group. Even if you are not the most talkative person it is still quite easy to join the community.” He explained that when you talk to older EGEAns they often use the word “family” to describe EGEA. It’s a big thing to be part of a family but he thinks that “it’s true. This community gives you so much and it’s so welcoming and everybody is ready to help and you just easily get along. So the term “EGEA family’ is justified.” Time was running out so Wendy asked for one last message before they went to participate in another EGEA Congress tradition – the BDC. Lukas said that he really recommends the pre-events of the congresses. He had been to three pre-events and pointed out that it is a different experience to the actual congress because you are in this small group but the community feeling at a pre-event is really nice. He also said that it is especially useful if it is your first EGEA event, because this way you will start the congress already knowing some people. With that, Lukas, Wendy and Colette made their way to the cottage for the BDC. So will Lukas continue to attend

EGEA congresses? Any EGEAn knows that a true EGEAn is always ready for “ONE MORE TIME!”

European Geographer 15 | 11/2018


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The European Geographer is a publication of the European Geography Association for Students and Young Geographers. The European Geographer is published at least once per year. The magazine is produced for the EGEA community, EGEA partners, and everyone who is interested in geography, Europe, and EGEA.

EGEA European Office Faculty of Geosciences - Utrecht University P.O.Box 80.000 NL-3508 TA Utrecht +31-30-2539708 Dymphie Burger (Chief Editor), Maike Nowatzki (Chief Editor), Rachel Abela, Sara Brouwer, Colette Caruana, Adelaida Corbera, Urban Furlan, Kati Hiltunen, Uwe Kocar, Gabriela Adina Moroşanu, Santana Noftz, Justyna Piątyszek, Avishai Roif, Caroline Schuck, Ksenia Simonova, Ruxandra Sion, Matt Stephens, Joanna Svärd, Henna Tiainen. Tetiana Khoroshun, Tobias Michl, Christof Nichterlein, Ida Viinikka Tetiana Khoroshun (layout team leader), Dymphie Burger, Julia Haberfellner, Isabella Haag Dorien Aartsma, Dymphie Burger, Colette Caruana, Ema Corodescu, Maria Menegaki, Maike Nowatzki, Michael Ogbe, Sophia Paul, Wendy Wuyts Băbănaș Mihai Octavian “Valea Mării Waterfall” Retezat Mountains, Romania All authors are completely responsible for the content of their articles, their figures, and the references made by them.

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ESRI and the University of Utrecht

European Geographer 15 | 11/2018


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European Geographer 15 - Scientific Symposium 2014  
European Geographer 15 - Scientific Symposium 2014