As 2020 is drawing to a close I’m sure that most of you are as relieved as I am and that you are also hoping for a different year in 2021. It was very disappointing not to meet familiar and new faces at the planned 2020 RC33/ISA conferences. Things may get better, worse or stay the same, but so far it seems that the chance of meeting at conferences in 2021 is also unsure. Looking back at the blogs on the RC33 website it is clear that much of the year was about postponing conferences – first, the 1st RC20 and 2nd RC33 regional conference: Asia; second, the IV ISA Forum of Sociology (now online); third the 10th RC33 conference in Cyprus. We will keep you posted on other planned events as more information becomes available and you can also find updates about these RC33/ISA related events on the Conferences tab.
Although many of our blogs were about conference postponements/changes there were some other interesting postings this year. Karl van Meter provided information on developments related to the BMS and the former RC33 president, Nina Baur, announced the establishment of the Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS) at the Technical University of Berlin. I am very proud to say that one of our PhD students, from the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Pretoria, received a scholarship and has already spent a few months at TU Berlin participating in the GCSMUS PhD programme. Many of us experienced challenges with our research this year and Pei-shan Liao’s blog gave us insights into survey practices in Taiwan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our current president, Vera Toepoel, wrote two blogs keeping RC33 members up to date on changing events. Vera also organized a virtual RC33 board meeting in September that all but one of us managed to attend given the time differences ranging from Europe to Africa to Asia. The minutes of the board meeting are available on the website (on the About tab). One of the biggest changes for RC33 this year was to the membership fees. We now have a differentiated fee system according to the income of a country which we hope will open up membership opportunities for low-income countries and this was implemented on the website for online registration and payment. When I did an analysis of the use of the RC33 website for the board meeting it was interesting to note that most traffic on the website is for information on the conferences and reading our blogs. Most website visitors are based in the United States even though our membership in this country is low – something we will follow up on.
If you have any feedback about the website please contact me via the e-mail address on the Board page. We hope that you have enjoyed reading our blogs this year and that you will continue to connect with us as we “travel” through 2021 together.
RC33 vice-president for online communication