• This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pre-Organised Special Sessions

To be competed with more special sessions soon...

Prof. Aspa Gospodini

Title: RETHINKING ΤΗΕ FUTURE OF CITIES; Impacts & challenges of teleworking - Roundtable Discussion



Prof. Aspa Gospodini

Department of Planning and Regional Development

University of Thessaly, Greece



Roundtable Discussion
pre-organised and coordinated by Prof. Aspa Gospodini,

  • Prof. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Dean of UCLA, California, USA [inclusive neighbourhoods within a just-city pattern].
  • Prof. Aspa Gospodini, coordinator, Dept. of Planning & Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Greece [‘green and blue infrastructure’]
  • Prof. Georgios A. Panetsos, Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Greece [changes in the reuse of heritage buildings, shifts in house-typology].
  • Prof. Alcestis Rodi, Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Greece [‘X-Minute-city’ and time-planning].
  • Prof. Nikos Karanikolas, Dept. of Planning & Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece [shifts in real estate market].
  • Prof. Georgia Pozoukidou, Dept. of Planning & Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece [15-minutes city].
  • Assoc. Prof. Nikos Gavanas, Dept. of Planning & Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Greece [‘sustainable mobility networks, impacts on urban transport infrastructure].
  • Assoc. Prof. Apostolos Papagiannakis School of Planning & Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece [Urban Travel Behaviour].


The recent COVID’19 pandemic and community lockdowns introduced a large-scaled shift towards working from home (WFH), resulting in immediate but temporal impacts on city- centres, urban transportation networks, functional features of residential neighbourhoods and buildings. However, in the post-Covid era, teleworking is both expanding and growing. There are two new categories of teleworkers; (a) ‘nomadic teleworkers’ and (b) ‘over-time teleworkers’: The former includes those teleworking from places other than home and office - on trains, at motorway service stations, in airports, in the clients’ premises, in holidays resorts, etc., - based on the development of mobile ICT, especially portable computers and mobile phones. The latter includes those teleworking from home outside the normal working hours (early in the morning, late at night, during weekend, etc.).

The percentages of teleworkers are rapidly growing worldwide. More specifically, in the European Union (i.e. the mean percentage of 28 member-states), home-based teleworkers were 5% in 2000, and only 7% in 2007. By 2022, the percentage increased to 10.2% with Ireland having the highest score (25.3%) and Romania the lowest (1.4%) [Data: https://www.statista.com/statistics/879251/employees-teleworking-in-the-eu]. Cultural variations appear to play a significant role in the differences among countries; in north-European countries telework is a better-established practice than in south-European counterparts. In 2022, 27.5% of US employees teleworked at least part-time – which was the average of all private establishments (U.S. Bureau of Statistics https://www.bls.gov/). Therefore, an increasing number of companies worldwide are adopting WFH policies, indicating that teleworking is likely to be a long-term trend in the labour market.

Urban economists, geographers and sociologists, urban planners and designers, and urban transportation engineers, have always had the tasks to analyse, predict, plan, and design urban space taking into account multiple variables, and focusing on the “lieu” where economic activities occur in cities, and where people reside. The goal of this roundtable discussion is to bring together academics from different disciplines to set up future scenarios for the possible boom of teleworking, and its major impacts (spatial, morphological, economic, and social) on cities. The discussion will focus on the following issues:

  • How will the rise of telework impact the economic and social identities of city-centres?
    • Will increase in telework lead to a decrease in needs for large office space by private enterprises in city-centres, and thus, creating a surplus of vacant spaces and buildings in city-centres? How will this affect the office real estate? Additionally, what kind of businesses will move into the abandoned spaces of the city-centres?
    • What will be the impacts of such relocations on travel patterns in the city? Will urban transportation infrastructure (motorways, metro, suburban train lines) be underused and devalued?
    • What are appropriate gentrification processes for repurposing abandoned office buildings in city centres? Could the rise of telework make housing more affordable in the city centre? Could vacant offices in city cores be transformed into residential units? Could this promising strategy contribute to reducing housing prices?
    • Will the vacant office buildings in city centres be transformed into tourist accommodation (e.g. small flats available for short-term rental through electronic platforms), and spaces for culture and leisure-oriented businesses?
    • Will the economic identity of city-centres shift towards culture and tourism as symbolic economies?
    • What are the anticipated changes for hosted activities and reuse of heritage buildings in the city centres?
  • How will the rise of telework reshape inner-city neighbourhoods and suburbs?
    • Will private enterprises relocate to neighborhoods and suburbs, looking for better environmental conditions? What will be the impacts on real estate prices?
    • Will the increase in telework lead to new demands for cultural amenities, shopping, recreation, amusement, etc. in inner city residential areas, as well as in suburbs? How could these needs be addressed in the residential areas of compact Mediterranean cities, and the low-density north European and American cities?
    • Could residential neighbourhoods be transformed into self-sufficient urban units? Are new approaches such as the ‘X-Minute-city’ and chrono-urbanism a sustainable solution? Will an ‘holistic’ kind of neighbourhood’ be the new task for urban planners, urban designers, and architects? Is this a new opportunity to generate inclusive neighbourhoods in a just-city?
    • Will the existing house-typology undergo alterations? What’s the new role/function, typology and configuration of public spaces in ‘holistic’ neighbourhoods? What are the design and planning guidelines for ‘green and blue infrastructure’ as well as for sustainable mobility networks?

Contact Us

Email us any time and we will respond shortly.