dr. A. Votsis (Athanasios)

Assistant Professor

About Me

I am an urban and regional planner (Master's, Virginia Commonwealth University) and geographer (PhD, University of Helsinki). 

I have been active in diverse lines of research, connected however by the red thread of complex adaptive systems as applied to spatial patterns of behaviour (individual, aggregate) & their interaction with their social and physical environment:       

  • Urbanism & Spatial planning, notably urbanisation scenario simulations, liveable and healthy cities, bottom-up urbanism and societal resilience, typologies of sustainable cities and their long-term resilience trajectories.
  • Semiotics, esp. as applied to urbanism & architecture, topology, culture, and AI & robotics (the latter in connection to—or as part of—the epistemology and ethics of AI & robotics.
  • Spatial economics, esp. housing markets, economic effects of natural risks and adaptation-mitigation solutions, spatial econometrics and the spatial structure and spatial interaction of economic mechanisms.
  • Climate and weather adaptation/resilience in cities and territories [heatwaves, flooding, ecosystem services], and the aviation and energy sectors.
  • Computational methods, esp. AI and complexity approaches: cellular automata, agent-based models, space syntax, fractals, fuzzy logic, 'fuzzy' cognitive maps.
  • AI and robotics, esp. automated reasoning and knowledge representation in the domains of spatial cognition; human-machine interaction and hybrid reasoning; distributed intelligence and the regulation/control of complex adaptive systems.  

To promote the fundamental role of semiotics in contemporary research and education, I have established séméiologie, the semiotics reading group of the University of Twente.

I have lectured courses on spatial econometrics, economic assessment, applied urban modelling, AI & computational methods, and spatial planning. I have served as PI, task leader or contributor in numerous ERC and National research projects and recently contributed to the UN ESCAP-APDIM's first Sand and Dust Storms Risk Assessment for Asia and the Pacific.

I am a proud member of 4TU Resilience Engineering, UT's DesignLab, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA), the Urban Economics Association, the European Sustainable Energy Innovation Alliance (ESEIA), the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP; serving as the contact person for UT-BMS-CSTM), and the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs).


Supervisory work (completed Masters and PhD theses)

  • Space Syntax analysis and observational fieldwork to develop urban design recommendations for intergenerational public spaces (Amber Lim, University of Helsinki).
  • Cellular automata modelling for parametrising and categorising the spatial growth patterns of the largest Finnish cities (Katja Toivola, Aalto University).
  • Fuzzy Cognitive Maps to develop policy recommendations for renewable energy transitions at national and municipal scales (Arash Kamali and Reza Shahbazi, University of Twente).
  • Sustainable spatial planning paradigms, including ecotourism (Kyriakos Georgas, University of Twente) and energy efficient co-housing (Duncan Kipchirchir, University of Twente). 


Di Tomaso, E., Escribano, J., Basart, S., Ginoux, P., MacChia, F., Barnaba, F., Benincasa, F., Bretonnière, P. A., Buñuel, A., Castrillo, M., Cuevas, E., Formenti, P., Gonçalves, M., Jorba, O., Klose, M., Mona, L., Pinto, G. M., Mytilinaios, M., Obiso, V., ... García-Pando, C. P. (2022). The MONARCH high-resolution reanalysis of desert dust aerosol over Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe (2007-2016). Earth system science data, 14(6), 2785-2816. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-14-2785-2022
Monteiro, A., Basart, S., Kazadzis, S., Gkikas, A., Vandenbussche, S., Tobias, A., Gama, C., García-Pando, C. P., Tarradellas, E., Notas, G., Middleton, N., Kushta, J., Amiridis, V., Lagouvardos, K., Kosmopoulos, P., Kotroni, V., Kanakidou, M., Mihalopoulos, N., Kalivitis, N., ... Meinander, O. (2022). Multi-sectoral impact assessment of an extreme African dust episode in the Eastern Mediterranean in March 2018. Science of the total environment, 843, [156861]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156861
Máñez Costa, M., Oen, A., Nesset, T., Celliers, L., Suhari, M., Huang-Lachmann, J-T., Pimentel, R., Blair, B., Jeuring, J., Rodriguez-Camino, E., Photiadou, C., Columbié, Y. J., Tudose, N. C., Cheval, S. , Votsis, A., West, J. J., Lee, K., Shaffrey, L., Auer, C., ... Schuck-Zöller, S. (2022). Co-production of Climate Services: A diversity of approaches and good practice from the ERA4CS projects (2017–2021). (CSPR Report Series (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research); Vol. 2021, No. 2). Linkoping University Electronic Press. https://doi.org/10.3384/9789179291990
Tuomenvirta, H., Korhonen, N. , Votsis, A., Menenti, M., Alfieri, S., Kumar, P., Renault, F., & Soini, K. (2020). Characteristics of Nature-based Solutions in non-urban environments. https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-8559

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