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The Future of Applied Geographic Research, Practice, and Collaboration

Type: Panel
Theme: Expanding the Community of Geography
Sponsor Groups: Applied Geography Specialty Group, Business Geography Specialty Group, Careers and Professional Development, Specialty Group Highlighted Session
Organizers: Murray Rice, Hannah Torres
Chairs: Hannah Torres


As applied geographers, we have interests in two worlds: academic research and teaching, and applied practice of geographic knowledge, thinking, and analysis. It is critical for the health of our field that both halves of our work stay tightly linked.

Despite the importance of this connection, often it is more aspirational than real. The needs and constraints of academia often reduce the time that applied geography faculty and students have for linkage with the world of practice, and the pressures of practice often mean that it is challenging for applied geographers in the workplace to keep up with advancements on the academic side. The result is that academic applied geographers and applied geography practitioners tend to have distinctive and non-overlapping professional circles and schedules. The deficit of geography practitioners (compared to their large, overall numbers) at conferences such as the AAG’s is only one tangible means of seeing this professional divide.

This session focuses on this year’s AAG conference theme “Expanding the Community of Geography” by exploring the connections that do and do not exist between the two halves of applied geography. A panel discussion will start the session, where representatives from a diverse set of applied geography backgrounds and specialties will consider questions related to the identity of applied geography, the relationship between the academic and practitioner components of the field, the barriers that hinder better connection, and the strategies we might use to promote clearer communication and understanding across our discipline.

The session will conclude with some time for discussion amongst the entire group of session participants and in smaller, breakout groups.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Hannah Torres Old Dominion University 15
Panelist Sean Crotty Texas Christian University 15
Panelist Kingsley Haynes George Mason University 15
Panelist Greg Yetman 10
Panelist Deepak Mishra University of Georgia 10

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