The purpose of this congress is to analyse the processes of transformation within territories taking into account the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It is essential to generate a deeper understanding of these tools and how they impact, not only on communications, transport, production of goods and services, but also on the management and governance of territories. For this reason, the underlying objective is to develop more inclusive and resilient rural, urban and interface territories (border areas where rural production and urban fabric exist side by side) paying special attention to the sustainability of the ecosystems in each of these areas. However, ICT infrastructure and equipment alone are not enough if the community is unable to use them responsibly and creatively. Having a smart citizenship is essential in order to meet all proposed objectives. Thus, in the year 2000, the Centre of Land Policy and Valuations (CPSV) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), together with other research areas of this University, created a research and development program to address and learn more about the problems of the territories: the Virtual City Modelling Lab (LMVC / CPSV / UPC). Following this, in 2004 and with the collaboration of several European and Latin American universities, a forum to debate and propose ideas was founded based on the use of ICT applied to the management and development of territories. The ultimate goal was to respond to the transformation of human habitat in a context of economic, social and cultural globalization, not only due to the use of ICT but also to ensure the sustainability of natural human ecosystems and the access to ICT by the disadvantaged and excluded from society.
The CPSV of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) is a technical and scientific research unit created in 1986. It integrates a multidisciplinary group of professionals who develop teaching and research initiatives in urbanism, ranging from its management and administration to its relationship with the environment and sustainable urban quality, among other aspects. Its main objective is to boost knowledge, innovation and university research, developing methodologies, technological applications and optimizing urban and territorial instruments. It also aims at training professionals in its five main lines of research: Urban and Territorial Planning, Urban Management, Valuation Urban and Real Estate, Urban and Territorial Analysis, Urban Ecology, and Management and Environmental Assessment of the City and Territory.
With the support of the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB) and the participation of the Department of Architectural Graphic Expression (EGAI) and the Department of Architectural Constructions I (CAI), in 2000 the CPSV created the Virtual City Modelling Lab (LMVC) (http://www-cpsv.upc.es/lmvc). Its main objective is to apply new technologies to spatial analysis, territorial management, and the representation of architecture and urbanism, working on two main research areas: the virtual 3D modelling of territory, spatial planning, architecture and archaeology, and spatial analysis using geographical information systems (GIS). Important advances have been made in the field of virtual representation. Virtual models of several cities have been elaborated in an effort to optimise methodologies, especially in the post-processing of point clouds to create models. It was in this context of research and technological progress that, in 2004, the idea of the 1st International Congress Virtual City and Territory (CTV) was conceived and carried out by Dr. Architect Josep Roca Cladera, Director of CPSV, who has remained as the President of the Scientific Committee to date.
The 1st International Congress of Virtual Cities and Territories (CTV) (http://www-cpsv.upc.es/ctv) was held in Barcelona in 2004, and was designed as a meeting place to discuss all the developments regarding virtual models and tools to visualize different environments, in the framework of the Forum of Cultures -Barcelona 2004. More than 100 researchers gathered to discuss projects related to the three thematic areas that were defined:
-Virtual Cities in the World
-Virtual Terrarium and 3D Cartography
-Virtual Representation of the Heritage
At the end of this meeting, it was decided to continue with an annual meeting conference, alternating venues between America and Europe. In 2005, the second edition was held in Concepción (Chile), within the campus of the Universidad del Bío-Bío. Later in 2006, in Bilbao, the Labein Foundation -Tecnalia-, organized the third edition and the fourth was held in October 2007 in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), organized by the University of Guadalajara, with a claim to "re-think cities" and their problems. During these first four conferences, a significant number of papers were presented by researchers, students, professionals, specialized companies, local public administrations and prestigious institutions, which influence urban actions and which incorporated qualitative indexes to propose effective solutions to real problems, incorporating available technologies and computing resources to projects and to the search for future proposals.
With these questions in mind, the 5th edition of the congress was held again in Barcelona in June of 2009 (http://www-cpsv.upc.es/5CTV). Discussions focused on solving the problems of territorial-urban development. Social valuation, environmental and patrimonial conservation and civic participation were taken into account to debate about the "Strategies for transforming and managing the city; perspectives and new technologies". The aim was to discover the potential of ICTs to elaborate effective proposals in the field of urban development, territorial sustainability and knowledge, and new paradigms of urban growth and planning, as well as the management and economies of cities.
Similarly, the sixth edition took place in October 2010 at the University of Baja California in Mexicali (Mexico) and the next two editions were organized in Portuguese-speaking countries. The seventh edition was co-organized by the University of Coimbra and the University of Lisbon (Portugal) in October 2011 (http://www.7vct.dec.uc.pt) and the eighth edition was in September 2012 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), organized by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (http://8cvtrio.wixsite.com/8cvtrio). The ninth edition took place in September 2013, in Rome (Italy) organized by the Department of Architecture of the University Roma Tre, based on the concepts of "City Memory People" and the tenth edition was held in September 2014 in Monterrey (Mexico) in the School of Architecture of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (http://www.arquitectura.uanl.mx/congreso/convocatoria.htm) with the theme "dispersion / concentration of urban territories, in the light of the 21st century technologies".
The eleventh edition (http://ctv2016.pk.edu.pl) was held in Krakow, Poland, in 2016. It gathered more than 150 participants from various countries in Europe and Latin America and all papers presented were published in the book of proceedings Back to the Sense of the City, 11th VCT. International Monograph book, with the ISBN: 978-84-8157-660-3, edited by CPSV. After the congress, almost 850 papers were sent to the Library Service of the UPC (ETSAB) to be published in UPCommons, the Open Knowledge Portal of the UPC, in the section 11th Congress Virtual City and Territory, Krakow, 6-8 July 2016; http://upcommons.upc.edu/handle/2117/90350, within the International Conference Virtual City and Territory collection; http://upcommons.upc.edu/handle/2099/11326.
The twelfth edition will be held in Mendoza, Argentina, from September 5th to 7th, 2018, organized by the National University of Cuyo. The central theme will be the "environmental, social and economic sustainability" of territories and urban systems of metropolitan scale. There will be five thematic areas, around which conferences, workshops, cultural activities and exhibitions will be structured. The aim is to generate a space for interaction to contribute to the dissemination of advances in urban development and the exchange of knowledge among professionals and students.