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SPLACH | Spatial Planning for Change

Research Group

Website: n.a.



In recent years the entire legal and regulatory basis of the Portuguese Planning System underwent an ambitious and far reaching reform. However, today like in the past, the major effort in the production of new legislation and regulation was not accompanied by a similar effort in the production of planning doctrine, here understood as a vast and coherent set of planning policies and implementation measures, able to improve, from a technical and scientific point of view, and under an evidence based approach, not only the quality of planning practice but also, and foremost,its proactive role, incorporating new and emerging topics and societal challenges and concerns, promoting change and opening new transition avenues into the future. This proactive role of planning, advocated here, contrasts with its traditional conservative standing in Portugal (and in other EU Member States), of looking backwards and passively accommodating, if not slowing down, change and the social and physical reform of our cities and metropolises.

Planning can, and should, constitute a transformative device in our cities in Europe and elsewhere, particularly in the present times and with a view into the long term. Indeed, current changes seem far more deep within the existing urban tissues experiencing profound recompositions of functions and activities, than in physical terms, strictly speaking,where past investments in infrastructures and in the built environment seemed to have exceeded the real demand and generated a surplus of the building stock that, some years later, still remains partially empty or underused.

The Spatial Planning for Change (SPLACH) programme draws on some of the main areas of knowledge of thre eresearch centres CITTA, DINÂMIA'CET-IUL and GOVCOPP. Two to three main areas of knowledge were identified for each centre: post carbon cities, transformative policies, spatial planning, socio-technical system, food security,services of general interest, tourism and modeling. Based on these areas and on the research strategy of each centre, seven join Projects (or Work Packages/WP) were identified: contemporary spatial dynamics, transition paths,food security and sustainability, urban metabolism, sustainable tourism, planning services of general interest in timesof austerity and, finally, the potential of transformation of public policies. The development of three of these WP will be supported by an eight WP on urban modeling. One of the main goals of SPLACH is the production of a comprehensive and coherent body (a compendium corresponding to WP9) of development control and transformative planning policies, implementation mechanisms, planning models and decision support systems, able to feed and guide Portuguese planning practice including the public and the private sectors and the plan making and he licensing stages towards a rapid and effective transition to a low carbon and social inclusive urban system.

Period: 2016 - 2019

Funding Institution:

Coordination: Teresa Marat-Mendes (DINÂMIA'CET-IUL)



Updated: 31/01/2018


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