1.12 - Evaluation in Urban Planning

Project Description

This research project is centred on the municipal master plans' on-going evaluation process, particularly about the master plans' proposals with a physical dimension. Assuming that is possible and desirable to achieve a deeper understanding of the physical aspects of planning through new forms of dialog with related scientific fields, the first part of the investigation focus on the theoretical and methodological framework of planning, urban morphology and evaluation - the three domains we intend to articulate.

Planning the different and complex dimensions of the urban phenomena have been suffering, in recent decades, important changes. One of the most significant changes has surely to do with our new perception of the role of land-use plans, somehow devaluated as planning products intended to control the physical form of a city, in comparison to the increasing importance placed on the plan-making process, as part of a wider planning process, closely related to decision making, the emergence of new planning discourses and of the community planning paradigm. And yet, the planning debate that characterizes the first years of the XXI century have not neglected the role of the physical form of our cities. Evaluation is the second scientific field that we approach. The steady evolution of our perception of the role of evaluation in the planning process, from a rational towards a constructivist paradigm, the relationships between evaluation theory and planning theory, the inadequate integration of evaluation methodologies in the planning process, the progress in the development of evaluation methodologies, are some of the topics touched in the investigation. In the urban morphology field, the emergence of an interesting interdisciplinary platform is identified. On this platform seem to converge three European schools that have been studying, separately and since the early 1950s, different aspects of urban form approached from different disciplinary perspectives.

The second part of the investigation consists in the construction of the evaluation methodology and its utilization in Lisbon and Oporto. The proposal is expected to contribute to an overall improvement of the performance of local plans, striking a balance between rigid legal requirements and environmental quality conditions and the necessary flexibility of planning proposals. The role of the on-going evaluation is stressed, in particular, taking advantage of unforeseen development opportunities, or identifying the adequate timing to introduce more detail in urban design guidance, whenever uncertainty is perceived to be under control.

Research Team
  • Vítor Oliveira
  • Paulo Pinho (supervisor)
Financial Support
  • FCT (SFRH/BD/17523/2004)
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2007

PhD Theses

  • Oliveira, Vítor (2007) Avaliação em Planeamento Urbano, Tese de Doutoramento, Universidade do Porto