1.21 - EVIDENCE - Re-Inventing Analysis, Design and Decision Support Systems for Planning

Project Description

A critical analysis of the planning debate enables the identification of a number of weaknesses in the dominant paradigm of the last decades. As a reaction, an evidence-based planning and a performance-based regulation have been steadily establishing since the end of the 1990s. The first introduces in the debate, a new perspective on the relationships between evidence and decision making, evidence and action, on the utilization and on the role of analysis and research, and finally, on the spatial dimension of planning. Bearing in mind the negative aspects of extreme forms of regulation and of deregulation, the second proposes a new type of regulation based on the achievement of fundamental objectives defined throughout the planning process.

Both approaches, theoretically and methodologically linked, have an obvious need for monitoring and evaluation of the cyclical planning activity. While in an initial stage, in the emergence of the rational paradigm, planning evaluation focused exclusively on the plan making stage, the recent proposals in this field of knowledge have been focusing on the planning process and development control, and on the results produced on the territory. As such, there is a solid theoretical basis that allows for the incorporation of adequate evaluation forms into evidence-based planning’s and performance-based regulation’s proposals. Based on the current scientific debate, on the Portuguese planning system, and on the results achieved by the latter on the national territory, this research project proposes the definition of a view, a methodology, and a set of techniques of analysis and planning. This ambitious goal is supported on previous work developed in the Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment/CITTA: the structuring of the Plan-Process-Results/PPR evaluation methodology; the definition of one of the techniques for analysis, design and decision support, the Structural Accessibility Layer/SAL; and the utilization of a number of techniques for morphological analysis. In this sense, the proposed planning approach is based on the importance of the link between evidence, knowledge and action.

It focuses on the stages of analysis, design and decision support in planning activity and it has the main purpose of effectively influence the regulation of a new generation of municipal plans (Planos Municipais de Ordenamento do Território - PMOT). This approach includes PPR methodology, with a focus on the plan, the process, and the results, and also on a set of key elements in contemporary processes of urban development – population, the local political context, the planning system, and the plans prepared for the territory under analysis. Beyond the definition of a number of criteria for the evaluation of planning activity and of the data sources needed for that appraisal, PPR methodology proposes a ser of evaluation techniques. Due to their importance for the sustained view of planning, two of these techniques will be developed in a more detailed way. The first, the SAL, focuses on the issue of accessibility, and the second focuses on the issues of urban form and structure.

Research Team
  • Ana Amante
  • Cecília Silva
  • Paulo Pinho (coordinator)
  • Mafalda Silva
  • Manuel Guimarães
  • Sílvia Sousa
  • Vítor Oliveira
Financial Support
  • FCT: PTDC/AUR-URB/103993/2008
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2013
  • Oliveira, V (2013) A evolução das formas urbanas de Lisboa e Porto nos séculos XIX e XX, Porto, Edições UP, ISBN: 978-989-746-007-4

Scientific Papers

  • Oliveira, V; Pinho, P (2011) "Bridging the gap between planning evaluation and programme evaluation", Evaluation 17(3) , pp 293-308