1.50 - SPLACH - Spatial Planning for Change

Project Description

“SPLACH – Spatial Planning for Change” aims at preparing a body of transformative planning policies, implementation mechanisms, and decision support systems, able to guide Portuguese planning practice towards a transition to a low carbon and social inclusive urban system. It brings together research carried out in three research centres - CITTA, DINÂMIA'CET and GOVCOPP.SPLACH_Rationale.width-1000.jpg
The main objective of the SPLACH research programme is the production of a comprehensive and coherent body of development control and transformative planning policies, implementation mechanisms, planning models and decision support systems, able to feed and guide Portuguese planning practice including both the public and the private sectors, at the plan making and the licensing stages - towards a rapid and effective transition to a low carbon and social inclusive urban system. 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. 

Nevertheless, the SPLACH research programme, aims to balance the social and the physical dimensions of our urban systems. It aims to bring together new and emerging societal challenges to turn spaces into places, in and within our cities and metropolises, fostering identity, inclusion, innovation, participation, locality, liveability, self-sufficiency and resilience, through the promotion of decentralized, efficient and renewable energy systems, environmental services, bio cycle communities and the circular economy.
One of the main goals of this research programme is to study the two Portuguese Metropolitan Areas (Lisbon and Oporto) and the Medium Size Cities, approached through a series of case studies, covering the Portuguese territory, including the Madeira and the Azores archipelagos. Together these two metropolitan areas and the set of medium size cities encompass over 70% of the total Portuguese population and constitute the most relevant nodes of the entire Portuguese Urban System.

Research Team


  • António Carlos Alves Pereira da Cunha Ferreira
  • Cecília Alexandra Abreu Coelho da Rocha
  • Cecília do Carmo Ferreira da Silva
  • Claudia Monteiro
  • Emília Maria Delgado Domingos Antunes Malcata Rebelo 
  • Fernando Manuel Brandão Alves
  • Isabel Maria Fernandes Ribeiro Breda Lacerda Vazquez
  • Joana Alexandra Ribeiro Santos
  • João Miguel Matos do Corgo
  • Paulo Manuel Neto da Costa Pinho (coordinator)
  • Paulo Santos Conceição
  • Rita Lago de Carvalho Oliveira Vaz
  • Sara Maria dos Santos Rodrigues da Cruz
  • Vítor Manuel Araújo de Oliveira


  • Isabel Salavisa
  • João Borges
  • José Manuel Henriques
  • Margarida Perestrelo
  • Maria de Fátima Ferreiro
  • Patrícia Bento d'Almeida
  • Pedro Costa
  • Raul Lopes
  • Teresa Costa Pinto
  • Teresa Marat-Mendes


  • Carlos Costa
  • Carlos Pinho
  • Carlos Rodrigues
  • Gonçalo Santinha
  • Ivana Stevic
  • João Marques
  • Medéia Veríssimo
  • Zélia Breda
Financial Support
  • Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER)
  • PORTUGAL 2020

Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2021