1.94 - Plots as structural elements of planning practice

Project Description

The conceptual ambiguity of the plot has been identified in the literature as a central problem in urban morphology. Although the plot is a key morphological element of the city plan and a unit of land use, it is also the receiver of different economic, social, and legal opportunities, according to different institutional, historical, and cultural aspects of each city.

This investigation work offers a multidimensional view of the current debate over the plot, looking to showcase the hypothesis that the plot is a structuring part of urban planning. This work aims to understand the organization of plots in urban space – in the present moment and in its evolution over time – considering its interaction with the principles of sustainability and equity and its use in urban planning. This work pretends to understand whether the plot system is one of the fundamental elements in the organization of urban space and whether it can resume a central role in the urban planning process. In this process, it is intended to develop a spatial analysis technique – the PLOT, capable of capturing the fundamental characteristics of a city’s plot system and its influence on the structuring dimensions of urban life.

As the first specific objective of the thesis, the construction of a theoretical-conceptual base on the plots is identified through a literature review, seeking to understand the main particularities of the plot and its interrelations and interactions in the urban space. It is intended to develop this literature review contemplating the main areas of knowledge representation for the plots, such as legal, economic, environmental, institutional, and social sciences. The achievement of this objective implies the formation of an essential base of knowledge that allows the development of the exploratory analysis method.

The second specific objective is the construction of a spatial analysis technique, with the ability to identify, through the urban plan, the main singularities of the plot. The technique is structured from its physical limits, considering its attributes and key dimensions, seeking to capture its influence on urban dynamics over time.

The third specific objective is the validation of this technique in different cultural and geographic contexts. The application of the PLOT technique will be carried out in parts of five cities on different continents.

The fourth specific objective is to demonstrate the relevance of the theoretical-conceptual basis and the PLOT technique for planning practice. It is intended build a line of thought that fills the gap in the interdisciplinarity of the land structure and the ability to reveal, through a spatial exploration, the singularities of the plot system, enabling the replication and refinement of the technique over time. The aim is thus to demonstrate the relevance of the plot system facing other elements and to identify how this system can be integrated into the urban planning system.

Project Team
  • Lais Bertolino
  • Vitor Oliveira (supervisor)
Financial Support
  • FCT: 2021.05088.BD
Stage of Progress
  • Started in 2023