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Teaching spatial planning
Paulo Silva firstname.lastname@example.org
Departamento de Ciências Sociais,
Políticas e do Território,
Universidade de Aveiro
Challenges faced by spatial planning
(Silva, Farrall, 2016)
A main reason to “submerge” students in
more professional contexts
The Context – spatial planning in the UA:
• 1st Portuguese institution to launch a BsC on
regional and urban planning (PRU) program (1983) |
1st Portuguese school to become a member of the
Association of European Schools of Planning
• Minor on Spatial Planning and Urbanism / 1st cycle of
Public Administration | Master program of Regional
and Urban Planning
• Focus on governance, collaborative rationale, multi-
The Context – spatial planning in Esmoriz
• Needing a planning approach (2nd city of Ovar, close
to Porto metropolitan area and NUTII Norte)
• Aiming for partnership with the university of Aveiro.
Municipality of Ovar:
• Providing institutional and logistic support
The process involving
Around 45 UA students from 2 yrs x 2 cycles
4 universities including teachers, guests and
students (Aveiro, Lisboa, Porto, Gdansk)
1 municipality (Ovar)
3 parishes (Esmoriz, Cortegaça, Maceda)
• Visit to the site with local authorities (Esmoriz).
• Local authorities’ talk with the students (Aveiro).
• Talks with planners from the municipality of Ovar
• Public presentation (Esmoriz);
• Seminars with municipality of Espinho planner and
prof. Fatima Alves from UA (Aveiro);
• Exhibition of works during the Esmoriz Urbanism
2013 / 2014, 2nd semester
2014 / 2015, 1st semester
• Studio works extended to 3 parishes – Esmoriz,
Cortegaça and Maceda - involving 2 PRU master
program curricular units - Urban Forms (1st year),
Urban Regeneration Policies (2nd year)
• Students from 1st cycle of Public Administration /
Minor of Spatial Planning and Urbanism produced
models from urban spaces of Esmoriz (curricular
unit of Representations of Space).
2014 / 2015, 2nd semester
• Urban Planning (PRU) studio works were extended
to three parishes of Ovar – Esmoriz, Cortegaça and
• Urban Design studio works focused on specific
areas of Esmoriz (BsC Public Administration, minor
of Spatial Planning and Urbanism).
• Joint visits to Esmoriz were organized.
• Master students prepared session to 1st cycle
students on Esmoriz urban structures.
• An international workshop took place during the 1st
week of June.
• Results were presented at the 2nd Esmoriz
urbanism meeting (12.06.2015).
2014 / 2015, 2nd semester (cont.)
1st semester 2nd semester 1st semester 2nd semester
Ovar / parish of
Getting together Experimenting
Exploring in new
Oct. - 1st contact between
Esmoriz local authorities
Esmoriz as case study
for Urban Planning
Studio work extended
to Cortegaça and
BSc program |
Esmoriz as a basis for
Esmoriz as case study
for Urban Design
The Process (looking back)
The Outcomes for the students:
A better understanding of public institutions’
expectations and urban agents’ dynamics;
A more “down to earth” approach;
An interaction of students and urban agents in a not
totally exposed context.
The Outcomes for local authorities:
It allows external insights;
It gives space to experimentation;
It eases public interaction mixing more formal and
more informal contexts;
Helps to improve communication channels with local
And some risks
Of over-using the same case study | territory
Of missing the balance between theory and practice
(from too “academic” to too “professional”)
Dare to improvise if that means to grasp the
To be flexible and adapt methods to students needs;
To give importance to public exposure, fieldtrips,
To not over do it!
An alternative to students without the “traditional”
SILVA, P., (2014), «Teaching urban form in public administration
context: aims and challenges», in OLIVEIRA, V., PINHO, P.,
BATISTA, L., PATATAS, T. (eds.), Our common future in urban
morphology, FEUP, Porto, p. 394
SILVA, P., FARRALL, H., (2016), «Lessons from informal
settlements: a ‘peripheral’ problem with self-organising solutions»,
in DE ROO, G., ZHANG, S. (eds.), Town Planning Review, special
issue Self-Organization and Spatial Planning, Liverpool University