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Mission and Objectives

URBinLAB – Urbanism & Territorial Dynamics regards the study of urban and territorial policies, processes and forms in response to emerging societal challenges. The group’s research agenda acknowledges that the territory and cities are dynamic and complex in nature. Therefore, the rationale of continuous transformation and adjustment, requiring monitoring and evaluation, is a key issue in the group’s activities. A critical focus on today’s urban challenges is seen as a relevant contribution to inform future urban, territorial and landscape projects and policies. This forward-looking perspective is consistently grounded on consistent knowledge regarding the processes that shaped our cities and landscape over time.

The group was created with the objective of sharing resources, projects and lines of development under a common research unit. It hosts a team of researchers from different field backgrounds ranging from urbanism, spatial planning and geography to architecture and landscape architecture, which seek to find convergences and to explore synergies between typically autonomous and splintered fields of knowledge and methodological approaches. As such, URBinLAB differentiates itself by hosting research beyond established disciplinary frontiers.

Research focus: emerging societal and urban challenges

URBinLAB research rationale is driven by today’s societal challenges and their urban and territorial implications and opportunities. These opportunities are approached from a design-oriented perspective, looking for multi-dimensional and spatially qualified solutions.
Past and current research attracts national and international funding and active networking and partnership with university, institutional and civil society partners, dealing with some of the most relevant challenges:

  • climate change adaptation and nature-based solutions
  • sustainable mobility and metropolitan land use
  • affordable housing and spatial cohesion
  • multi-level governance and planning tools

URBinLAB maintains four main lines of research, seen as complementary perspectives in dealing with specific urban and territorial challenges. Team members actively build bridges between the various lines, looking for synergies, critical insight and out-of-the box approaches:

  • housing & public space
  • landscape & climate change
  • urban mobility
  • urbanization & planning

URBinLAB builds its expertise and experience through the participation of its members in various types of research-oriented practice:

  • national & international funded research projects
  • applied research and consultancy
  • individual PhD and Post-doctoral research
  • networks and partnerships
  • seminars and workshops

In addition to looking for international presence by means of establishing networks and partnerships with other international partners and universities, the group aims to develop a close link between research, education and the society. This is accomplished by strengthening the relationship with various societal actors and institutions, bridging the university and the Public Administration, the private sector and the civil society. The main purpose is to stimulate applied research and promote the dissemination of knowledge among, not only academics, but also policy makers, practitioners and the community. On the other hand, URBinLAB hosts a number of research fellows and PhD students who carry out their research in the context of the group's projects and thematic lines.

Background

The group was created through the convergence of three previously established research groups – LUDT/Laboratory of Urbanism and Territorial Dynamics, BEAM/Built Environment and Mobility and GERTiL/Group of Studies for the Reconstruction of East Timor. As such, it results from a bottom-up process of integration, acknowledging common interests, a history of cooperation between its members and the underlying potential of synergic combination between the various fields of expertise.

 

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