MASTER’S DEGREE IN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING

  • The Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Valley of the Paraiba (PLUR/UNIVAP in Portuguese), in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, is one of the few existing courses in Brazil in this field, which is indispensable for sustainable development in the broadest sense. The Program, formed as an interdisciplinary course grid, focuses on critical reflection about the production process of urban and regional spaces of contemporary society. Over the period in which it has carried out its extensive list of research projects, the Program’s research group has been one of the pioneers in the use of geoprocessing and remote sensing methodological instruments to facilitate data and image collection at a rate that is compatible with the dynamic rate of change of cities and surrounding regions in the state capitals OR capitalistic cities. These resources, along with spatialized information, make it possible to follow and generate subsidies/financial support to interventions of control in the conflict between the accelerated construction process in the environment and the necessary and desired limits imposed on that construction for a sustainable environment.

    The Program conducts scientific research, carries out academic activities, and disseminates scientific and technological findings in the field of Urban and Regional Planning. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it focuses on the production of urban and regional spaces, using theoretical tools from different areas of Applied Social Sciences and related fields. In this research process, the Program upholds the concept of space defended by Milton Santos, which is that of the totality, expression, and the urging of the society. Thus, the Program seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the social production process of contemporary space through the exchange of ideas and knowledge in an academic plan which concentrates on scientific research, personal reflection, and critical analysis for the purpose of generating elements that favor the transformation of reality.

    The Program is structured from know-how and activities of a research group, that seeks educational development through the adoption of basic coursework and complementary studies, study and exchange seminars, group advising/group orientation, among other dynamics, culminating in the preparation of an individual Final Project, chosen from pertinent themes in the student’s specific field and the lines of research and projects under development by the teaching staff.

    During the process of setting up the Master’s Program at UNIVAP, the university took advantage of its internal capabilities/capacities, the existence of similar courses elsewhere in the region, as well as its dominant position in furthering knowledge of the historical process of social-spatial production, in terms of regional planning, while keeping an open mind toward analogies from other realities. Another motivation for the course was to give students the skills they needed in remote sensing and geoprocessing, which were already part of UNIVAP, and use them in courses offered at the high school and undergraduate level for Architecture and Urbanism, Geography, and Civil and Environmental Engineering, among others.

    The opportunity to establish a Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning also came about due to the dynamic transformations occurring within Brazil, with its accelerated rate of urbanization, which was clearly the case in the Paraiba Valley and adjacent regions of influence. In this scenario, UNIVAP was perfectly situated, with its infrastructure and technical-scientific educational resources in the fields of remoter sensing and geoprocessing, to help accelerate the identification of physical/ environmental and territorial/land use problems. This, in turn, made it possible to evaluate the socio-political implications of urbanization, in terms of particularities of the regionalization process and of global climate change. Thus, the importance of the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning goes beyond the scope of the Paraiba Valley region, to the degree that it provokes a chain of ongoing, systematic reflections about space and its use at every level, be it local, regional, national, or global.
  • AREAS OF FOCUS/LINES OF RESEARCH
  • This Graduate Program of the University of the Valley of the Paraiba has as its focus “Regional and Urban Planning” and aims to develop an interdisciplinary approach that will allow the analysis and understanding of the social-spatial dynamic as it relates to political, cultural, ideological, economic, and physical- territorial variables. The Paraiba Valley and surrounding regions serve as its laboratory, although research is not limited to this. The experiences in other important regions are also included in terms of their urbanization process. With this perspective, the Program seeks to contribute to the development of studies and planning strategies on an urban and regional scale.
  • LINES OF RESEARCH
  • Line 1: Planning, public policies and the structuring of spaces
    This research focus group studies the socio-environmental characteristics of a territory and the relationships between local and regional changes and global dynamics so as to subsidize /fund? studies and planning strategies which promote sustainable development.

    Line 2: Planning, population, and socio-environmental development
    This line of research treats spatial dynamics, both urban and regional, highlighting the resulting impact of socio-economic and political processes as they intervene in the organization of space. The focus, therefore, is on the different actors involved.

    Line 3L Planning, space, and culture
    This research track focuses on the historical-social processes that form the city and surrounding region and the collective representations of what is urban and rural. It studies the dynamics of land use, with an emphasis on the construction of social identities and memories.
  • CREDITS
  • Total number of required credits for the Master’s Degree: 30
    17 credits of required courses
    04 credits in elective courses, 2 credits per course
    09 credits for the Thesis (student research)