Associação Portuguesa de Urbanistas (APU)

ECTP-CEU member since: 1986 (formally AUP)
Amount of own members: 256
President: José António Lameiras
Delegate(s): Paula Pacheco

Contacts: Secretariat  – Rosa Nunes
Associação Portuguesa de Urbanistas – APU
IST – DECivil, piso 3, sala 5.33
Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
E-mail: Associação Portuguesa de Urbanistas <

ECTP-CEU Honorary Presidents:
João Pereira Teixeira and Paulo Correia

Annual AUP reports to ECTP-CEU

Portugal’s projects presented by the AUP to the ECTP-CEU European and Regional Planning Awards:

Country Factsheet for Portugal (.pt)

ECTP-CEU Stage 2 Draft – Appendix 4 Draft Directory (2012-12-21)
General Country Information
Capital City Lisbon
Population 10,617,000
Area (km2) 92 931
Population Density 114 per km2
EU Membership Portugal joined what is now known as the EU in 1996.

Portugal is a semi-presidential constitutional republic; it is composed of eighteen districts, 308 municipalities, 3,092 civil parishes and two autonomous regions; Municipalities and “Freguesias” (civil parishes) are the only legal local administrative authorities.

Portugal’s Ministry contacts:
(From the Government website)

“Ministério do Ambiente, Ordenamento do Território e Energia”, Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy:

Rua de O Século, nº51 (Bairro Alto)
1200-433 Lisboa
Tel.: 213 231 500

Planning as a Regulated Profession in Portugal

The regulation is indirectly operated by the “Ordem dos Arquitectos” (Association of Architects) and the “Ordem dos Engenheiros” (Association of Engineers), because considered as part of those professions.

Professional Title:
The common professional name is “Planeadores do Território, Urbanista” (Regional Planners, Town Planners).

EU Database Status:
The profession of planner in Portugal is not included in the EU Database of Regulated Professions.

National Regulation:
Regulation through the “Ordem dos Arquitectos” and the “Ordem dos Engenheiros”.

Regional regulation:

Universities with approved trainings in Portugal

The courses leading to the profession of Town Planner are Third Level Degree in Planning.
Those courses are provided, in Portugal, by:
• University of Aveiro, Department of Social and Political Sciences and Spatial Planning
• Instituto Superior Técnico, Center for Innovation in Territory, Urbanism, and Architecture – CiTUA
• Technical University of Lisbon, Faculty of Architecture
• University of Lisbon, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning
• University Lusofona de Humanidades e Technologies, Department of Urban Planning
• University of Porto, Faculty of Engineering, Section of Territorial and Environmental Planning
• University of Porto, Faculty of Architecture

Example from “ECTP-CEU Draft Stage 2 Study on the Recognition of Planning Qualifications in Europe”:

Master of Regional and Urban Planning, University of Aveiro:
Here it’s a two years course without any Planning Theory, but a heavier part on the planning thesis. The others competencies are relatively balanced.

Town Planning Press of Portugal

• Construção Magazine
• Anteprojectos
• Arquitecture & Construção
• Construir
• Arqua

Country regulation:


Town Planning matters are divided between three levels in Portugal:
• National
• Regional (The two autonomous regions)
• Local (The 308 municipalities)

National Level:
The Ministry for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Regional Development is the central administration for spatial planning and urban matters. As a hierarchical system, the policies launched by the ministry are the guidelines of the territorial management of Portugal. The instruments used to apply those policies are: “Politica Nacional de Planeamento e Ordenamento do Territorio” (The National Spatial Policy Program), Sector Policy Plans (on transport, agriculture, forest …) and Special Plans (on nature, coasts …); they are strategic tools to improve the territorial development on the National level.

Regional Level:
On the regional level, the fundamental document is the “Plano Regional de Ordenamentodo Territorio” (the Regional Spatial Planning Plan). Created by regional commissions, it sets out the possible organisation of the territory and general directives for the implementation. It is a strategic document which establishes guidelines on the regional level to the land use and the territorial transformations. Its purpose is to promote environmental and planning policies coming from the upper level, and to help to the creation of the municipal plans.

Local Level:
The local level is composed of four planning documents; they are the instruments that directly deal with the urban scale:
• “Planos Intermunicipais de Ordemanento do Território” (Inter-municipal Spatial Planning Plans): they are optional documents established in order to coordinate interdependent territorial areas between different municipalities.
• “Plano Director Municipal”, PDM (Municipal Master Plan): covering the whole municipal territory, urban and non-urban, it defines the organisation of the municipal area and integrates the guidelines and the policies coming from the upper levels. It is a normative and strategic tool.
• “Planos de Urbanização”, PU (Urbanization Plan): it treats the urban areas, including areas to become urbanised. It organises specific parts of the territory, with specific needs, by setting criteria for the development and the transformation of the urban area.
• “Plano de Pormenor”, PP (Detail Plan): this last plan only considers small and specific areas of the municipal territory, urban or not. By defining precisely the spatial organisation of the area, it permits to integrate the strategies set by the two previous plans; it is a pillar instrument for the execution of buildings projects according to the municipal rules.


• National Authorities:
Government; Parliament; The Ministry for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Regional Development; “Direcção-Geral do Ordenamento do Territorio e Desenvolvimento Urbano” (The General Directorate of Territorial Management and Urban Development)

• Regional Level:
“Comissão Coordenação para o Desenvolvimento Regional” (Coordination Commission for Regional Development)

• Local Authorities:
Assemblies and Municipal Councils; “Junta de Freguesia” (Parishes Assembly)


Information, consultation and dialogue
From the Constitution of Portugal, Article 267, Paragraph 1.
“The Public Administration shall be structured in such a way as to avoid bureaucratisation, bring departments and services closer to local people and ensure that interested parties take part in its effective management, particularly via public associations, residents’ organisations and other forms of democratic representation”.
There is a participation step during the creation of town planning plans on the municipal level. The interested people (landowners or right-holders) can participate through the public inquiry, which allows comments and suggestions to the rules and the documents. The purpose is to inform the administrative body about the different interests, in order to make the most balanced decision.


Main Planning legislation
From Law n°31/2014, 30 May 2014:
(a) Valorizar as potencialidades do solo, salvaguardando a sua qualidade e a realização das suas funções ambientais, económicas, sociais e culturais, enquanto suporte físico e de enquadramento cultural para as pessoas e suas atividades, fonte de matérias -primas e de produção de biomassa, reservatório de carbono e reserva de biodiversidade;”
(Valuing the ground potential while maintaining the quality and performance of its environment, economy, social and cultural aspects, as physical support and cultural environment for people and their activities, and as source of raw materials, biomass production, reservoir carbon and biodiversity reserve)
(c) Reforçar a coesão nacional, organizando o território de modo a conter a expansão urbana e a edificação dispersa, corrigindo as assimetrias regionais, nomeadamente dos territórios de baixa densidade, assegurando a igualdade de oportunidades dos cidadãos no acesso às infraestruturas, equipamentos, serviços e funções urbanas, em especial aos equipamentos e serviços que promovam o apoio à família, à terceira idade e à inclusão social;”
(Strengthen national cohesion, organizing territory to contain urban sprawl and scattered building, correcting regional asymmetries, in particular low density regions, ensuring equal opportunities of citizens in access to infrastructure, equipment, services and urban functions, especially the equipment and services that promote family support, the elderly and social inclusion)


Associação Portuguesa de Urbanistas:

Governo de Portugal:  

European Commission Database on Regulated Professions:  

Direção-Geral do Território:  

Diarios da Republica Electronico: