This contribution describes an evolving educational framework to establish a critical learning space to enable future architects to engage in spatial (urban) planning in the context of Portuguese contemporary society. Projecto 5 is a final year design studio in the University of Porto’s Integrated Master’s in Architecture. It is a long-established course, with its origins dating back to the late 1990s, and aims to provide planning education within the scope of an architecture programme. As such it links architectural design and urbanism through the provision of a broader and more comprehensive understanding of urban reality and change. After setting out the foundational and guiding educational principles of the course, the current educational framework is introduced. This framework accommodates recently introduced changes in both content and pedagogical practices as a response to an evolving historical context. Throughout the two decades long life-span of Projecto 5, major changes took place in Portuguese society and in the dominant (national) perceptions of the role of planning, as well as in the relevant institutional framework. Coupled with the recognition of a more complex landscape of architectural and planning approaches and broader educational requirements, the new framework seeks to enable students to develop their own research and communication processes, preparing them for the development of both, strategies for the present and future needs of society, and actions better suited to intervene in urban space.
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