CiTUA’s goals include engaged and rigorous research that is policy relevant and replicable. The activities of CiTUA are directed towards leading-edge research developments on urban territories with the following specific goals:
- to analyse, test, monitor, evaluate and optimize the capacity and use of present urban territories from the scale of the city- region up to the individual building to respond to socio-economic environmental changes and ensure a more balanced and sustainable relation between urban and natural material and imaterial legacy, including the rediscovery, reuse, redevelopment and reinterpretation of past discourses and practices;
- to develop efficient methodologies, affordable technologies and solutions to respond to the needs of expanding urban territories driven by rapidly changing and very culturally diversified millieux, including in developing countries that have recently entered in a strong process of urbanization;
- to evaluate models of governance, financial and management procedures, in different political and socio-cultural contexts, aiming to create conditions and promoting spaces of dignity and social cohesion, while pursuing a more efficient and fair administration of public interest and goods.
To achieve these objectives CiTUA adopts a strategical framework based on:
- a process of knowledge building on urban territories according to a multiscale approach, which combines theoretical knowledge, evidence-based knowledge generated on the territory, methodological knowledge derived from comparative approaches, technological expertise and experiential knowledge and competences generated into the practice; cooperation between research and practice is, first and foremost, a form of producing and disseminating new knowledge that benefits both researchers and actors operating within the territory.
- active intellectual collaboration among researchers with varied backgrounds and perspectives acquired in different areas of science, sectors (e.g. university, industry, governmental and regional administration) and regions;
- strategic partnerships and cooperation with other R&D centres and institutions, to promote a worldwide multidisciplinary research network including national and international Universities, R&D institutions, central and local administration entities and the industrial sector, with special focus on Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries.
- advanced formative and life learning actions to share research findings and introducing young researchers to large-scale collaborative research ventures;
- the diffusion of scientific results through publications, seminars, conferences, exchange visiting programs and scientific meetings at both national and international level;
- new and diversified outreach activities based on the concept of open science and innovation, through connections and interactions between the academic and the non-academic communities and knowledge bases.
CiTUA encourages a collaborative attitude among senior and junior researchers and doctoral students through the development and implementation of “research-training” sessions designed to promote dialogue and cross-fertilization between experiences and concepts. The emphasis on case studies and fieldwork (i.e. empirical reality) is understood as an opportunity to enrich and challenge the theoretical, methodological and cross-disciplinary frameworks and approaches.
CiTUA strategy involves a continuous process of exchange between researchers as part of an attempt to understand urban territories and their evolution in an ever-changing environment. This process considers the development of a basic framework of interrelated questions based on thematic issues or topics. Key questions provide a basis for the co-construction of a common aim or project shared by a group of researchers and justified based on the shared ground of the questions raised. The result is the identification of potential resources in which a project can be developed.
The development of a platform of collaboration allowing for the confrontation of connecting perspectives, disciplines and practical experiences, promotes external perspectives through interventions by experts or researchers and encourages dialogue. This enables researchers to appropriate the relevant knowledge, processes and resources and develop their own projects accordingly. It is precisely the process of capitalization of knowledge and the distinction between raw information and transmissible knowledge that will provide the understanding needed to achieve a degree of scientific autonomy.