Professor Julia Lourenço from the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, has recently visited the Lodge and gave two seminars, the first on "Cross Examination Analysis between European Planning Systems" and the second on "Quality of Life Analysis".

Julia graduated as a Civil Engineer at the University of Porto and thereafter worked for 10 years at the Regional Development Agency for the North of Portugal. In 1987 she was awarded a PhD at the Instituto Superior de Tecnologia in Lisbon and in 1989 took a postgraduate course at the Development Studies Institute in Le Hague. She has been Dean of Engineering Studies for the last two years at the University of Minho and is actively involved with research work on territorial planning.

Julia referred in her first Seminar to the importance of having a European approach to land-use planning. She said: "It is necessary to have an integrated and interdisciplinary approach taking into consideration economic, social, cultural and ecological policies in the territory".

Comparisons were carried out between planning strategies in Portugal, Spain, Netherlands and the UK, differentiating in the last case between the Planning policies in England and Scotland.

She commented on the planning process and the urban growth areas presenting a series of interesting case studies. Julia said that, "Planning processes are affected by political commitments, technical capacity and cultural understanding. The Netherlands and Scotland are two countries, which prepared long term development plans. These plans exist only in local areas in the case of countries such as Portugal and Spain, for instance".

Julia also referred to the importance of innovation in the Planning Process and the factors which are decisive in this regard, such as land-use, accessibility, feasibility studies, development, global policies, land policies, institutional arrangements and intersectional consensus. She said: "Perception of innovation is a critical factor in the planning process". Julia is also working in the development and application of land-use planning models.

The second Seminar presented the results of a study carried out to evaluate and research the main eighteen towns in Portugal in terms of the Quality of Life. The study was sponsored by the government and published by the Institute of Civil Engineers of Portugal. She discussed the results and the application of the study for development purposes.

Julia collaborates with other activities of WIT, including serving as a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Management Information Systems Conference and the conferences on Sustainable City and Brownfields, the latter two being new initiatives of the Institute.