domenica 18 ottobre 2009


The second edition of the University of Ferrara EcoPolis International Master program has presented its findings and recommendations for the third and final workshop/research project of the year. The project, titled SUAPE Global / SUAPE Local; O Caminho Sinuoso do Desenvolvimento Integrado (A Winding Path Towards Integrated Development), was a big success, and well received by our local institutional clients/partners. The final presentation was the culmination of four weeks of site research and report preparation (from September 15th thru October 13th), working with local and federal institutions to develop projects and policy proposals for long-range sustainable planning efforts related to the SUAPE International Port development project on the Pernambuco coast. The port area represents one of the largest current investments for the Brazilian federal government, and the federally owned PETROBRAS oil company.

The project team of approximately 30 students and tutors worked closely with consultants from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and benefited tremendously from the generous support of the Brazilian business development agency, SEBRAE (at both the regional and federal level). As a final outcome of the project, EcoPolis’ produced a 119 page document full of information about how the federal, state and municipal governments can better capitalize on the tremendous amount of investment and attention that has been afforded the Pernambuco region as a result of activities related to the SUAPE Port development.

For the fieldwork and analysis phase, the project participants were divided into five focus groups, strategically capitalizing on the multidisciplinary strengths of each of the team members:

• Governance and Institutions
• Urban dynamics
• Economics
• Region and Environment
• Geographic Information Systems

Following a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, a series of Negative Scenarios were developed to highlight how existing weaknesses, if left unaddressed, could develop into major regional threats. Similarly, through the identification of local strengths and “best practices”, a series of potential opportunities were identified. This exercise led to the formulation of key arguments and approaches for the development of new sustainable regional planning strategies. The final strategies were articulated into a hierarchy of:

• Regional planning tools – for improving the implementation of existing large-scale governance strategies
• Technical methods – offering innovative approaches for addressing more specific urban planning and management activities;
• Specific projects – building off of local opportunities as well as “best practices” identified in other parts of the world, but applicable in the regional context; and finally
Specific proposals – that could act as the first steps towards realization of the larger project goals and vision for more sustainable regional development.

Each tool, method, project and proposal was elaborated in detail, contextualized in the context of the local opportunities and constraints, identifying synergies with other project proposals, and providing reference and bibliographical information (as appropriate) for further study.

The final report (in PDF format) is available for download here, as well as on the EcoPolis website; under information about Edition II of the program.