Created in 1970, PROPUR – the Post-Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) – is one of the oldest programs of this type in Brazil. The evolution of PROPUR has reflected the diverse challenges of urban and regional planning and development in Brazil over the past half century. During this time, PROPUR has become an important center both for urban research and for educating and training many urban professionals who go on to work for governments in Brazil at the municipal, state, and federal levels, as well as for national and international organizations addressing urban policy issues. PROPUR continues to maintain its leading role in Brazil diffusing knowledge and research related to urbanism. PROPUR is connected to the Urban Planning Department of the Faculty of Architecture at UFRGS. The ongoing involvement of UFRGS professors from many schools and departments representing different areas of knowledge helps establish a multidisciplinary character, through collaborative relationships with Architecture, History, Economics, Geography, Engineering, Sociology, Law, and several others. In addition to the Masters and Doctoral courses, six specialization courses are offered related to Urban Planning, Urban Design, and Transportation Planning, as well as several additional courses and extension activities.

The Master’s Degree seeks to meet the demands of advanced studies on urbanization, aiming to promote the development of theoretical, methodological, and professional foundations for urban studies. In this sense, the program is directed towards the qualification of teachers, researchers, and professionals engaged in urban scientific and technical production. The Master’s courses recognize that urban studies involves a variety of complex approaches and multidisciplinary frameworks. It draws from students with undergraduate education generally related to urban issues, including architects, engineers, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, lawyers, and economists.

PROPUR has had a significant impact in Rio Grande do Sul. Many teachers of architecture and urbanism at universities throughout the state are connected with UFRGS, both as former students, and as academic and professional colleagues engaged in continuing education and research. In addition to Rio Grande do Sul, PROPUR has received many students from other states in Brazil, mainly from Santa Catarina, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Distrito Federal, and Pará, as well as students from other countries including Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and Mexico, thus contributing at a regional, national and Latin American level with educating teachers and researchers who introduced newly acquired knowledge into their courses and applied innovative new methodologies of urban and regional analysis.

In 2004 PROPUR initiated a Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning to expand its capabilities for providing more advanced education, research, and professional training, and respond more effectively to the needs of society for improving state-of-the-art knowledge in sustainable urban development.

PROPUR participates in the PROEX/CAPES Academic Excellence Program, committed to maintaining high standards of academic quality for university graduate programs rated 6 or 7. The resources of PROEX/CAPES support the operations of this program, in addition to providing scholarships for students at the masters, doctorate and PNPD (National Postdoctoral Program) levels. PROPUR also benefits from resources provided by the Faculty of Architecture and by the central administration of UFRGS, especially for general infrastructure and for research support.

PROPUR also is part of the DOCASUR Network (South American Public Universities Architectural and Urbanism Doctorates Network), together with other universities in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. DOCASUR helps coordinate efforts to promote excellence in doctoral teaching for PhDs in Architecture, Urbanism, and Urban and Regional Planning at public universities in South America.

In 2018 UFRGS developed its Institutional Internationalization Project, PRINT-UFRGS, as part of its Institutional Development Plan (PDI). PROPUR participates in PRINT through two of its major themes — theme 1: sustainable development, diversity, climate change, and environmental, social and economic sustainability (including ethical and legal aspects); and theme 6: smart cities, complex urbanization, industry 4.0, and the sharing economy.

Faculty from the following universities are participating in the PRINT program with PROPUR:

  • University of Duisburg/Germany
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology/USA
  • Texas A&M University/USA
  • School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences/France
  • University of Castilla-La Mancha/Spain
  • Institute for Urban and Regional Planning/Germany
  • Washington University/USA
  • Washington State Transportation Research Center/USA
  • La Sapienza University/Italy
  • University of Texas at San Antonio/USA
  • National Laboratory of Civil Engineering/Portugal
  • University of Huddersfield/UK
  • Bologna University/Italy
  • University College London/UK2