Using Visual Methodologies to Understand the Urban Cultural Landscape

  • Marluci Menezes Anthropologist, PhD, Research Officer in the Social Ecology Division (NESO) of the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering (LNEC)
  • Judith Allen Principal Lecturer in Urban Regeneration, School of Architecture and the Built Environment University of Westminster
  • Lia Vasconcelos Architect, MCP, PhD, Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, New University of Lisbon


This reflection explores the advantages of using visual methodologies to understand the urban cultural landscape, focusing on the use and appropriation of public space by immigrants. We based this discussion on an exploratory study developed for the Praça República in Ericeira, within the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, that identified specific characteristics of the use and appropriation of urban public space by Brazilian immigrants. It identifies five advantages arising from the use of visual methodologies: (1) the process of collection and registration of information; (2) multiple possibilities of articulation between the visual techniques of observation and analysis and the interpretation techniques for other information collected; (3) enhancing inter/multidisciplinary potential through the working methodologies; (4) improving the capacity to respond to urban social diversity and complexity; (5) the potential for mapping the social practices of immigrants.

Urbanism and Urban Design