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PSP supports academic research for students and faculty via grants, travel fellowships and supported coursework. The following directory links to online research summaries and reports available for download.

Student Research
Faculty Investigations




Spring 2009

LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes

Spring 2007

LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes

Spring 2006


ARCH200B Architecture Studio

Spring 2005


LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes



LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes, Spring 2009

Ribeira Barcarena mouth at Caxias

In Spring 2009, the Mediterranean-Climate Landscapes course focused on the Ribeira Barcarena, which flows southward through the Sintra and Oeiras municipalities to debouch into the Atlantic Ocean along the Estoril Coast. Since 1970, the region has urbanized rapidly and largely without planning, resulting in large populations in dense suburbs underserved by open space and other amenities. The Ribeira Barcarena (referred to as the Jardas in its upstream reaches in Sintra) presents multiple opportunities for ecological enhancement and for reconnecting human populations with their river. Workshop results are presented in:

Kondolf, G.M., K. Podolak, and A. Gaffney (editors). 2010. From High Rise to Coast: Revitalizing Ribeira da Barcarena. Water Resources Center Report No.210, and Report WP 2010-01, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, and Institute of European Studies Publication 1102, University of California, Berkeley.



LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes, Spring 2007

Portugal Water Framework DirectiveIn Spring 2007, the course focused on the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), a law adopted by the EU in 2000, and its implementation in Mediterranean countries. The WFD represents a bold change in river management, emphasizing catchment-scale analysis, public participation and envinronmental economic approaches. It requires EU member states to document substantial progress toward improving water quality and aquatic ecology in their rivers by specific deadlines. Its implementation is of great interest to water resource managers worldwide as it recommends management changes that have been discussed for a century but have faced institutional and political barriers, especially in the United States.

At the international workshop held in Bombarral, Portugal between May 25 to June 1, 2007, students from the UC Berkeley and the Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa investigated how the EU’s Water Framework Directive might impact a local community in the agricultural region of the Rio Real Basin, northwest of Lisbon.

Student presentations focused on how the Water Framework Directive may impact regional water issues related to:

The workshop publication, A Living Mediterranean River: Restoration and Management of the Rio Real in Portugal to Achieve Good Ecological Conditionpresents a comparitive analysis of the EU and Californian policy and illustrates students' ideas about how Portugal's Rio Real basin can meet the framework's regulated goals.



Arch 200B Studio, Spring 2006

PortugalEach Year, Berkeley's Graduate Architecture 200B Studio, the second component of a year-long introductory design course, focuses the bulk of its pedagogy on an architecturally rich international locale. Portugal was chosen as a destination in 2006, primarily on account of its innovative vernacular building tradition, its critical role in the Modernist movement, and the particularly intimate relationship between its built environment and the landscape.

The students’ final design project was a winery and vineyard to be located on a hilly wooded slope near Healdsburg, California for a Portuguese- American client who wanted to incorporate aspects of Portuguese architecture and its characteristic integration into the landscape.

The class, consisting of twenty-two Berkeley CED graduate students and their two professors, spent spring break in Portugal conducting field work on Portuguese architecture. They focused on the Douro wine region, drawing on the country’s wealth of architectural strategies and material techniques.

PortugalStudents had organized themselves into research groups to familiarize themselves with Portugal’s history, geography, and culture on local, regional, and global scales. They distilled their analyses into a handy spiral bound travel pamphlet that could accompany and supplement field research outings.

The Berkeley students were impressed with the remarkably idiosyncratic means Lisbon and Porto have addressed their waterfronts while “climbing the hillside” behind: the dense layering of their vertical urban development serves as a useful counterpoint to the studio’s ultimate resource, the terraced hills of the Douro Valley. The students explored cultural and physical relationships of Portuguese architecture to landscape and site. In this vein, vernacular architecture proved especially poignant and pertinent, but several modern works—in particular the work of Alvaro Siza—impacted the group’s design dynamic with equal import. Photographs and sketches from the students’ notebooks show how they reacted to the landscape and its built forms, leading to their designs for the site in Healdsburg.



LA229 Mediterranean Climate Landscapes, Spring 2005

In Spring 2005, the pilot course focused on strategies for revitalizing waterways in the rapidly urbanizing region west of Lisbon. Students from UC Berkeley joined with students at University of Lisbon to apply methods pursued in the Bay Area to two urban watersheds near Lisbon, the Laje and the Jamor. The watersheds have been drastically altered by two successive construction booms along the rolling plateaus which sit above deeply-incised river valleys. Within these valleys, the streams remain largely undeveloped and afford opportunities for restoartion adn a recreation corridor from the upland urban areas to the coast.

Urban Streams ResearchAs teams analyzed opportunities and developed proposals for the stream corridors, common themes emerged: reconnecting people to the streams by integrating sustainable (and often traditional) technologies into the urbanized landscape to restore natural systems and revealing a story of cultural heritage which grew from the area's unique natural resources.

A report New Life For Urban Streams (.pdf) was published to document the student work and broaden the audience for their ideas.



December 2015

Julianne Chou

Summer 2015


Kirsten Jurich and Katie McKnight

Summer 2015


Kyle Thomson

Summer 2015


Adrian Rios

Summer 2015


Felix Trevino

Fall 2008


Alex Westoff

Fall 2008


Nadine Soubotin

Summer 2008


Katie Jagt

Summer 2008

Jane Wardani

July 2008


Lindsey Fransen

June 2008


Kristen Podolak

Spring 2008

Assimilation, Isolation and Religion in Porto's African Communities

James Beard

Spring 2008


Naomi Leite

Summer 2007


Arielle Simmons

Summer 2007


Rebecca Leonardson and Rosey Jencks



Julianne Chou

Click here to read the paper.



Kirsten Jurich and Katie McKnight

Click here to read the paper.



Kyle Thomson

This report is being submitted as requested by the Portuguese Studies Program at UC Berkeley for receipt of a Summer Research Grant.

This summer I participated in the Fundação Luso-americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD)'s inaugural session of the Study in Portugal Network (SiPN) study abroad program. I was enrolled in an Intensive Portuguese Language Course as well as an Internship with the Galeria de Arte Urbana at the offices of the Departamento do Património Cultural da Câmara de Lisboa. In addition to this work, I also conducted personal research related to the Salazar years and the Transition period. This was a summer full of fruitful study and research that wouldn't have been possible without the aid of my Summer Research Grant.

In order to improve my fluency in Portuguese I decided to enroll in an Intensive Portuguese course through SiPN. The course, held at CIAL language academy in Lisbon, was focused on helping our small class gain advanced competency by the end of our month of study. Having been placed in the C1 class, I was pleased to see my skills advancing as the month progressed, and at the end of the course I was delighted to pass the academy's C1 proficiency exam.

In addition to the language class, I decided that completing an internship would both help me gain practical language skills in an immersion environment and allow me to learn more about the public art of the Revolução dos Cravos as well as the state of contemporary public art in Lisbon.

In reality, the internship involved translating and editing several issues of the Gallery's magazine as well as an important Fact Sheet, which engaged me in the intense and worthwhile task of negotiating meaning between English and Portuguese. The internship experience benefited me in several ways: first, my language skills improved due to my exposure to and involvement in an authentic work environment with authentic language use; second, I was able to train my translation and editing skills; third, I learned about the history and current state of public art in Lisbon and in a broader European context; finally, working with this topic thrust me into Lisbon's urban landscape, where I was able to study the theme of public memory and its expression through the arts, which is a guiding theme of my interdisciplinary research in post-dictatorship Southern Europe.

Finally, this Summer Grant gave me the opportunity to conduct research related to the late years of the dictatorship (with a focus on translation), the Revolução dos Cravos, and the public memory of the latter period in contemporary culture. In order to do this, two institutions were invaluable to my research: the Galeria de Arte Urbana, which provided me an inside look into the world of contemporary public art in Portugal, and the Arquivo Nacional, which provided me with access to government files and reports related to the censorship of film and literature during the later Salazar years. This material will help me with my greater comparative project on translation, censorship, and the traffic of literature in Southern European twentieth-century dictatorships as well as with my interest in art and literature before, during, and after transitionary periods of the twentieth century. I will continue to develop this research as I move closer to my dissertation, and more immediately it will help me focus my interests in issues in (Southern) European Studies.



Adrian Rios

Jacarandá TreeHi everyone! My name is Adrián and am a fourth-year Spanish and Portuguese major at UC Berkeley. During the summer of 2015, I had the privilege of being awarded with the Portuguese Studies Program fellowship to study abroad in Lisbon, Portugal, through a program called SiPN. This program was developed by the Luso-American Foundation for Development (FLAD) and I had the honor of being one their students over the summer. I would like to share my experience with you and let you know that Portugal is a beautiful country full of culture.

The generosity of the Fundação Luso-Americana I was able to fulfill a long-desired goal of studying Portuguese abroad. SiPN offers several options on courses you can take and they are taught by great professors from both the US and Portugal. Even though I wanted to take more than one course, I decided to sign up only for one about Portuguese Migrations so that I could learn but also have free time to explore the wonders of Portugal! Our headquarters was located at ISCTE, a university close to downtown Lisbon. There, we would meet with other SiPN students and would have a great discussion on the topics seen in class. A great resource when taking a class about the country you’re studying, while abroad, is the opportunity to actually see and learn from the physical space. We would explore museums about Portuguese history, and the influence they had on the world. For instance, at the National Museum of Ancient Art, we were able to study the biombos from the Japanese and their depiction of Portuguese sailors. For this, the op-portunity to see and learn all this while in Lisbon is a great experience that I encourage everyone to take.

LisbonSiPN placed me in an European-style old house that have been built in the XVIII century. For me this was an amazing place because it made me feel immediately immerse in the culture. I had always dreamed of living in an old house full of history and memories! I consider myself to be very lucky because not only did I live a daily life in such a beautiful place, but I also made great friends there. In the common space, I met other Portuguese and foreign students that also lived in the house. Thanks to this I was able to make friends from different places around the globe. Moreover, being in Lisbon over the summer with its beautiful weather and its astonishing landscapes gave the chance to witness the Festival of Santo Antonio and Festas de Lisboa. There are several events happening throughout the city and through the whole month of June. It is definitely one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve been to.

Pastel de nata from BelemPortugal is not only beauty though, it’s a country with many traditions and a splendid cuisine. You have to eat all you can! However, even though I enjoyed all the food while there, my favorite are always the pastries. In Belem, there’s a famous place where you can find pasteis de nata, the traditional crunchy-smoothy dessert freshly made! This is definitely one of the most delightful moments of my life.




Festas de Lisboa!SiPN also had great trips planned for us! You’ll discover some islands in the Atlantic, the country-side in a small town called Évora and immerse yourself in the whole culture by going to different places! For instance, one day my friends and I decided to go to Sintra, a beautiful town outside of Lisbon. There, we climbed one castle that’s been there for over a millennium now!



Castelo dos mouros, SintraOn top of all that, traveling in Portugal is super easy! For instance, from Lisbon to Porto there’s a train that will take you there in less than 3 hours! If you happen to go to Porto, which I highly recommend, you have to try their dish, francesinha, and their sweet wines! The city is also home to many Harry Potter inspiring moments since the author used to live in this city! With this said, I guarantee I spent a magnificent summer abroad in Lisbon learning not only lan-guage, but also history, culture, places, and completely immersing myself and discovering the wonders of Portugal!



Bookstore in Porto













Investigation report
Felix Trevino

As a part of my PhD and academic investigation, I'm interested in researching about representations of violence and bodies in literature and electronic literature. A fundamental part of this investigation, in order to get a better perspective about the different complexities involved, is researching about Latin-American and European literature. Brazil and Portugal are then an important part of my scholarly project. Even though I already had some training in Portuguese language, all of it was in the Brazilian version. I was lacking an important perspective of the knowledge about the language that comes from Europe version.

During the Summer 2015, I used the support, generously granted by the Portuguese Studies Program at UC Berkeley, to go abroad and participate in a fully immersive and intensive Portuguese language and culture course. Offered by the prestigious Universidade de Lisboa (Lisbon University) and by the Centro de Linguas (CIAL) (Language Center), the classes allowed me to understand better not just the language but also the history and culture embedded in it.

There are no words good enough to describe the experience of studying in Portugal. Not just Lisbon, but the cities around it, some of them declared by the UNESCO as a cultural heritage of the humanity, present an extremely lovely combination between tradition and modernity. Their streets, build with rock and surrounded by medieval cathedrals and houses, contrast with the cutting edge technology presented in some museums and investigations centers.

But perhaps the best part about Portugal was its people. Everybody was willing to help me to make my day better with a smile in their faces. Not leaving aside the food, which was just phenomenal. I will always have the Portuguese in my brain, but Portugal in my heart.



Alex Westoff, Fall 2008

Sailboat within the estuaryThe Southern Tagus Estuary near the Lisbon Metropolitan Area of Portugal presents many paralells to the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta near the San Francisco Metropolitan Area of California which was the subject of my master's thesis, The Sacramento Delta National Heritage Corridor. Both estuaries area face urbanization pressures due to their proximity to growing metropolitan areas, and yet their potential value as tourism destinations seem unrealized. While both Portuguese and Californian governments recognize tourism as a strategic tool for economic development, by designating these estuaries as conservation areas with recreational and environmental uses, many other benefits can realized, such as curbing urban sprawl.



Estuaro de TejoFor my research in Portugal, I investigated areas of the Tagus Estuary with potential as tourist destinations. This region could incorporate a wide variety of tourism types: ecotourism, agritourism and cultural heritage tourism. I visted the Reserva Natural Estuario do Tejo and Salinas do Samouico, Campanhia das Lezirias, Seixal, Alochete, and Palhoto. Representatives from Turismo de Portugal and Turismo do Lisboa helped me understand current strategies for tourism development, opportunities in the Estuary region, and limitiations in the current approaches. Like the Delta Region of California, many opportunities for attracting visitors to the unique natural and cultural resources of these diverse and beautiful estuaries are being overlooked.

The full research report, Prospects and Limitations of Tourism Development in the Southern Tagus Estuary, Portugal, explains my methods, summarizes my case studies of the Reserva Natural, Alochete and Campanhia deas Lezirias, and presents conclusions from my research.

This research was supported by a grant from the University of California Pinto-Fialon Endowment, administered by the Portuguese Studies Program. I am grateful to Professor Matt Kondolf of University of California Berkeley for his support and guidance throughout the project. I would also like to thank my Portuguese hosts for all of the hospitality and resources they provided me with; Pedro Pinto, Paulo Cambra, Graca Saraiva, Isabel Ramos, and Renata Lajas.



Nadine Soubotin, Fall 2008

Porto's WaterfrontBy examining three successful Portuguese waterfronts from the perspective of social activity, as in the use of space, anad spatial analysis, as in the dimensions of the waterfront's edge, I hoped to develop guidelines for improving waterfront site design and programming as tools for improving the quality of public life and increasing direct interaction with water in urban environments.

I spent three weeks, from the end of August into the month of September 2007, conducting field research, collecting data, and interviewing project stakeholders. I sought out waterfronts with diverse public uses: Cais de Ribeira and GaiaPolis, in Porto, and the Mondego Green Park in Coimbra. Specifically, field research included

  • mapping, measuring and observing the waterfront site and social life,
  • gathering social activity data by conducting weekend stationary activity studies at three times of day (noting time of day, number of people present, location on the waterfront, and activity),
  • dimensioning and noting materiality of the public space (especially surface materials located at points of egress to the water), measuring vertical changes in elevation and illustrating a site plan and cross-sectional drawings.

Fishing on the Rio MondegoThe Cais de Ribeira and GaiaPolis waterfront face one another across the Duoro River. Their location, and their history, one of being an aged public space and the other being new, creates a dynamic contrast. Beyond the entertainment and dining draw of the riverfront’s dramatic setting, the Cais de Ribeira waterfront encourages non-commercial social interaction between its diverse user groups. A series of accessible methods of touching the water encourages people to make contact and to create local traditions.

The waterfront of the Ribeira consists of a series of public spaces at different elevations and slopes: the Cais de Ribeira promenade, the elevated walkway, the tower base, and the steps and ramp down to the water. The elevational complexity allows the user to have more choices - how to view the water, whether they would enjoy more privacy and how they would like to access the water. Programmed activities exist on each level. This element of visibility along the waterfront creates a sense of safety for the visitor.


Porto WaterfrontThe recently-constructed Mondego Green Park in Coimbra is situated approximately half a mile away from the historic gateway into the city, the Largo de Portagem. Designed by Landscape Architect Camilo Cortesão, the project’s vision is to integrate the river with the city, and to give the riverfront a public life. The design focuses the nucleus of social activity closest to the city and its intensity decreases as the distance between the park and city increase.

The public space along the waterfront consists of a structural embankment, leaving few opportunities to reach the level of the river. The boardwalk along the northern edge provides an opportunity to formally dine or to informally dangle ones at the water’s edge while the soft edge creates a place to picnic or to gather for group activities. The southern waterfront's series of cantilevered boardwalks over the river provide only one bench and create a more intimate setting.

The northern waterfront hosts a series of small, programmed events, such as soccer games, story telling for children, and boat rides, whereas the quietude of the southern design promotes recreational fishing. A pavilion supplement the ‘passive experience’ design intent through their daily programming, and hosting of reading and learning materials. For instance, the lending library, in addition to providing literature, loans chairs, pillows and mats to take outdoors for their comfort.

My observations and analysis of these waterfront sites led to more developed ideas about:

  • How to draw visitors and diverse levels of recreation
  • How to promote stopping and standing
  • How to promote users to interact with the water directly
  • How to encourage users to site
  • How to encourage dining

A full research report, available for download via this link,

provides more detailed conclusions as well as supporting site plans, cross-sections, edge dimensioning, and activity charts.


BOCA DO RIO: A Study of Portuguese Foz

Katie Jagt, Summer 2008
Rio OndaSmall coastal lagoons represent critical fish habitat at the intersection of ocean waters and freshwater streams. In the summer of 2008, I spent five weeks along the beautiful Portuguese coast studying "foz," the Portuguese term for estuary or river mouth. My project focused on determining the characteristics of closed and open coastal lagoons and the implications on land, water resource and coastal management strategies for threatened salmon and steelhead fish species.

At over 30 river mouths (from Vila Praia de Âncora near the Spanish border in the north to Lagos in the Algarve) I measured salt content, collected sand samples, and evaluated river flow, beach topography, river morphology and the presence of bluffs or rocks along the coastline. With aerial photographs, I examined the shape of the coastline and the aspect of the beach with respect to north.

Rio OndaIn Mediterranean climates, river flows typically decreases through the summer months and after re-visiting the sites a few weeks later, I found that many of the rivers with low flows that were open in the first survey, were closed. This leads to the conclusion that there is a natural order and progression of lagoon closure along the Portuguese coast. In reviewing the factors examined between sites, the variables that correlate most significantly with an open or closed foz include sand size, beach steepness, the velocity of river flow, and the angle of the beach with respect to north. Variables that have weak correlations with if a closed lagoon forms are the degree of mixing of fresh and saltwater in the estuary, the shape of the coastline (if the coast is concave, convex, or straight), the width of the beach, and the location on the beach where the river enters the ocean. Variables that have little to no correlation with if a foz is open or closed include the beach length, the shape of the river as it runs across the beach and enters the ocean, the length of the river on the beach, and the presence of rocks and bluffs at the river mouth.

This research experience has helped me understand the suite of characteristics that are common to small coastal lagoons. From this point forward, I can pose more sophisticated questions about the processes that drive the formation of these biologically important features of Mediterranean-climate Rivers.

A full report on my research, Boca do Rio: A Study of Portuguese Foz (.pdf)further explains my research intentions, methods, results and conclusions along with more photographs and figures.

I would like to thank the Pinto-Fialon Endowment for the grant to perform this research and the Portuguese Studies Program for supporting my research along the beautiful Portuguese coast.



Jane Wardani

Major Rivers of PortugalView of Colmbra and Rio Mondego circa 1669






The purpose of my research was to evaluate local stakeholder satisfaction of an urban river rehabilitation project in the city of Coimbra (population 100,000). Parque Verde do Rio Mondego was part of the Programma Polis, a national urbanism project that revitalized riverfront areas in 17 cities across Portugal.


In my research, I interviewed five local stakeholders in Coimbra with structured in-depth interviews which focused on six main concerns. These were: overall satisfaction and general recommendations, satisfaction with equipment and programming of Polis project, impact on the historical center, economic/cultural/tourism impact of the Polis project, accessibility from various parts of town, and the connection between the right and left banks of the river. The stakeholders were experts in environmental and urban issues, are knowledgeable about Coimbra, and were more or less directly involved with the Polis project.

I also made informal observations during my one-week stay in Coimbra. I visited and photographed Parque Verde, other urban parks in Coimbra, as well as other local points of interest as directed by interviewees along the process. I visited Lisbon and Porto for three days each to get a general sense of other cities with well-integrated and well-used waterfront areas and carry out informal observations.


Coimbra Polis Master Plan

  • The polis project has had little impact on Coimbra's historic center.Given the river’s role in the history of Coimbra, and the historical connection between the river and the city,the river is fragmented from the Alta and the Baxia areas as well as the Botanical Gardens without a clear pedestrian or public transit connection. Along the train station, for example, the river is starkly separate despite the close proximity. The downtown/Baixa area underwent depopulation as more affordable housing options became available in the mid 20th century. The Baixa still appears depopulated and neglected with businesses facing competition from modern shopping malls on the outskirts of the historic center. Old structures are difficult to renovate and incentive programs lack sustained funding. However, the creation of Parque Verde by the Polis program has not played a significant role in these rehabilitation efforts, according to the stakeholders interviewed.

Parque Verde Plan

  • Polis project added value to the Rio Mondego and the quality of life of Coimbra residents. All interviewees thought the Polis project in Coimbra contributed to a large extent to the development of the city by re-integrating the river into the urban fabric while providing a much-needed outdoor leisure space of high quality. Most interviewees thought the Polis project has enhanced the river’s value in the eyes of the city’s residents, thus achieving the program’s goal of revalorizing the river. The river is now accessible and open for people to enjoy after 20 years of neglect and poor image. The project made the river a part of people’s everyday lives, inviting residents to observe the river or otherwise reconnect with nature in a relaxed and relevant setting, especially during the late afternoons and the weekends, engaging families with children, individuals seeking quiet time, and other adults in various corners including a playground, jetties, exhibition spaces, a large event space, bars, and restaurants. Some suggested further intervention was needed to maximize the impact of the project, including monitoring and improving water quality and ecological integrity, developing connections and public accessibility to smaller streams that feed into the Mondego, and the regulation of current construction patterns to reduce the impact of sedimentation and land conversion.
  • Economic impact of the Polis project. All of the stakeholders I interviewed voiced displeasure at the rate of construction the project has apparently caused, citing the resulting problems of urban sprawl, increased demands on transportation and other infrastructure, and increased development pressure on greenfields and the destruction of open space. In anticipation of rising real estate values, the developer community engaged in a frenzy of land speculation and construction of high-rise luxury apartment buildings, resulting in an estimated 30% increase in the supply of housing units.

Exhibit Cubes

  • Plan for ongoing operation and maintenance lacking in Polis program. New physical spaces provided by the Polis project could benefit from more animation and regular programming. Exhibition cubes and event spaces were underused, while stakeholders pointed out the dearth of cultural activities and events in Coimbra. The lack of programming is perhaps a reflection of the disconnect between the use of space at the local level and the project planning and carried out at the national scale by the Polis program. Lawns and orange groves cover large areas of the park and are difficult and expensive to maintain at the local level without necessary funding support.
  • Parque Verde poorly connected to various parts of town, except by car. Access to the waterfront was an important objective of the Polis program. Due to the large parking lot, Parque Verde is most accessible by car. The park is a good 15-20 minutes’ walk from Largo de Portagem, through an older romantic riverfront park, Parque de Manuel Braga. The park is also not very accessible from other parts of town, with limited public transit options. However, one interviewee who was probably most involved with the project maintained that it was not difficult to get to the river from the historic center. Access on foot from Largo de Portagem to Parque Verde is complemented by the Linha Azul, the “Blue Line” bus that takes residents into the urban core.

Rio Mondeog Pedestrian Bridge

  • Reconnecting right and left banks through tourism development.Beyond the symbolic connection in the form of a pedestrian bridge, the Polis project has not done enough to narrow the historical gap between the right and left banks of the Mondego. The park on the right bank has received priority, evident in the number of facilities and users. A tourism development plan, as part of a “Polis II” of sorts, could potentially improve connection between existing urban green spaces and other tourism points of interest on the two banks of the Mondego, bringing in benefits for residents on both sides of the river.

I have created a blog at to provide more contextual details, photographs, and maps. The blog was disseminated to interviewees and colleagues in Portugal and is open to feedback. In addition, a research report is available:


Characterization and Recommendations for Ribeira de Valaderas and Ribeira Riguinha

Lindsey Fransen, July 2009

Water Quality Data at Ribeira RiguinhaPortugal’s coastal creeks face a number of pressures that often result in poor water quality, reduced habitat for native species, and the loss of a community amenity. The Water Framework Directive (WFD), passed by the European Union in 2000, calls for all members states to bring their water bodies to good ecological status by 2015. This project was undertaken to identify the status of coastal creeks in northern Portugal and, where shortcomings were found, to generate recommendations for improving the quality of these creeks under the WFD.

GIS data for two creeks, the Valadares and Riguinha. The study concludes that both creeks suffer from poor water quality in stretches due to urbanization, agriculture, and channelization. Both also provide little habitat for native species due to poor water quality and physical constraints brought about by modification of their channels. Neither creek provides notable aesthetic or recreational value to nearby communities, although both are used as a source of irrigation water for farmers along their banks.

Ribeira Valaderas BasinField studies were conducted and analyzed along with In both streams, to improve water quality, riparian habitat and native species, and aesthetic and recreational value to local communities, I recommend the following general interventions:

Reduce the introduction of pollution to the river by

  • Connecting remaining residences and commercial entities to the sewer system;
  • Creating buffer zones between agricultural fields and the stream;
  • Reducing and filtering urban runoff. Improve water quali ty in the stream before it reaches the sea by:
  • Developing wetlands and retention ponds with native vegetation;

Additionally, in Ribeira Riguinha, which flows underground for most of its length, I propose a new aboveground channel that will allow the creek to meander through and connect a series of parks until it reaches the sea.

Ribeira Valaderas

Download a printable version of this report

This research was supported by a generous grant from the University of California Pinto-Fialon Endowment, administered by the Portuguese Studies Program. The research was carried out in collaboration with the Atlas Ambiental das Ribeiras da Costa da RegiÃo Norte (“Ribeiras Atlas”) at the Faculdad de Engenheria, Universidad de Porto (FEUP), led by Professor Paulo Montero. Overall project supervision was provided by Professor Rodrigo Maia, FEUP. The Ribeiras Atlas project team of Ana Cristina Padilha, Andre Fonseca, and Tiago Gomes, developed all hydrological and geographical data used to create maps and flow estimates. Fieldwork was coordinated with the assistance of Pedro Teiga, PhD candidate, FEUP, who also provided overall guidance plus translation, transportation, equipment, and the monitoring framework. Thanks also to Ms. Padilha and Mr. Fonseca for help with fieldwork and creating additional maps and models.



Post Project Appraisal of Urban Rehabilitation at Three Polis Sites
Kristen Podolak, June 2008

Three Polis Sites StudiedIn June 2008, I traveled to three Portuguese cities, Leiria, Coimbra, and Braganca, which feature urban river rehabilitation as part of the Polis program of Portugal. I observed the range of human use of the river parks and compared the site designs to understand how design influences the use and overall success of the parks. Using post-project appraisal methods, I compiled information about the river parks and recorded people's use, the amount of shade, and the termperature to assess the success or failure of a project. While the three sites differ in surrounding population and river size, all the interventions are recent and shared similar costs.


The northern most part of Coimbra's river park abuts a densely overgrown area and the majority of park users approached from the city center. The project constructed a long and tall pedestrian walkway lining the two sides of the river park, with one bank featuring diverse programming while the other bank was fenced off for a special events venue. The Rio Mondego is wide and deep and the hydropower dam downstream blocks the flow so the water level is maintained in summer, despite its natural tendency to decrease, and causing the river to appear more like a like.



Winding through downtown, the River Lis is completely surrounded by the city of Leiria. Programmed park spaces line the banks. Where the bed and bank are natural and undeveloped, the flow moves through pools and riffles, however a sewage treatment plant's effluent obviously affects the water quality. In the downtown area, the river is straightened into a box channel with no perceptible flow due to the large downstream dam. Views from the downtown riverfront walkway include a castle atop the hill and the water about 12 feet below the trail. Access points to the water are limited to a floating dock and an overgrown ramp.


The steep river bank strongly defines this park which doesn not touch the new center of town which is separate from the historic center. The River Fervenca is covered in algae at the upstream end where a skate park appears little used. The park trail abuts industrial buildings and steep hills with limited views to the river due to dense vegetation. Braganca's river park design features a wide pool of water at its center with an extensive cement plaza and fountain. The trails at the end of the boardwalk section leads to the base of a castle, but trails are overgrown.

LeiriaThe spatial relationship between the city and the river, the amount of shade, and the access to water all appeared to impact the total number of park users and the types of use. Bridges may also increase the use of the site by providing access and allowing for easy passage on both sides. The desire to create wide expanses of water by damming up rivers may represent a cultural aesthetic preference, however, eutrophication in the river results from the still water leading to nutrient rich pools and algal blooms. Along with impaired water quality from sewage and contaminated runoff, the resulting river smells and colors may discourage in-stream activities. The river park’s ability to encourage social interactions, recreational uses, passive uses, and to reduce the urban heat island effect all justify the investment made in the Polis Programme. Given global warming, increasing temperatures, more people living in cities, and increasing gas prices, river parks provide an important local resource for urbanites. Understanding how design and planning determine the uses and ecological potential is necessary. The Water Framework Directive by the European Union requires heavily Portuguese Studies Program at University of California, Berkeley june 2008 9 li fe along river parks in portug al: post project appraisal of urban rehabili tation at three poli s sites student research report Kristen Podolak modified water bodies to achieve good ‘ecological potential’.

BragancaA full research report is available for download via this link:





Dissertation Research by James Beard

A seminarian prepares to join the parade of university studentsPorto is home to many Africans, but their lives are lived just beyond the general public´s threshold of recognition. These immigrants have not established ethnic neighborhoods, nor have they come to dominate any recognizable economic niches. While opportunities to socialize in groups of common origin are not prolific, some communities of Africans have coalesced in worship communities—Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim.

This research investigates the relationships between worshippers, their immigrant communities, their spiritual lives, and their shifting identities. Equally important are the connections of such relationships to a broader Portuguese social ethos, and how the variables of religious affiliation, race, and Portuguese national histories and mythologies have affected the immigrant experiences of Catholics, Protestants and Muslims from sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, the research engages with larger issues of immigration, reflecting on the impact of religious practice on processes of assimilation, integration, and isolation in immigrant communities and their host societies.

View the researcher's most up-to-date Dissertation Research Report (.pdf) for more discussion of how travels through Portugal have impacted this research.



Dissertation Research by Naomi Leite

Leite Research Naomi's research focuses on the Portuguese Jewish heritage and the construction of a modern marrano identity. Her research has required intensive study of the institutions and networks that support the individual and collective construction of the marrano identity through "multi-sited ethnography," a method that seeks to capture the whole of a large-scale phenomenon by cumulatively tracing its emergence in several geographically distinct sites.

Her fieldwork report (.pdf) provides more details.



Arielle Simmons, Summer 2007

Arundo DonaxThe Giant Reed, Arundo donax, is an invasive riparian perennial hydrophyte that aggressively creates "cane-like" clumps and colonies that can encroach on river channels and floodplains, especially in Mediterranean climates. Its spread introduces a host of problems from displacing native riparian vegetation, to increasing fire risk and reducing flood conveyance capacity.

Portugal has no formal management or prevention techniques in place to deal with the impacts and spread of Arundo, yet my three weeks of research efforts showed that Arundo has an extensive and far-reaching presence in Portuguese river catchments. In order indentify political and technical strategies to effectively manage Arundo in Portugal, I researched the extent of infestation via mapping (using GIS and aerial photographs), gauged cultural perceptions of Arundo, identified legislative and economic resources with potential for intiating and sustaining Arundo removal efforts, and articulated removal procedures.

Based on my Arundo mapping effort in Rio Real and site visits made at the Laje and Sado basins, I concluded that the extent of Arundo infestation in Portugal was extreme and much greater than the overall extent in California.

The EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) could possibly provide the necessary motivational framework for instigating and enforcing Arundo removal in Portugal. Since Arundo is a non-native invasive species which thrives and creates disturbance in the riparian corridor, the presence of Arundo in Portugal comprises the morphological quality and ability for Portuguese rivers to pass the WFD’s "good ecological status" test.

Based on the plant’s dispersal method (i.e. downstream distribution of reproductive material during flood events), I found that removal should be conducted after the flood season in late spring and early summer. Removal efforts should begin upstream and continue downstream. Mechanical removal efforts, such as uprooting the entire plant or cutting the above ground biomass and covering it with tarps, were selected as being the least environmentally damaging methods of removing Arundo. Bank stabilization methods should be utilized to decrease erosion and protect Portugal’s levee structure.

The details of my research methods and results are available in the report

In addition, research on the extent of Arundo's presence in the Rio Real basin is discussed in the chapter, "The Giant Reed," within the document

This research was supported by a grant from the University of California Pinto-Fialon Endowment, administered by the Portuguese Studies Program (PSP). Special appreciation goes out to Matt Kondolf (UCB), Clara Landeiro (ITL), Eike Flebbe (ITL), Cecilia Simões (ITL), Melissa Parker (UCB), Ilídio Moreira (ISA), and Teresa Ferreira (ISA) for their time and guidance in this collaborative work.



Rebecca Leonardson and Rosey Jencks

Urbanized uplands of the Rio Laje near OeirasUrban water management in Portugal will grow increasingly challenging over the 21st century, due to the combination of urbanization and climate change. Development of high-density housing and commercial areas increases both the probability and the economic costs of flooding. Climate change will reduce overall water supply. We propose to address both of these issues in the Laje River basin by harvesting stormwater for domestic use. We developed three models to estimate the effects of urbanization and moderate implementation of cisterns on streamflow:

  • a precipitation model,
  • a rainfall-runoff model,
  • and a cistern usage model.

These models are applied to precipitation records from a recent wet year (1989-90) and a recent dry year (2005-06). During these model runs, it was estimated that urbanization from 1983-2008 would increase peak runoff by up to 35% in the wet year and 85% in the dry year.

Assuming a 2008 level of development, implementation of cisterns into high-rise residential buildings would reduce peak flow by an average of 4% in the wet year and 0.5% during the dry year. Furthermore, cistern use was found to supplement water supply by 0.25 million cubic meters (mcm) during the dry year and 0.36 mcm during the wet year, or 3% and 5% of the in-building annual water demand. However, cistern use also reduces base flow levels in the basin, which can negatively affect the aquatic and riparian ecology. It is recommended that infiltration is increased in other projects in the basin in conjunction with cistern use, in particular routing the cistern overflow into infiltration basins.

research summary (.pdf) outlines stormwater management approaches and analysis for the Laje basin.



Universidade de Berkeley estudou Alqueva durante uma semana

Professor Mathias Kondolf


ORGANIZING FOR VOICE: Immigrant Communities in the South Bay

Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology



Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology



Crystal Ward Simons and G. Mathias Kondolf



Professor Alexandre Bayen



Don Warrin, PhD



Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology



Professor Mathias Kondolf

Click here to read an article about Professor Mathias Kondolf and his students in Portugal.



On-going Research by Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology

This project examines Portuguese, Vietnamese, Mexican and Indian organizations in the Silicon Valley area of south San Francisco Bay. The project seeks to document and explain differences in the degree to which immigrants and their descendents can organize, including the creation of official nonprofit 501c3 organizations, and the degree to which local officials recognize and view these organizations as legitimate actors in local political decision-making.



On-going Research by Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology

This project considers immigrant communities’ civic visibility in the local mainstream media. To what extent are immigrants found in the pages of local newspapers, and how are they portrayed? This project is based on content analysis of newspaper coverage from 1985-2005 of three immigrant groups (Portuguese, Vietnamese, Indian) in four major local broadsheets located in the cities of San Jose, Boston, Toronto, and Vancouver. The project team is considering how frequently these groups appear in local news over time, the amount of newsprint devoted to them, the centrality of the group to the article, and, most importantly, the way the group is presented. We juxtapose these trends with changing demographics of the cities, which all saw significant inflows of immigrants since 1985.



Faculty Research by Crystal Ward Simons and G. Mathias Kondolf

The Naturtejo Geopark (recognized by UNESCO in 2006) aims to revitalize a region of eastern Portugal with an important geological heritage and a rich cultural history. In May 2011, graduate students from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley partnered with anthropology, geology and landscape architecture students from the Universities of Minho (Braga) and Fernando Pessoa (Porto) to understand the dynamic relationships between geology, culture, economics and eco-tourism from an interdisciplinary perspective; and to recommend sustainable development strategies that support the region’s future.

Click here to read the full paper.



Faculty Research by Professor Alexandre Bayen

Bayeh Research TeamEstuarine environments pose many challenging questions for researchers.

The movement and mixing of tidally-driven salt water is often critical for both ecological reasons as well as the management objectives for the system. The mixing and transport of contaminants is also important. Our research focuses on developing novel sensor technologies for estuarine environments. Our sensor platforms move with the water in the river, both in “passive” mode (drifting with the water) and “active” mode (using propulsion to control the sensor’s trajectory).

Bayeh Research TeamIn cooperation with the Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory at Porto University, we are developing a heterogeneous fleet of active sensors. Using a combination of a large number of low-mobility devices (built by UC Berkeley) and a small number of high-mobility devices (built by LSTS Porto), our fleet will be able to gather data in the environment, then adjust its own deployment to focus on the most important points.



Faculty Research by Don Warrin, PhD

Whaling, at one time, was the fifth industry in importance in the United States. In the late eighteenth century, it attracted more and more participants from the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Cape Verde. By the mid nineteenth century virtually every American whaling vessel (out of some 200) carried a number of these islanders. Soon they became captains and owners, and by the end of the century a dominant factor in the industry. It was, in sum, the earliest path to America for these islanders. And it set a pattern of migration that was permanently to mark the Portuguese settlements of the United States.

research summary (.pdf) outlines this history.



Faculty Research by Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology

Using as one of its case studies the Portuguese immigrant communities in the Boston, MA and Toronto, ON metropolitan areas, this research project examined immigrants’ acquisition of citizenship and political incorporation in the United States and Canada. It found, in part, that Portuguese “invisibility” from politics is not just a question of the particular barriers faced by Portuguese immigrants or their attitudes toward politics, but it is also a function of the welcome the host society provides. In this respect, Canada has done a better job at integrating Portuguese immigrants into politics than the United States. The project draws on over 150 in-depth interviews with ordinary immigrants, some of their North American born children, local officials and leaders of community organizations.

The major findings from this project are published in Bloemraad's recent book,Becoming a Citizen (UC Press, 2006). Further results from this research,"Citizenship, Naturalization and Electoral Success: Putting the Portuguese American Experience in Comparitive Context" (.pdf), will also be published inFashioning Ethnic Culture: Portuguese-American Communities along the Eastern Seaboard, edited by Kimberly DaCosta Holton and Andrea Klimt and in The Portuguese in Canada: Diasporic Challenges and Adjustment, 2nd edition, edited by Carlos Teixeira and Victor M.P. Da Rosa.

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