Evidence-Based Planning: A Multi-Criteria Index for Identifying Vacant Properties in Large Urban Centres

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access | Ahead of Print | Last Modified: 4 August 2022

Evidence-Based Planning: A Multi-Criteria Index for Identifying Vacant Properties in Large Urban Centres


  • Thiago Corrêa Jacovine Centre for Engineering, Modelling and Applied Social Sciences, Federal University of ABC, Brazil
  • Kaio Nogueira Department of Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading, UK
  • Camila Nastari Fernandes Centre for Engineering, Modelling and Applied Social Sciences, Federal University of ABC, Brazil
  • Gabriel Marques da Silva Centre for Engineering, Modelling and Applied Social Sciences, Federal University of ABC, Brazil


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Abstract:  Attempts to avoid property vacancy represent an immense challenge for local authorities and planning policy design. Despite recent normative and regulatory advances witnessed in the recent past with the recognition of the social function of the property by the federal constitution (1988) and statutory instruments included in the city statute (2001) and local master plans, Brazilian cities still experience difficulty in producing evidence-based indicators to support the implementation of progressive planning policies. This article offers a methodological approach using a multi-criteria index to identify vacancy propensity levels in the central area of São Paulo. The research results from a partnership between the municipal authority and two planning laboratories from public universities and financial support from UNESCO. The index was designed using a multi-criteria decision aid technique, PROMETHEE II. The proposed methodology involved the manipulation of eight variables related to the vacancy phenomenon and a two-phased validation process: one quantitative using statistical tests and the second qualitative through the scrutiny of the index by urban specialists. The result represents the potential vacancy levels for 3,254 urban blocks and their spatial distribution. For the 344 blocks inspected through fieldwork, 619 potential vacant properties were identified. The development and analysis of the index show that this approach provides valuable information on vacancy levels accounting for its spatial distribution. The index is a flexible tool that can absorb particular local conditions and support evidence-based policy-making.

Keywords:  evidence-based planning; multi-criteria index; property vacancy; São Paulo; territorial planning; urban centres

Published:   Ahead of Print

Issue:   Spatial Knowledge and Urban Planning (Forthcoming)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i3.5369


© Thiago Corrêa Jacovine, Kaio Nogueira, Camila Nastari Fernandes, Gabriel Marques da Silva. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.