Projects developed by LabCom

LabCom Online Cafe

LabCom Online Cafe is an Extension Project developed by the Behavioral Studies Laboratory (LabCom) of the Federal University of Pelotas, and it aims to promote online conversation circles between researchers, artists, activists, communities, NGOs and everyone interested in topics that address SOCIAL INCLUSION AND WELL-BEING FOR ALL. Online meetings take place every Friday at 4 pm (Brazil time) via GoogleMeet. The main objective is to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge, a moment inspired by our globalized reality, to promote the inclusion and connection of all. Anyone can propose the thematic of our Cafes, it is just to contact the project organization and LabCom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities of the Behavioral Studies Laboratory (LabCom) had to be rethought in terms of structure and objectives. Our meetings for academic discussions took place before in a physical environment, at the school of Architecture and Urbanism at UFPel, Brazil. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings were rethought and since 7th August 2020 they have been taking place online, every Friday, via GoogleMeet. We started informally, but the scale of the program and the number of international participants who are taking part in our meetings both as speakers, guests and also the public made us formalize the Project within the University, as an extension activity. The meeting is open to anyone interested. The Cafes are announced on the Laboratory’s website (, on our Instagram, Fanpage and Twitter (@LabComUFPel). Those interested in participating, it is asking for the link to the GoogleMeet room by private message. Our proposal is not to make lives, but to meet in a chat room to promote interaction among friends and build new international projects. Researchers and academics from Brazil, United Kingdom, India, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Australia and the USA are part of this activity.

LabCom Taller: Internacional Behavioral Studies Taller 

LabCom Taller (Internacional Behavioral Studies Taller) aims to propose practical and theoretical workshops, which meet the multidisciplinary dimensions of Architecture and Urbanism, providing and consolidating internationalization as a form of academic development and inter-institutional policy. The performance of such activities is of fundamental importance to the academic environment, which is why Taller LabCom provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from different institutions, access to debates and discussions on topics of relevance to Architecture and Urbanism, in the regional, national and international context. In this regard, the Project contributes significantly to the training of academics and the improvement of teaching practices. The development of workshops aimed at behavioural studies in the area of ​​Architecture and Urbanism also seeks to dialogue, imagine, structure, develop, create and implement social public policies for people. In addition, the performance of innovative activities in higher education courses is one of the requirements of the MEC (Ministry of Education of Brazil) and must be an integral part of the academic calendar. As a basic premise, Taller LabCom is characterized as extension activities contributing to the formation of the new professional architect and urban planner, researcher and teacher. This ‘Tallerist’ experience consists of an interrelation of academics and teachers for the construction of an interdisciplinary proposal, which is an innovative way and seeks to solve recurring problems in the professional training of architects and urban planners, through a collective look at a region and/or problematic, through field work and/or remote integrated into the form of exchange, which can also contribute to the development of urban development policies.

REDELAB – UFPel Laboratory Network

The Behavioral Studies Laboratory (LabCom) is part of REDELAB – UFPel Laboratory Network. In view of the current situation of urgency to combat COVID-19, the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), in Brazil, through PROPLAN (Pro Rectory of Planning and Development), presents a program of integrated actions to combat the pandemic and preserve people’s health, mobilizing 17 laboratories from the School of Architecture and Urbanism, the Arts and Technological Development Centre of UFPel, each one acting within its expertise. LabCom participates of this network carrying out the following action: Mapping the situation of vulnerability of refugees in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazilian federal state) against the pandemic of COVID-19, which is part of the Project ‘Building Resilient Communities to Support the Health and Wellbeing of Venezuelan Refugees in Brazil and Colombia’.

LabCom Hospitalar

LabCom Hospitalar is a group of studies belonging to the Behavioral Studies Laboratory created to promote and develop social and behavioral policies in the area of ​​Hospital Clinical Architecture, comprising an inclusive and innovative reading of public health policies, providing the humanization of hospital environments, the flexibility of their spaces, and its operational and functional agility. It searchers for the promotion of quality of life for hospital´s users, searching for design and public policies to support places that promotes life and dignity for patients. Through meetings and research projects, LabCom Hospitalar aims to research and reflect on the design of places and buildings for health, to debate the teaching of Hospital Clinical Architecture in the curricula of undergraduate courses in Architecture and Urbanism, and the prospects and futures of this research area in the post-pandemic COVID-19. We want to establish a timely framework for the launching of ideas, projects and proposals, improving teaching practices through participatory methodologies for the development of specific behavioral tools.

LabCom Hospitalar is part of ‘Taller LabCom’, where multidisciplinarity and multiple perspectives are necessary to carry out collective groups activities composed of students, professors, researchers and beneficed community. The coordinated actions revolve around Hospital Clinical Architecture and its defined context, being composed by study groups which will have the challenge of gathering information for a diagnosis of challenge situations regarding possible architectural and urban solutions, in partnership with specific subjects in the curriculum from undergraduate courses and post-graduation programs in Architecture and Urbanism. The LabCom Hospitalar meets every week in a digital format. Please, if you want to participate or just know more about our work, contact Professor Cristhian Moreira Brum,

Sense of Place as Public Policy to Promote Healthy Cities

The Project SENSE OF PLACE AS PUBLIC POLICY TO PROMOTE HEALTHY CITIES aims to compile actions that are being developed by the Behavioral Studies Laboratory of the Federal University of Pelotas, in Brazil. The actions aim at the study of the user’s perception, considering cities visual and sensory quality, heritage and education environment, for the creation of participatory methodologies and guidelines for public policies based on Sense of Place.

Sense of Place refers to the emotional bonds and connections that people develop or experience in specific places and environments, on scales that go from home to the nation. Sense of place is also used to describe the distinction or the unique character of certain localities and regions. Sense of place can refer to positive bonds of comfort, security and well-being generated by the place, home and housing, as well as negative feelings of fear, dysphoria and lack of place. A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social and environmental – that give meaning to a place. The Sense of Place is what makes one city different from another, but it is also what makes our physical environment worthy of consideration. These precepts should support any urban public policy that seeks healthier cities. The concept of sense of place has played an important role in the debate in human geography over the past 30 years. When first introduced, the concept drew attention to the often subjective nature of human environmental experience, as well as to the perceptual and cognitive dimensions of these experiences. The Sense of Place remains a bridge between a series of subdisciplines, as well as a link between humanistic and positivist geographies.

More information:

Building Resilient Communities to Support the Health and Wellbeing of Venezuelan Refugees in Brazil and Colombia

As an integral part of the ‘Resilient Communities and Humanitarian Actions Project‘, the Behavioral Studies Laboratory is developing the following investigation: ‘Building Resilient Communities to Support the Health and Wellbeing of Venezuelan Refugees in Brazil and Colombia‘. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for the most vulnerable populations, compromising the ability of these groups to access basic health and social assistance services, social participation and civic engagement. In response to this, LabCom seeks to propose technological tools that can help understand and address issues related to vulnerability of Venezuelan refugees in Brazil and Colombia, considering the context of COVID-19 pandemic. This project proposes a set of tools for integrated urban planning and management, which contribute to the development of effective public policies and practices of resilience for responding to COVID-19. These tools will seek inclusive interventions, of a technological nature, that offer support to public agencies in the development of public health and well-being policies for this vulnerable group.

The project is a priority now, as the impact of COVID-19 is causing deleterious effects in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), such as Brazil and Colombia. 80% of refugees live in LMICs and these countries already have weak formal health support and urban infrastructure even in contexts before the pandemic. Many refugees have left their countries to escape armed conflict, violence and/or human rights violations, and often end up living in temporary camps in LMICs. Resettlement efforts during the COVID pandemic were suspended by the UN, at a time when people are already separated from families and do not have access to support networks, which further increases their vulnerability (UNHCR, 2020). Previous experiences with the Ebola virus and other outbreaks have shown that public policies need to include refugees and migrants in their plans to combat the impact of pandemics and ensure access to health and well-being. We recognize that public policies must include refugees in COVID-19 pandemic preparedness/response measures – This is vital, and urgent support is needed to explore how these communities can be resilient and be prepared to face pandemics, all the more immediately in the context of the COVID-19 and future scenarios.

The project is innovative both in the research design and in the multidisciplinary nature of the project team, driven by a structure that places the communities in the central of the research process. We are searching for international funding for this Project and the Federal University of Pelotas is already supporting the LabCom with seven Research Fellows to work on this investigation. A pilot study of the GIS platform has begun to be developed since August 2020. To more information visit the project website:

Institutions of our partners: Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil), Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil), National School of Public Administration (Brazil), University of La Sabana (Colombia), Sayara International (USA), Caritas Arquiodiocesana de São Paulo (Brazil) and Heriot-Watt University (UK).

Photo: Abrigo Rondon 1, in Boa Vista, which received about 100 Venezuelans from the city of Pacaraima in the past two days. Marcelo Camargo, 2018, available at,_Brazil_1.jpg.

Resilient Communities and Humanitarian Actions

Recognizing the rapid nature of many challenges faced by low and middle-income countries, this Project is characterized as an umbrella‘ Project: a responsive mechanism, through which applied social science researchers (working with other disciplines, when appropriate) can respond to urgent and unforeseen research needs, including (but not limited to) pandemics, disasters, emergencies, rapid radical political or economic changes, changes in conflicts, large displacements of populations, etc., or unforeseen opportunities for research contribute to public policies and sustainable urban development practice. The Project includes different actions in partnership with the United Kingdom, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela so that emergent and risky situations can be investigated in a multidisciplinary way, involving researchers in an international network. The first four actions of the Project aim at the vulnerability of refugees from Venezuela in Brazil and Colombia, considering the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political and urban conditions of Latin America.

The Project seeks (including the collection, analysis and critical interpretation of data) to investigate and inform resilience responses and ways of recovery for communities from investigations of a series of events that affect low and middle-income countries, which could not have been anticipated in advance, such as:

• the case of cultural, humanitarian, political and/or economic emergencies or crises and their impacts on issues such as cultural production/expression, equality, marginalization, vulnerability and social exclusion;
• the unexpected escalation or rapid changes in conflicts, human rights violations, threats to human security or peace-building processes;
• unforeseen forced displacements/migrations on a large scale of the population;
• environmental disasters (natural and/or resulting from human activity), such as earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, hurricane, major pollution incident, and collapse of dams as in the case of Mariana and Brumadinho in Brazil;
• hunger and health emergencies (for example, disease outbreaks/pandemics like COVID-19); and/or sudden large-scale destruction of/damage to cultural heritage/assets.

Photo: Reg Natarajan from Vancouver, Bogotá.

Centre for Healthy Cities, Ageing and Citizenship

LabCom has been part of the Centre for Healthy Cities, Ageing and Citizenship of the Federal University of Pelotas – UFPel (Brazil); the Centre was founded in 2018 and is coordinate by Professor Adriana Portella from UFPel in Brazil and Professor Ryan Woolrych from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. It is an international partnership between Brazil, the UK, France, Argentina and Chile, funded by the Brazilian government, CAPES research council, in a total of 1,000,000.00 USA dollars (R$ 5,000,000.00). The Centre involves researchers from the Post-Graduate Programs in ‘Social Memory and Cultural Heritage’ and ‘Architecture and Urbanism’ of UFPel (Brazil), the Laboratoire de Sociologie Mémoire et Cognition (LASMIC) of the Université Nice Anthipolis (France), the National University of La Patagonia San Juan Bosco (UNPSJB), and the Urban Institute of Heriot-Watt University (UK). Ageing must be understood as a construction crossed by a plurality of practices and cultural values that shape people´s ages lives. Recent studies conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that by 2050 the number of people over 65 years old will double in the globe, creating several challenges mainly for low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Centre aims to analyze the interaction of three dimensions when considering the process of ageing in place – the city, the environment, and the dwelling. These three dimensions, in which daily experiences are included, must be adapted so that the ageing process can healthily take place, granting autonomy to older adults and strengthening social ties through integration with their local communities. These are life paths that evoke memorable narratives, key for social identity affirmation.

The objectives of the Centre are:

• Enhance the international partnerships between Brazil, UK, France, and Argentina, about ageing studies as well as to establish new international funded projects.
• Support research that proposes guidelines to promote healthy ageing in place, enabling older adults to live in their communities until late age and be  active and social connected with their community.
• Organization of seminars, workshops and short courses related to active ageing, memory and identity.
• Promote international academic mobility of researchers to and from the partner institutions.

Institutions of our partners: Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil), Heriot-Watt University (UK), Universidad Nacional de La Patagonia San Juan Bosco (Argentina), and Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (France).


PlaceAge – COVID Delivering Age-Friendly Cities to Support Social Wellbeing in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic raised significant challenges in the city, considering the health and wellbeing of older people when analyzing the ability to access health and social assistance services. Access to these resources is essential to keep the elderly healthy and active and also socially connected in their communities. The elderly were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, both in terms of mortality (over 95% of all deaths from COVID-19 occurred in those over 60 years of age) and in the physical and mental well-being resulting from social isolation and loneliness. COVID-19 has a significant impact on the lives of adults living in urban communities around the world, especially in developing countries, where spatial and social inequalities are profound and where the ability to age locally is compromised by a lack of formal support to age well. This research is urgently needed to understand the social impact of COVID-19 on the older adults, in order to develop effective and age-friendly community interventions that cover different urban, social and cultural contexts. In response to this, LabCom has begun to investigate the experiences of older adults residents in Brazil (city of Pelotas) as a pilot study (and full investigation in Brazil, India and the United Kingdom will be done when international funding is approved). We search to determine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on social wellbeing and the effectiveness of responses as measures of social distance and ‘stay at home’ to face the crisis. The formation of resilient and supportive environments that address social well-being is crucial to ensure the physical and mental health of the elderly during a pandemic, thereby reducing health and social care costs. This project contributes to the development of effective public policy and practical responses to COVID-19 and future pandemics through interventions that offer resilient, age-friendly communities, and that enables the social wellbeing of older adults during a pandemic. Age-friendly communities need to be more receptive to rapid changes in urban contexts, to build places that promote individual, social and community resilience to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Institutions of our partners: Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil), Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil), Heriot-Watt University (UK) and University of Brasilia (Brasil).

Photo: Pixabay. MirceaIancu_CandidShots / 2095 images.

PlaceAge – Brazil, United Kingdom and India

The Behavior Studies Laboratory at UFPel has been coordinated the PlaceAge Project in Brazil since May 2016, when the Project received first place in projects selected for the international funding Healthy Urban Living and the Social Science of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus. The PlaceAge Project currently consists of two investigations funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) in Brazil and the United Kingdom and ICSSR (Indian Council for Social Science Research) in India, for a total of £1,213,116.00 sterling (R$ 8,491,812.00). Among the countries involved are the United Kingdom, Brazil and India. One of the Project’s investigation is entitled ‘Place-Making with Older People: Towards Age Friendly Communities’ and focuses on exploring how older adults face ageing in different urban, social and cultural contexts in Brazil and the United Kingdom. The other investigation is entitled ‘Ageing Well in Urban Environments: Developing Age Friendly Cities and Communities’ and seeks an analysis of ageing in the neighbourhood and perceptions of a sense of place in India, the United Kingdom and Brazil. For more information, visit the PlaceAge Project website:

Institutions of our partners: Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil), Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil), Heriot-Watt University (UK) and Sri Venkateswara University (India).

Photo: Adriana Portella.

Ageing in a World of Inequality: How to Design Healthy Cities for All

The Project ‘Ageing in a World of Inequalities: How to Design Healthy Cities for All’ consisted of organizing the ‘2019 IAPS Symposium Ageing in Place in a World of Inequalities’, which brought researchers from different countries – Spain, Australia, Chile, Japan, Brazil, to discuss how to plan healthy cities for all generations, responding to different environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts. The Symposium started from the understanding that simply changing the built form is not enough to create a more inclusive environment for ageing, as places are more than physical spaces. Viable environments are articulated through a strong sense of place, defined by the social, psychological and emotional bonds that people have with their environment. A strong sense of place results from access to support for active participation, opportunities to build and sustain social networks and take on a significant role in the community. In contrast, a feeling of exclusion or lack of opportunities to participate in the community is associated with alienation, isolation and loneliness, often resulting in diverse health and well-being problems, particularly among vulnerable older adults. Socially, the creation of ageing-friendly urban environments that support a sense of place is an integral part of successful ageing, ensuring that people can continue to make a positive contribution to old age, delaying the need for institutional care and reducing health and care costs. Within this theme, academics, researchers, professionals and students participated in this meeting and LabCom is finalizing the publication of the proceedings of the event in Portuguese, English and Spanish for 2020-2021. The most prominent articles in the event until December 2020 will be published in two editions of the scientific magazine PIXO; the first edition was published in August 2020. For more information on the Symposium visit the website:

Institutions of our partners: Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil), IAPS (International Association of People Environment Studies, based in Spain), PlaceAge Project, UFPel’s Behavioral Studies Laboratory, UFPel’s Graduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism. The Symposium was also developed by the Centre for Healthy Cities, Ageing and Citizenship Project, which is part of UFPel’s Institutional Internationalization Program – CAPES PRINT.

Photo: Marcelo Soares.

Participatory Methodologies in the Teaching of Architecture and Urbanism

This Project seeks to develop and apply participatory methods in the teaching process of architecture and urbanism for undergraduate students. Architecture and urbanism must be thought to design to meet people’s needs, with special focus to the most vulnerable communities. Thus, the student must know the methodological tools that can be applied to recognize the user´s needs. Human diversity and the multiple factors to be considered in an architecture and urbanism design, make the design process quite complex, requiring training, which includes artistic, social and technical domains, aiming at the solution of multifaceted problems. Paradoxically, this broad spectrum of knowledge often distances architecture students from lay people´s perception. This can become an obstacle to identifying the real demands of local communities. Aiming at a complete professional training of the architecture and urbanism student, this Project proposes to reduce the gap between the design produced by future architects and urban planners and the perceptions, needs and desires of people who will use the places in the city. Several themes are analyzed here, of which we can highlight: design process, user-centred design, participation in architecture and urbanism projects and participatory design methods. The disciplines, in which this methodological approach is applied, are: Architecture Competition Workshop and Social Housing Workshop at School of Architecture and Urbanism, of Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, during 2020 and 2021.

Photo: Gisele Pereira.