Knowledge and creative businesses and industries have been at the core of discussions for urban renewal strategies worldwide. Educational facilities and the businesses they attract are key elements in urban dynamics, helping to promote urban diversity and contributing to enhancing the areas where they are imbedded. In Portugal, the higher education system follows a binary structure, in which institutions are divided into Universities and Polytechnics. The latter, whose mission is creating vocational-oriented knowledge, grounded on the specific needs of the regions they are in, are key regional drivers, with the possibility of becoming developers and promotors at a regional scale, affecting urban life and urban quality. This paper aims at exploring the location of polytechnic institutions within their hosting cities, attempting to understand location patterns and similarities among different institutions, as well as envisaging the impact of such a location in the engagement with the hosting city. The research is developed at two scales: the first (a) focuses on the location of the institution in its hosting city, while the second (b) focuses on the relative deepness of the internal spaces of the institution. This research aims at providing a methodology for general characterization of regionally oriented higher education institutions in terms of their location within urban systems, as well as exploring the spatial organization of the interior of the institutions analyzed.
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