The evolution of housing conditions in Lisbon
If several decades ago housing in Lisbon consisted of both beautiful elegant buildings for wealthy people and at the same time whole neighbourhoods of slums that housed migrants the city has now changed its look entirely. In this article we will revisit the 2000s which saw the beginnings of these changes as well as looking at the many developments that have taken place since 2014.
We will take further examples from Lisbon by focussing in particular on the innovations that have been made possible in terms of the housing environment in Lisbon.
Housing in the 2000s
With the aim of getting rid of slum areas, in 1993 Portugal laid down a policy with the aim of achieving this. The construction of moderately priced housing was planned whilst at the same the destruction of slum districts where living conditions were somewhat informal and in some cases entirely unsanitary. Only at the time inhabitants of these areas were resettled in neighbourhoods that were rather isolated from the city centre, that is to say they had no means of transport for easy access to other parts of the city. Furthermore there were no community facilities available. It should be noted that the housing provided was in general of rather poor quality.
At the end, whilst some communities did at the time take time to reflect on the urban integration of their new constructions, this was not the case amongst most of them.
How is it today?
During the first quarter of 2014 billions of euro, 14 billion to be precise, were injected back into real estate in Portugal. Sheltered from the housing bubble that hit many countries between 1996 and 2007, price per m2 has remained relatively low whether it is in Lisbon, Fado or Porto. It has also stayed this way due to the economic crisis that Portugal suffered between 2008 and 2013.
Even though prices are currently increasingly slightly, they still remain attractive for investors. What’s more nowadays we are seeing a real awareness of urban and social issues. This is particularly the case for Lisbon, a city that knowhow to incorporate these issues when it wanted to make its housing situation more dynamic.
The example of Lisbon
If we know Lisbon as a touristic and trendy, it’s only because this city knew how to be innovative at the right moment. Numerous challenges haw to be overcome in order to increase Lisbon’s population, which between 1975 and 1990 had literally been evaporating from the city centre. We can cite for example:
● the project to gradually repopulate the historic centre of Lisbon , Mouraria, an old and crumbling district of Lisbon: the objective is to revitalize the social and cultural life of the area by getting local politicians, inhabitants and residents’ committees involved in thinking up new initiatives ;
●the provision of public spaces in so-called “mixed” areas (mixture of economic housing , social housing and self-built housing);
● the urban regeneration of Oriente, in Parque das Na¬ções: well integrated into its surroundings and connected to the rest of the city, this employment hub serves several purposes. Since 2008, the city has set up a participatory system with a budget of 2.5 million euro to develop housing in Lisbon. Once a financial estimation has been carried out then the project is put to a vote amongst the residents. This an excellent way of mobilising the local population and getting them involved in life of the city, especially that of their neighbourhood.
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