Evolution of the port-city relationship between 1974 and early 2000s

Evolution of the port-city relationship between 1974 and early 2000s

During the last couple of months it was difficult to find time to craft an article worth posting. Finally the third piece explaining the evolution of the port-city relation in Lisbon is here.

Socio-political context

Portugal was in a complex political situation after the end of the dictatorship in 1974. The carnations revolution brought democracy to the country, a period also known as the 3rd republic, but the socio-political situation was yet unclear. Until the political climate settled the major economic decisions remained unaltered.

During the early 1980s the country was still in a unstable socio-economic situation. For this reason it was forced to ask for a loan from the IMF, who intervened twice in these years, in 1978 and 1983. Portugal joined the EEC (European Economic Community) in 1986, along with other south-European countries like Spain and Greece. The arrival of European funding allowed important investments, particularly in infrastructure.

Port evolution during the 1970s and 1980s

The changes taking place on a global scale in the maritime sector also affected the port and industrial development in Lisbon. The introduction of new technologies, i.e. the container, changed many port dynamics and the space the port required. During these decades, 1970s and 1980s, the port saw the creation of new container terminals adapted to the new cargo. The two main examples were the terminal of Sta. Apolónia and the one in Alcântara. Sta Apolónia terminal opened in 1970, it was the first infrastructure dedicated to containers in the Iberian peninsula. The facility in Alcântara was inaugurated in 1985. According to Nabais & Ramos (1987), this terminal was severely deteriorated in the 1960. The AGPL (Administração Geral do Porto de Lisboa) decided to invest on it and prepared for containers.

Terminal Sta Apolonia - Sotagus
Sta. Apolonia Container Terminal today. Since the original project the infrastructure has been updated and expanded. Retrieved from http://www.sotagus.pt
Terminal Alcantara - portosdeportugal-pt
Alcântara Container terminal today. Retrieved from http://www.portosdeportugal.pt

During these decades other port facilities were created. Particularly relevant were the new silos for bulk cargo, linked with several industries, such as concrete manufacturers, agri-food companies, mainly dedicated to cereal derivatives or liquid bulk. The new infrastructure caused an important visual impact in the estuary, but increased the throughput of this type of cargo. This investment helped the port of Lisbon to become the leading port in cereal bulk cargo in the Iberian context[1].

At the same time these investments were taking place the maritime business was changing, causing transformations in the port-city relation, world-wide and obviously also in Lisbon. The port and industrial activities of large conglomerates diminished drastically. These industrial settlements, located on the eastern section of the city and the south side of the Tagus[2], developed during previous decades, originated large urban voids and brownfields. As in other port-cities there was a process of socio-economical decay in the urban areas linked with port and industrial activities. (Figueira de Sousa and Fernandes, 2012)

The social perception of the river and the port management model also changed during these years. People demanded an access to the Tagus, and the Port Authority (hereafter PA), like many other worldwide, changed to a landlord port functioning scheme after 1995 (Cabral, 2001). Later, in 1998, also following international port governance trends, the PA became a public owned company, (Administração do Porto de Lisboa – APL S.A)[3]. The economic and technological changes along with the increasing social pressure to get a free river accessibility, motivated a compendium of planning initiatives, led by different stakeholders, that changed the port-city-river relationship.

The most relevant issues for the current investigation is the evolution of the initiatives concerned with the use of the waterfront, and the development of new infrastructure testing the port-city relationship. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the attention towards the use of the waterfront for public areas and facilities started to rise. We will see how the situation changed drastically when compared with the previous decades. Four key processes took place almost simultaneously, we will briefly comment them and see what role did the PA played. The consequences caused by these planning initiatives marked the PA scope for the following decades, pointing out an institutional rigidity process.

Many planning initiatives with different results

During the second half of the 20th century, particularly since the 1980s, several private projects were developed along the railway barrier, on the city side. These new constructions gradually changed the programs of these buildings, from industrial to office and housing, although they were not part of any general plan nor considered the connection with the river a relevant goal. The new buildings were simply answering to market needs and city development, gradually increasing the urban pressure over the port (Costa, 2006). Simultaneously, there was a growing interest on the historical value of certain heritage buildings near the river, related with former port activities. This attention can be seen in the refurbishment project of “Casa dos Bicos” (op.cit. 2006).

Changes in the maritime sector and in the industrial tissue had left abandoned areas on the waterfront, affecting the general image. These spaces were seen as an opportunity. National and municipal (hereafter CML) governments, and port authorities, were interested in the waterfront regeneration. During this period we will see several parallel plans taking place at the same time, with different leading figures. For the scope of this research we will only focus on the ones directly affecting the waterfront, requiring negotiation with the PA.

The first relevant moment was the 1988 competition, organized by the Architectural Association and supported by different public bodies, including the PA. Besides this event, in this chapter we will mainly discuss the plans of the EXPO 1998, the POZOR and the 1990s municipal strategic and City development plans – PDM (Plano Director Municipal).

One of the most interesting characteristic of this period is the evolution of the port’s role, both internally and in relation with the society. Several authors have highlighted how, inspired by the international waterfront regeneration trends and to find financing for new port infrastructure, the PA deviated from its original focus to be more concerned with urban planning issues (Matias Ferreira, 1997, 1999; Ressano Garcia, 2006; Costa, 2006; Rego Cabral, 2001). This attitude change earned the port strong criticism from different sectors of society, claiming that it was going beyond its realm and accusing it from privatizing public territory, since the PA was only authorized to rent or lease port land, not to sell it for tertiary redevelopment projects (Ressano Garcia, Op. Cit)

First waterfront redevelopment initiatives – “Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” competition – 1988

Most scholars agree that the definitive moment for the new approach towards the waterfront and the river-city relationship occurred in 1988, when the competition “Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” (Lisbon, the city and the river) took place[4]. This event organized by the Architectural Association (AA) and supported by the PA, had the goal of providing ideas for the riverfront, admitting the presence of the port, and mostly to raise a debate about the connection between the city and the river.

"Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio" Competition catalog, 1988.
“Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” Competition catalog, 1988.

The Tagus has always been considered the key identity element for Lisbon. It has been the inspiration for artists from different times, and welcomed kings from foreign countries. It was one of the key reasons for the original settlement by the Phoenicians, and provided transport, protection, work and food. The main public space of the city, the Praça do Comércio, opens up to the water and in the social psyche there is a certain false nostalgia for the free access to the river, something that never really happened, at least the way most residents picture it (Morgado, 2005)[5]. During the 20th century the separation between the city and the river increased, due to the presence of industrial activities that, as we have seen in previous chapters, blocked the visual connection or turned the riverfront into an inhospitable space. The new port landfills progressively changed the “face” of Lisbon creating a new artificial territory, increasing the distance between both.

Gradually, during the second half of the 20th century, the water, rivers and seas, gained a new role in the city´s urban structure, a phenomenon taking place worldwide. There was a new perception, and therefore economic use of water, as an identity and landscape element that could increase the property´s value (Ward, 2011). New waterfront projects were often created around the contact with the water, seen it as strong development concept, and possibly as an asset to increase the profitability of the real estate operation. The examples known at the time often included new leisure facilities, office building or housing. Several projects in the USA and Europe showed a new image for “water cities”, based on what is often considered the urban post-fordist society (Olivier & Slack, 2006; Schubert, 2011). The new international waterfront image, the partial decadence of some port areas, an intense cultural program and the interest of several stakeholders, such as the PA and the AA, raises the awareness of local residents and created an interesting debate about this issue.

In the introduction of the competition´s publication (Brandão, 1988) the innovative character of the competition is clear. In this text there are several relevant statements. The author points out, as one of 6 key premises, the port activity as inseparable from the city, in a certain way appealing to the necessary coexistence between both realities.

“A actividade portuária é cidade – elemento indissociável da centralidade que a cidade oferece, pode rentabilizar a cidade com a sua própria vitalidade.”

Brandão (3: 1988)

Further on he also describes the riverfront as both 15 km of conflict and a key element of the urban and metropolitan structure for the connection with hinterland, Europe and the Iberian peninsula. In the same text Brandão also highlights the variety of layers existing in this port-city interface, including cultural and heritage elements, relevant economic activities and important landscape features.

In the competition 23 proposals were presented. The final statement of the jury indicates that none of the competitors was fully aware of the technical aspect necessary to include the port activity in their proposals. Therefore, the majority of the projects worked in idealized scenarios in which the port activities were either not considered or oversimplified. Only one proposal, from Arch. Manuel Bastos, was considered to have potential influence in the future planning of port activities. Another important entry was the one presented by Gravata Filipe. His project was focused on  Cais do Sodré, and was later further developed to include commercial areas and housing in this area. In this work, mostly in the later development, the influence of American and British waterfront projects was clear. Several companies and the PA were later interested in the further development of the project, but never became a reality.

 

Figure 1 Bird's eye perspective of the winning entry.
Bird’s eye perspective of the winning entry.

 

primeiro premio 1988 planta
Winning entry floorplan. Team led by Arch. Carlos Marques. Retrieved from the competition catalog “Lisboa, a cidade e o rio”

The competition played an important role, raising considerable media attention. It set the foundation over which the debate about the riverfront and the port would be built. Some ideas were later retaken or included in other plans, however the main issue of the port-city coexistence was not addressed. Although this competition was sponsored by the PA, the CML was also very present. Later both organizations would develop separate visions over the same problem, deepening the conflict. One particular plan that we will later see, the POZOR, damaged PA´s public image, and by association of port activities.

To conclude this section, when we observe the project areas, the issues they tried to solve and the images of the sites, we see that not much changed during the following years, although there was a strong debate. The first important intervention would start in the early 1990s, being inaugurated in 1998, the World Expo, in the eastern section of the city. Some priority areas, as stated in the competition catalogue, were gradually improved, although, some of them, only today are being completely developed, after years of discussion and frustrated attempts.

First major plans – 1990s

The idea competition brought a new vision of what could take place in Lisbon´s waterfront. The following years we would see different initiatives taking place, sponsored by different public bodies. The national government, responsible for the PA, developed different projects and plans with an international reach, and massive public investment. The waterfront was rediscovered by the municipality, and mostly by the people. There are several examples of the transformation process taking place at the time.

Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB)

In 1987 the plan for the regeneration of Belém, by Prof. Costa Lobo, was focused on the area where the 1940 Expo took place. This section of the city had several urban voids from the exhibition and required a general plan for its regeneration. In this plan was included the CCB project.

In the same plan for Belém, the burial of railway lines was suggested. This issue would be discussed several times during the following decades in the different planning initiatives that affected the waterfront.

After Portugal was accepted in the EEC, it was in charge of hosting the commission presidency in 1992. This event was used as motivation to promote the creation of new large public building, with a cultural scope. The location for this new facility was in Belém, in a sensible place, next to the Jerónimos monastery and the railway line. The competition for the new facility took place in 1988, for a site of 5 Ha. Several well-known archistars competed to develop the project, in total 53 proposals were presented, being the final winner the team formed by Gregotti and Risco Ateliê (the office led by Manuel Salgado, current urban development responsible in the municipality).

The design included five sections connected with an interior street that would link the Praça do Império to Belém Tower. The project´s geometry and the sensible location raised considerable discussion and controversy, particularly among certain sectors of society, that considered the new building an aggression to the monastery, a protected monument (França, 1997).

CCB - Atelie risco
Aerial view of the CCB. Project by Gregotti and Ateliê Risco. Retrieved from: http://www.risco.org

This case, although built in municipal land, not port land, was one of the first major intervention on the waterfront, implementing cultural programs and trying to develop a connection with the river through its elevated public space (Pagés Sanchez, 2011). The controversy already indicated how delicate the riverfront is for the local society and how any intervention would be closely examined.

From the five elements that composed the project, two remained unbuilt, including a congress centre and hotel. The proposal´s completion has remained in municipal masterplans and detail and sector plans. No specific deadlines have been set, and other cultural projects on the waterfront have been developed in the meantime.

EXPO 98

Portugal was, at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, a country aching to achieve international recognition and establish a fast development process to match its European partners. The country needed to show a new image to distance itself from the dictatorship times, and overcome the existing challenges. Spain, the Iberian neighbour, had successfully applied to host international events that would raise the international profile of two major cities, namely Barcelona with the 1992 Olympics, and Seville with the 1992 Expo.

Hosting international events would also bring funding and generate an opportunity to implement new key infrastructures in Lisbon, allowing it to compete with other cities. The investment required would be justified in terms of image, marketing, tourism generated income, and positive externalities. For the city it was also an opportunity to impulse a transformative process that otherwise would take longer time and face greater difficulties. Although the main driver was the central government, local government appreciated the investment brought by the international exhibition. At the same time, the scale of the intervention would go beyond Lisbon, affecting the entire metropolitan area, the region or even the country.

During the drafting of application, an internal debate took place to decide the best location for the Expo. After much discussion, three options were finally brought to the table by the project committee[6]. The first included a poly-nucleus concept, with several locations spread over the metropolitan area, a second option was the western part of the city, on the boundary between Lisbon and Oeiras. The third option was the eastern section where several declining industries existed. The first option was immediately discarded since it presented several difficulties that could make the event unmanageable. For the final discussion remained two possibilities, both on the waterfront, affecting port territory.

Lisbon has historically suffered an unbalanced urban development, particularly visible in the east-west dichotomy. The western section had an organic development, including the presence of historical monuments that potentiated the identity of this part of the city. In previous chapter we have seen how during the 20th century this section of the city was the first place to undergo an urban waterfront redevelopment plan, increasing its cultural and social profile, with museums and representative buildings. In contrast, the eastern section of the city hosted large industrial settlements and the port expansion for new cargo, such as containers. In the long term, particularly when the industrial activities started to decay, the eastern section became a depressed area, suffering socio-economic problems, poverty among the local residents and chaotic urban development, including slums, large social housing projects and gradually industrial brownfills. In this area we could also find companies from the petrochemical sector, whose activities were no longer considered suitable for the urban environment, presenting diverse hazards (Matias Ferreira, 1999).

The final decision, reached in 1991, was to develop the Expo in the eastern section of the city, on the boundary with Loures, in port territory, that hosted different companies from aforementioned petrochemical sector. The reasoning behind the decision was that it was an opportunity to balance the urban development and impulse a regeneration process in this section, implementing a new centrality that would attract private investment between the city´s downtown and the new development. Also relevant was the presence of logistic infrastructure, close to the airport, railway lines connecting the city with the rest of the country and Spain, and the possibility of integrating a new connection with the south side of the river.

Expo site
Expo site before the construction started. We can see several industries, including an important petrochemical area that was later transferred to Sines. Retrieved from http://www.skycrapercity.com

The case of the Expo 98 in Lisbon can be observed from very different perspectives. It has been broadly used as an outstanding example of urban intervention, that brought quality public spaces to the city, new leisure and cultural facilities, unique in the region or even in the country, and a successful real estate scheme, with considerable private investment after the event (Guimarães, 2006). The fast reconversion of the exhibition area into a new element of the urban structure was also considered exemplary, avoiding abandonment situation like it happened in Seville six years earlier. Officials from the municipality and the central government have also, frequently, used the expo to show the Portuguese capacity when competing to host international events, such as the Euro cup in 2004, or international summits, such as the EU meetings. However, the plan and development of this section of the city also had its flaws and negative aspects, or at least less positive issues, that could have been handled differently. In this investigation we will focus on the general urban regeneration process, the effects on the port territory and the role of the PA.

In 1992 Lisbon beat Toronto in the final vote of the BIE (Bureau International de Exhibition). The inauguration date was set for May 1998, implying a fast development process. Given the tight deadlines the government decided to create a new agency, named Parque Expo[7], that would operate outside the usual urban legislation, and benefited from special capabilities. The area where the exhibition and associated real estate operation would take place was removed from the PDM being drafted at the time. The new public company had total authority for the redevelopment of the area, including building permits. The financial capacity introduced two speeds in Lisbon´s development (Costa, 2006), enabling an unprecedented urban transformation rhythm. [8]

Aerial view of the Parque das Nações - Post-Expo98.
Aerial view of the Parque das Nações – Post-Expo98. In this image the real estate operation was not concluded yet. Retrieved from: http://www.tsf.pt

The government set three main goals (Matias Ferreira, 1997): (i) to reconnect the city with the river, (ii) to impulse the regeneration of this area, and (iii) to develop the plan with no cost for the state, being financed through the real estate scheme for the aftermath, associated to the operation. The first goal was also included in the municipal plans. In this area the Olivais dock, the former maritime airport, was considered a great opportunity to establish a new connection with the river.

The regeneration of the area was complemented with the Plano de Urbanização da Zona Envolvente da Expo 98 (Plan for the surrounding area of the 1998 Expo). This part of the city was already a priority in the new PDM. The social issues present in these neighbourhoods, the lack of public facilities and unbalanced urban developed between east and west was seen as a major problem. Municipal plans considered the regeneration should be based in the “gate” character of this area, that included connections with major transportation chains, such as railway, port and airport. At the same time the redevelopment of the depleted industries was considered, including its consolidation and the construction of new facilities linked with education and investigation. When the expo location was decided, the PDM was modified, and the 350 Ha for the operation given to the new public company. Different authors mention how the original intention was to avoid the “island” effect, that eventually did happen. The connection with the surrounding did not happen as fluently as expected, particularly in the social sense, the contrast between the poor areas and the new modern neighbourhood was, and still is, clear[9]. The pressure to complete the project on schedule has been often used to justify the lack of public consultation that in other conditions would have taken place. At the same time, to achieve the goal of minimal state investment[10], the real estate scheme favoured luxury housing and higher densities introducing a strong gentrification process.

PA role

The site for the expo included a considerable section of port territory. In the law DL 207/93 14th of June the decommission of the land was made official, being the Parque Expo responsible for the compensation to the APL (Matias Ferreira, 1997). When the exhibition was concluded the PA demanded a considerable indemnification for losses, mostly caused by the contract breach with the concessionaries. This operation it is subject of controversies since the compensation from Parque Expo to the APL was never paid, the APL had to carry with the losses. Also, as Castro and Lucas (1997) point out, the port land release took place in a particularly sensitive moment, when the tension between the APL and the municipality was increasing. Being the Parque Expo a government company, not a municipal one, certainly eased the path. However, as the same authors explain, the losses caused by the aforementioned transfer were accounted in 1994 in 65 mill €[11].

During the application and planning process the role of the PA was rather passive. If the PA would have been owned by the CML there could have been considerable differences. In Portugal the port management model follows what it is known as the Latin tradition, the central government controls all PAs in the country. In the central  government agenda, to do an international event in port territory was more important than the port plans or even the compensation payment, that in case it had been paid, could have compromised the operation. In this particular case the centralized port management scheme diminished the possible confrontation. The agreement regarding the port land was made between two government companies.

Comparison with other plans

Particularly interesting is the fact that at the same time the expo process was taking place, the PA was drafting its own waterfront real estate operation, the POZOR (Plano de Ordenamento da Zona Ribeirinha). This plan, that we will later describe in further detail, included the reconversion of a central waterfront section into housing and office buildings. There were several key differences: (i) the location was considerably more sensitive, since it affected a consolidated area of the city, contrasting with the eastern section where the expo was going to take place. Another key difference (ii) was the lack of central government support, being an initiative mostly defended by the PA, with the opposition of the local government and civil society. Another issue (iii) was that, while the expo real estate operation, was developed by a new public company created for the occasion, the PA collaborated with a private corporation, also developing itself the urban plan, a task beyond what was by many accepted as its realm.

Comparing both cases we see that there can be substantial differences when developing a waterfront plan, pending on the national port system and who are the operation´s main drivers. In this case, as it is said in the official documents (Mega Ferreira et al., 1999), the national ownership of the port authority was considered an advantage, avoiding possible conflicts[12]. In the POZOR, the situation was exactly the opposite, social confrontation was present since the beginning. There was no clear political back up to the project and the confrontation eventually stopped the plan.

POZOR and Port Plans

The riverfront competition supported by the PA brought considerable media and social attention to the relation between the port, the city and the river. In the international context, more cities were implementing waterfront development plans. In two American cities, Baltimore and Boston, the first major plans took place. During the 1980s several port-cities in Europe redeveloped their urban waterfront, including the famous case of London, with a liberal approach, and others that followed a concept more focused on public spaces, housing or new leisure areas (Schubert, 2011). As it happened with every planning tendency, it expanded, reaching Portugal and inspiring the PA to act in a certain manner.

The gradual decrease in port activities during the 1970s and 1980s, forced the PA to reassess its role and evaluate the port  territory, identifying where were the active port facilities, and what land could be destined to other uses (Figueira de Sousa and Fernandes, 2012). During early 1990s, the PA saw its role and influence diminished by the ambitions of the central government to do the 1998 Expo. For the PA losing control over the Expo territory meant releasing almost 20% of its land and seen how the petrochemical cargo handling was transferred to Sines, both issues were a significant for the APL. At this point the PA decided to elaborate an strategic plan to answer the contextual changes.

In this investigation we will focus on the process and reactions the plan caused, just as we have done with previous documents. There are other investigations developed by well known scholars that enter into further detail, and that have been broadly referenced in this paper.

Pre-POZOR

Before the POZOR the PA already realized it was necessary to change its attitude towards the city. The growing pressure and the option of gaining certain revenues from the waterfront regeneration became a strong motivation. After the competition that took place in 1988, one of the proposals received considerable attention. The project presented by Gravata Filipe included the redevelopment of waterfront between Cais do Sodré and Praça do Comércio. His project offered a new commercial vision for this area, including a shopping centre. (Ressano Garcia, 2006).

Gravata Filipe partnered with British architect David Colley to further develop the project into a more concrete plan. The project affected 2,5 km of the riverfront, stretching from Santos to Sta. Apolónia, the historical central section, including land from the PA, the municipality and the central state. With a strong commercial approach, influenced by the British examples, the plan included several key ideas that later would be again discussed and some implemented. The most relevant ones were the vertical transport node and the road tunnel to solve the barrier effect in this section. The first one was later developed, including the connection between trains and ferries  with the subway, while the second, although often discussed, was never built (Costa, 2006).

This proposal marked the beginning of a new approach towards the waterfront and its commercial value. The PA saw an opportunity to satisfy the public demand of greater access to the water, avoid possible social conflict and profit from the land, that later could be reinvested in the development of a new container terminal on the south side of the Tagus. One of the most relevant aspects of this proposal was bringing together different actors to negotiate about a concrete plan. As Costa (op. Cit.) mentions, the sensitive location also caused considerable debate, somehow giving a continuation to what had taken place some years earlier. During the second half of the 1990s the argument about this particular section would continue, even seen the creation of an ad-hoc company for its redevelopment, including the tunnel. As said before the tunnel would not be built, the transport node would be developed years after, and finally the public space would be designed twice.

Strategic Plan 1992

Simultaneously to the Project for Cais do Sodré, the PA had taken a pro-active role and decided to do the first strategic plan to establish a development course for the port. Following the public debate and the evolution seen in the international context, it seemed inevitable to potentiate port development on the south side of the river and consider the waterfront regeneration on the north.

In the port strategic plan, developed between 1990 and 1992, the pro-active approach implied the construction of a new container terminal on the south side, in Trafaria, and further waterfront regeneration on the north side. According to Costa (2006), the main issue was not the construction of new terminals, but the way it was proposed, linking Trafaria with Bugio Fort, an island in the middle of the river’s mouth. The environmental impact of this project, and the opposing local government of Almada, presented the first controversy. The strategic plan later evolved into a more concrete plan, the POZOR, published in 1994. This new document would create unprecedented  tensions in the port-city-citizens relationship.

POZOR 1

The POZOR was presented to the public in June 1994, proposing to restructure the complete waterfront, from Algés until to the Expo, giving 12 km of riverfront to the city. The commercial approach was clear, following in some areas a similar scheme to the one introduced by Gravata Filipe.

One of the characteristics of the plan was the dense construction for certain areas, influenced by the British model. It organized the waterfront in six different sections, each one treated differently; at the same time catalogued the existing buildings, either to be kept, refurbished or demolished. The new buildings would totalize 450 000 m2 between Sto. Amaro and Alcântara, and 160 000 m2 in Rocha Conde d’Óbidos – Santos. Included in the plan was the construction of a new shopping mall with 82 000 m2 in Cais do Sodré, by Multi Development Corporation International (MCDI) (Ressano Garcia: 71, 2007).

POZOR PLAN
General Plan of the Intervention Units and the programs. Retrieved from http://www.fat.pt

Social contestation

The public discussion process  was particularly interesting. The project was presented with a public exhibition including a large model and plans, an innovative approach, particularly coming from an organization such as the PA. There were several debate sessions for public participation, taking place in a representative placement like the Alcântara cruise terminal.

Since the plan became public it faced fierce opposition, not just from the civil society or NIMBY[13] movements, but also from reputed specialists from architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. Social figures from the media and popular intellectuals supported the opposition movement, reaching large press coverage, taking the conflict to a previously unseen polemic. Also in the political sphere the POZOR did not counted with much support. The mayor at the time, Jorge Sampaio, rejected the proposal of the PA, claiming that the port land recovered for urban uses should be planned for the city’s general good (Costa, 2006). This author explains how the discussion reached the national political debate, being even argued whether the planning capabilities of the port ought to be limited[14].

POZOR newspaper clip
Newspaper clip from 1994 describing the debate around the POZOR Pland and the different positions. Jornal de Noticias, October 11th 1994, Retrieved from the Architectural Chamber Library.

POZOR in the newspapers

POZOR 2

The massive social contestation forced the PA to retract itself immediately and offer an alternative. In 1995 a second version of the plan was presented, removing the new planned construction and the real estate operation, focusing on new public spaces for the city. The plan kept the same scheme, dividing the waterfront into six different sections, with 4 different vectors (buildings, connections, parking and zoning). The main point was to study each case without proceeding to large scale transformations.

Another difference to the previous POZOR was the collaboration between public organizations. If in the former plan the PA practically operated by itself, cooperating with private companies, for the new document it established an intense dialogue process with the municipality.

Short after the new plan was presented, a new board took charge. Cabral, the new head of the board, stated the PA would, from that point on, focus on port development (Matias Ferreira, 1997)

POZOR Results

Finally, the POZOR 2 was never concluded, but, as with other plans in Lisbon on the 20th century, it guided several PA’s waterfront interventions. Although in this second version the public space and leisure facilities had an important role, the trust of the local residents in the PA never recovered. The results of the plan were mainly visible in the western section of the waterfront, where a new access to the river was created, including green areas. In Santo Amaro former warehouses were refurbished to host restaurants and clubs. Several parking and marinas were also developed. In 1995 the APL and CML began to cooperate, mainly for the redevelopment of certain public spaces and connections, particularly in the western section, from Cais do Sodré until Algés, including three priority interventions and identifying 11 crossings in different levels (Craveiro & Soares, 1997), some of which several were built.

Sto Amaro Docks
Sto. Amaro Docks today. This was one of the regenerated areas on the waterfront after the POZOR

Personal Comment on the POZOR Process – Institutional Framework

The POZOR is an interesting case to analyse the repercussions of path dependency, institutional plasticity and social expectations. In this article we have seen how the PA intended to act beyond what we can strictly consider its core activities, i.e. port activities management. The formal institutional framework gave the PA the capabilities to draft urban development plans, in the legislation it is indicated that it would be allowed to manage its territory beyond the port activities, including leisure or cultural programs. With this plan the PA saw the opportunity to do an “all around” operation, theoretically creating positive externalities to all the involved stakeholders.

The financing of the new terminal in Trafaria was connected to the real estate operation on the northern side of the river. As we have seen, the main intervention was between Cais do Sodré and Alcântara, curiously an area without any relevant public spaces on the port level, and with a strong infrastructural barrier, including a bright avenue and the railway line. The city should also benefit from this operation since the new waterfront would theoretically be open for all the citizens, increasing the public riverfront area. The issues before described, lack of public and green spaces, visual impact and possible gentrification, were the main drawbacks.

The process of institutional plasticity and change, as explained by Buitelaar et al. (2012) implies a complex succession of factors, that eventually leads to an institutional change. In the case of Lisbon we can actually see the reverse process. Although the institutional framework allowed the PA to execute the plan it proposed, since it was entirely within its territorial boundaries, the social context along with certain planning decisions, triggered a reverse procedure in which, instead of institutional plasticity, institutional rigidity took place. The general society had created specific expectations for the PA role, the riverfront and the relation between the river and the city. The PA was seen as a non-democratic organization, pending from the central government, with a very specific function, in charge of managing a specific territory for a certain function, port activities (Matias Ferreira, 1997). In other words we could say there was a certain expectation, a path dependency, not decided by the PA or the port community but by the social image of this particular body. On the other hand, the process started in 1988, concerning the relation between the city and the river, created a certain desire among the inhabitants, to gain an access to the river, seen as the key identity element of the city. The proposals presented in the competitions privileged this point of view. The municipal plans were also drafted in this direction.

The timing, location and scope of the POZOR also affected its fate negatively. There was already a significant waterfront regeneration process taking place in the city, the Expo, that hindered the possible institutional support from the national government. The municipality was already “left out” of the Expo process, due to the creation of the Parque Expo, therefore there was a precedent distrust. This corporation, created by the central government, had, as we have seen, supra-municipal powers, similar to the PA, and operated above the traditional urban planning scheme. The priority for the central government was the success of the Expo, therefore the support for the POZOR was compromised from the start.

The location also presented issues. We have seen how this central section of the waterfront has stronger roots in Lisbon´s history, hence any intervention could easily awake certain sensibilities. On the opposite side, the EXPO was on the eastern part of the city, where the urban tissue was not (and still is not) so consolidated. Any intervention here would imply less discussion or protest.

Finally the plan´s character and design principles were unfitted for the context. The influence of British plans for urban waterfronts, which often included dense real estate operations,  affected the POZOR negatively, passing an image of a strong gentrification development, in an area for which the local population had higher expectations. It is important to consider that, in general terms, the civil society, might well not understand the issues of planning boundaries, been an apparent continuum, therefore a strong image can easily be created. The density and program of the first draft triggered the social protest we have seen. Curiously, the process was innovative and could be considered a positive example for its participatory nature. Although the public discussion did not provided the positive feedback expected by the PA, it did set an interesting example for future planning initiatives.

The bricoleurs, the actors that in Buitelaar et al. (2012) model would pressure to change the institutional framework, in this case did the opposite, pressuring politicians and decision makers to install a process of institutional rigidity, reducing the PA planning powers. In this context we could say the PA´s path dependency harmed its expectations of acting beyond its usual realm, and finding an extra financing resource for other port infrastructure. Although eventually the proposed legislation change did not succeeded, probably linked to the retreat of the plan by the PA, the complete process did narrowed the development path of the PA in several ways. It was clear that any sort of large urban planning intervention led by the PA would be critically observed. The general role of the PA was associated with port activities, and only certain low-impact actions to implement leisure programs, linked with heritage refurbishment would be socially accepted. We can find different examples of this in the last 20 years. The release of riverfront areas for public and green spaces would be accepted. The connection with the new municipal plans had to be consulted and encouraged, since one of the main critics by the municipality planners was the apparent disregard towards the new masterplan and partial plans.

Among the issues and path narrowing process installed in the PA after the POZOR, one of the most worrying ones is the reduced interaction that followed this period, concerning public consultation processes. The NIMBY phenomenon that took place during the plan’s public presentation might have been reinforced due to the openness of the PA. We could then argue to what point would be on the PA´s best interest to encourage public participation in future plans and projects that might have an impact in the riverfront. Also, as said in an interview[15], the PA the communication is done using the official channels, contacting the municipality or other representative institutions, not directly with the citizens as it was with the POZOR. In this case we could ask ourselves to what extend will the CML explain the APL´s point of view, needs or even positive impact. This issue will be explored in the cruise terminal project, an example of port facility that has been considered crucial to experiment with the port-city-citizen relationship (Figueira de Sousa, 2003).

PDM and Municipal Strategic Plan 

In 1989 a new political[16] team arrived to the city hall, starting an intense period of municipal change and planning (Leite, 2008). Previously we have seen the state initiative with the Expo 98 and the port ambitions for the waterfront in the POZOR plan. In this section we will briefly describe Lisbon´s first strategic plan and the successive city masterplan. The transition from the 1980s to the 1990s potentiated the notion of Lisbon as capital of a Metropolitan area, and the need to compete in international context to attract investment. The city suffered several unsolved problems. During this time the first city development plan, drafted during democracy, was published and implemented.

Strategic plan

Lisbon´s strategic plan, approved in 1992, was the first document of new strategic planning system, also including the PDM and the priority plans and projects (Craveiro, 2004). The PEL (Plano Estratégico de Lisboa) was mainly a socioeconomic instrument to define the principal development vectors and areas, and support the political and decision making processes (Leite, 2008). This new scheme proposed a new urban development model, including eight key points. To connect the city with the river was one of the top priorities, also including the redevelopment of historic areas in the centre, the regeneration of the eastern section, improvement of public transport system and reducing urban expansion towards the north. The main general goals for the strategic plan were to modernize the city, improving the general life quality and allowing it to compete with other European metropolises, reassure Lisbon´s role as metropolitan capital and improve the administrative system. During this period Lisbon was already losing population, a tendency that would increase along the 1990s.

For the scope of this investigation, connecting the city with the river is the most important aspect.  The plan considered four different city sections, being one of them the riverfront. For this sector the municipality pretended to recover the connection with the Tagus, without harming the port (Craveiro & Soares, 1997). In this scenario the competition concerning the waterfront organized by the architectural association and sponsored by the PA, created positive precedent. The municipality recognized PA´s effort in the recent waterfront regeneration projects, particularly the new public spaces by the river.

PEL 1992
PEL 1992. Retrieved from Neves, 2013 (https://pt.slideshare.net/tutufischer/seminrio-internacional-sampa-cri-ativa-3-1213-apresentacaobrancaneves)

During the following years the municipality developed several plans for the riverfront surroundings, in which the reuse of heritage elements played an important role. These plans concerned mostly areas in the western and eastern sections of the city. Once again the idea of burying the railway, and later also the road, was discussed. In the scope of the plan several key operations[17] were identified to reinforce the connection between the city and the river, mostly taking place in the western and central waterfront section, affecting several locations with relevant monuments. These concrete actions were destined to areas controlled by the municipality, such as Praça do Comércio, or in which port activities were not suitable, mostly from Alcântara to Belém. To improve the connection several crossings in different locations along the barrier were planned.

The PEL was adapted during the drafting process, to include the development of the expo in the eastern section of the city. Initially this plan proposed to develop in this area the gate of the city, profiting from its connectivity with national and international transportation networks, as we have previously seen.

PDM 1994

The PDM approved in 1994 was the first city masterplan since 1977. This document was part of the new planning strategy promoted by the new municipal government, following the development path set by the strategic plan aforementioned. It was also coordinated with other documents drafted at the same time, such as the PROT-AML (Plano Regional de Ordenamento do Território – Área Metropolitana de Lisboa), or the detail plans drafted for different city locations.

In the plan, as it happened in the PEL, the territory was organized in 4 different areas, being one of them the riverfront. Among the key goals was again the connection with the river, identified as one of the key elements Lisbon should relate with, the second one was the metropolitan area. In the PDM report the connection with the estuary is highlighted defining Lisbon as a river-city (cidade ribeirinha). The port is not assumed as a key identity element, although we could consider it is included in the river-city character, port activities, as we have previously seen, had a strong influence in the city’s economy, identity and urban development (PDM, Relatório Síntese, 1994).

To improve the connection with the river several actions were proposed. The first one was to integrate port areas, improving the port access and complementary services. Other measures included better organization of river transport with Lisbon’s transport interfaces, enhancing public areas on the riverfront, integration of the infrastructural barrier formed by the railway and roads, and establish the view system defended in the same PDM, strengthening the visual relation.

One interesting issue was the Expo area. Parque Expo was responsible for the land where the event would take place, including its after-expo development. For this reason the municipality had to discuss with them the solution and redevelopment of the section of the city. The APL and Loures municipality were also included in the conversation. In the PDM, the eastern edge of Lisbon was still considered the new logistic platform. The integration of port and transport infrastructure was one of the main goals, considering these area crucial for the productive activities in the metropolitan area.

PDM 1994
PDM 1994. In orange we can see the Expo area, controlled by the new public company Parque Expo. Retrieved from: https://ptfdesenhourbano.wordpress.com/

The basic PDM intervention unit were the UOP (Unidade Operativa de Planeamento e Gestão). There were 30 UOP identified in the whole plan of which seven affected the riverfront (Costa, 2006). This author explains that the PDM was more specific than the PEL regarding the possible land uses, including industrial buildings refurbishment to host other programs, such as offices or housing. The relation with the APL was made via specific agreements for concrete issues, such as the port communication, roads and railway.

PUZRO

Once the Expo was finished, the planning horizon for the post-event period expanded until 2009. The municipality began to work on the redevelopment of the surrounding territory to integrate the “new urbanity island” the EXPO area was about to become (Matias Ferreira, 1999).

The new plan to regenerate the eastern edge of Lisbon was named PUZRO (Plano de Urbanização da Zona Ribeirinha Oriental – Urbanization Plan for the Eastern Riverfront) and continued the work developed in the plan for the surroundings of the Expo, practically assuming the same boundaries. The intervention area was structured around four axis, three running parallel to the river (Av. Infante dom Henrique, the interior street from Rua da Madre Deus to Rua Fernando Palha and the railway line) and the avenue Marechal Gomes da Costa expanding from the riverfront towards the north. In total, the covered area was 418,1 Ha, including 4,5 km of riverfront.

A first version of the plan was presented in 2001, although not approved, partly due to the remarks given by the regional development commission. Afterwards it was decided it would become an strategic document, finally republished in 2008,  renamed: “Documento Estratégico de Monitorização da Zona Ribeirinha Oriental” (Strategic Document for Eastern Riverfront Control).

Planta Puzro
PUZRO Plan The doted line indicates the boundary of the planning area. Retrieved from. http://www.cm-lisboa.pt

The original plan, although was never approved, it guided the redevelopment of the area during the following years, a process we have often seen in Lisbon’s recent urban history. The PUZRO included a detailed analysis of the existing industrial heritage, while at the same time, potentiated the redevelopment of large industrial sites and planned new public facilities. From this document several relevant detail plans were drafted, of which we will briefly mention two, Plano de Pormenor do Braço de Prata and the Plano de Pormenor da Matinha.

The first one, from 1999, consisted in the redevelopment of a military industrial site. Although initially included larger areas, it finally affected 10 Ha of land. Renzo Piano was the leading architect behind the project. Some of the most relevant features included the integration of the avenue Infante dom Henrique into the new urban structure, releasing the riverfront for a new public garden. This new green space was supposed to take place in port territory, and be paid by private developer. In figures the project proposed 142500 m2 plus 5500 m2 for public facilities. Being 72% for housing, 16% for economical activities and 12% for services. (Costa, 2006). The project has suffered several setbacks, and is today under development. For the moment only few structures are visible being unknown the completion date. In an interview with planners from the CML[18], it was said the property developers had presented an updated version of the project for approval, therefore it was supposed the construction should be resumed shortly.

In this plan the riverfront park was a relevant issue. It implied the release of port land for public use and a new green space financed by the private developer. In this case we can observe the possible malfunction and inefficiencies of the planning system. The APL released the land for the new green area in 2009[19]. The plan could bring positive outcomes, since it would give this area a new access to the river, increasing its appeal for further private investment. The problem, as it often happens when the public redevelopment depends of private investors, was the project delay. During this time the land has remained abandoned, without any maintenance. Since previously it used to be port land the port image is affected, due to the assumption the PA is still responsible for its caring. This situation raises the question about the relevance of public plans if the development of key elements relay on private hands.

460acf82450cce8ec13268d266f7700cc556830a
Braço de Prata plan. In the image we also see the Matinha plan. Retrieved from: http://www.cpu.pt

The second detail plan (Plano de Pormenor), concerns Matinha, between Braço de Prata plot and the Expo. In this territory we can find gasometer structures, acting as landmark from an industrial past. The final version of the plan was published in 2011, included the redevelopment of the area from the gasometers until the riverfront, affecting an area of 31,5 Ha, included in the UOP 28. Initially, the uses planned in the 1994 PDM for this area were related with investigation and technology. After the PUZRO was cancelled the municipality changed the program to mixed use including housing and tertiary activities. The project is characterized by a central green axis, framing the industrial heritage on one extreme, connecting with the riverfront park on the other. The new buildings are designed perpendicular to the river, following a similar concept to Renzo Piano’s project, but on a larger scale. The total construction area would be 339.305 m2.

matinha - risco
PP Matinha. This plan links the former Expo area with the new real estate development in Braço de Prata. Retrieved from: http://www.risco.org/pt

Since the plan was published the plot has not suffered any alteration. No construction nor real estate development has been announced, remaining an industrial landfill during this time. The location could be considered quite attractive, since it is near a new area such as the Parque das Nações (former Expo 98), but until now there has been no private investor. Once again the issue aforementioned appears, the municipality might produce plans but the redevelopment depends on market operations.

In the strategic document the interaction with the port was explained on article 7, indicating that any urban action to be taken within the realm of this plan must include PA approval.

Conclusion

The decade between the 1988 competition and the EXPO 1998 meant a significant change in the way local residents looked at the river. The Tagus was no longer just reference in literature and history, but a space for the citizens to enjoy. This period was also relevant in terms of planning and stakeholders positioning. The PA development/action path was narrowed due to the social protest, and to some extent marked its role for the following decade.

During these years the foundations for Lisbon’s contemporary development were built. The planning frenzy gave many projects, some of them still under construction today. The image of the city was transformed, as so it was the ambitions of the inhabitants regarding public space and riverfront areas.

Four key moments, happening almost simultaneously, decided the interaction between the actors. Although two of them did not left the drafting table, motivated either by their nature (ideas competition of 1988) or by the public repulse (POZOR), they set the course for action for the following years. The first brought attention to an issue until them ignored for decades, the relation between the city and the river, while the second introduced an innovative approach, such as the participative process, although it played against the own  interests of the APL, narrowing its future realm. The Port Authority, in the good tradition of Lisbon, did eventually developed some projects included in the plan although the document itself was not properly implemented.

The public discussion about the POZOR had a greater relevance than what it might have seen at the time. It was not just a rejection of planning ideas and design, it eventually decided what the PAs are and are not allowed to do in Portugal. The institutional rigidity did not occurred immediately, but, as we will see in following articles, it indicated APL’s future path and functions. Eventually new legislation was passed, a decade after the first plan, that narrowed the scope of the PA, limiting its capabilities.

 

 


References:

Administração do Porto de Lisboa.(2007) Plano Estratégico de Desenvolvimento do Porto de Lisboa – Relatório Síntese. Lisboa: Administração do Porto de Lisboa, 144 p.

Brandão, P. (1988). Prefácio. In P. Brandão & F. Jorge (Eds.), Lisboa, a cidade e o rio – concurso de ideias para a renovação da zona ribeirinha de Lisboa. (pp. 3–4). Lisbon: Associação de Arquitectos Portugueses..

Breen, A., & Rigby, D. (1994). Waterfronts: cities reclaim their edge. McGraw-Hill.

Buitelaar, E., Lagendijk, A., & Jacobs, W. (2007). A theory of institutional change: illustrated by Dutch city-provinces and Dutch land policy. Environment and Planning A, 39, 891–908.

Cabral, N. (2001). Giving New Life to the Riverfront Areas of the Port of Lisbon. Portus, (1), 32–37.

Castro, A., & Lucas, J. (1999). A Expo’ 98 – Cronologia de um Processo. In V. Matias Ferreira & F. Indovina (Eds.), A cidade da EXPO 98 (pp. 345–422). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Cid, M. S., & Reis, D. (Org.) (1999). Documentos para a história da Expo ’98 1989-1992. Lisbon: Parque Expo 98 SA.

CML – Salgado, M. (2011) Proposta 2/12/2011.

Costa, J. P. T. D. A. (2006). La ribera entre proyectos : formación y transformación del territorio portuario, a partir del caso de Lisboa. Barcelona : Universidade de Catalunha.

Craveiro, M. T., & Soares, L. B. (1997). Ligar a cidade ao Tejo: zona ribeirinha – estratégia e programa de intervenção CML/APL – 1990-1995. In A. Caessa & M. Gomes Martins (Eds.), Actas das sessões do II Colóquio temático Lisboa Ribeirinha (pp. 401–406). Lisbon: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa – Departamento de Parimonio Cultural Divisão de Arquivos.

Craveiro, M. T. (2004). A retoma do planeamento estratégico 2001-2005 na cidade de Lisboa. GeoInova, 10, 221–239.

Desfor, G., & Jørgensen, J. (2004). Flexible urban governance. The case of Copenhagen’s recent waterfront development. European Planning Studies, 12, 479–496.

Figueira de Sousa, J., & Fernandes, A. (2012). Metamorfoses da cidade portuária: transformações da relação entre o porto e a cidade de Lisboa. Confins, (15). Retrieved from http://confins.revues.org/7702 ; DOI : 10.4000/confins.7702

França, J. A. (1997). Lisboa: urbanismo e arquitectura (3rd ed.). Lisbon: Livros Horizonte.

Guimarães, F. J. (2006). Cidade portuaria, o porto e as suas constantes mutações. Lisboa: Parque Expo.

Leite, M. A. D. F. D., & Craveiro, M. T. (2008). Entrevista a Maria Teresa Craveiro: O processo de Planeamento Estratégico em Lisboa: Dilemas, desafios e resultados. Oculum – Ensaios, Revista de Arquitectura E Urbanismo, 165–174.

Matias Ferreira, V., Rodrigues, W., Casanova, J. L., Castro, A., Wemans, L., & Amor, T. (1997). Lisboa – A metrópole e o rio. (V. Matias Ferreira, Ed.). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Matias Ferreira, V., & Indovina, F. (1999). A cidade da EXPO 98. (V. M. Ferreira & F. Indovina, Eds.). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Morgado, S. (2005). Protagonismo de la ausencia. Interpretación urbanística de la formación metropolitana de Lisboa desde lo desocupado. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona. Retrieved from http://www.tdx.cat/handle/10803/6959

Nabais, A. J. C. M., & Ramos, P. O. (1987). 100 anos do porto de Lisboa. Lisboa: Administração do Porto de Lisboa.

Pagés Sánchez, J. M. (2011). Frente ribeirinha e cidade. Equipamentos públicos culturais como solução de conexão e regeneração. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.

Olivier, D., & Slack, B. (2006). Rethinking the Port. Environment and Planning A, 38(8), 1409–1427. http://doi.org/10.1068/a37421.

Ressano Garcia, P. (2007). Life and death of the Lisbon waterfront – Vida e morte do porto de Lisboa. Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique.

Salgado, M. (2012). Reconquista da Frente Ribeirinha de Lisboa. Portusplus, 3(12).

Schubert, D. (2011). Seaport Cities: Phases of spatial restructuring. In C. Hein (Ed.), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (1st ed., pp. 54–69). New York: Routledge.

Ward, S. V. (2011). Port cities and the global exchange of planning ideas. In C. Hein (Ed.), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (1st ed., pp. 70–85). New York: Routledge.

Wemans, L. (1999). A EXPO 98 – da avaliação económica aos custos sociais. O custo zero, a engenharia financeira e od défice de setenta milhões. In V. Matias Ferreira & F. Indovina (Eds.), A cidade da EXPO 98 (pp. 252–287). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Legal Documents:

Decreto Lei 207/93 14 de Junho

Decreto Lei 100/2008

Decreto Lei 336/98 3 de Novembro

Projeto de Lei 85/VII presentado in 1996

Resolução em conselho de ministros 87/2009, em 3 de Setembro de 2009


[1] According to the strategic plans and activity reports, the Iberian peninsula is the main hinterland of the port of Lisbon, more specifically the western side from Madrid. For this reason it is relevant the competition with the Spanish ports. The agro-food industry grew considerably due to the investment in the 1980s. Currently the port still is one of the leading players in this type of cargo, competing with Girona and Barcelona. (APL, 2007)

[2] The large industrial conglomerates had a stronger presence in the south side of the river, with companies related to heavy actitivies, such as Quimigal in Barreiro, Lisnave in Almada and Siderurgia Nacional in Seixal (Costa, 2006, Nabais& Ramos, 1987)

[3]The law for this change was the DL nº 336/98 3rd of November. Lisbon’s Port Authority was then renamed as “Administração Portuária de Lisboa” (APL).

[4] Although this statement is widely accepted, some scholars like Costa (2006), mention the Casa dos Bicos refurbishment project, referred previously, as another important moment for the waterfront regeneration movement. This project had an important impact, however, from our perspective, is not as relevant as the following plans, since it was an isolated intervention, more linked with the identity value of the heritage and historic waterfront.

[5] The riverfront, as we can see in paintings and photographs, was mostly build, without a continuous public space along the water. In previous chapters we have seen how the concept of a Tagus promenade appeared in the 19th century, remaining in the general psyche. The access to the water were limited to the places where some economic activities were taking place, such as port, commerce or fishing. The only locations where a “leisure” by the water would take place was on the beaches in the western part of Lisbon.

[6] The committee was formed by representatives of the different stakeholders involved in the project. Initially it did not counted with the participation of the PA, but eventually, after the location of the exhibition was decided, the PA was invited, along with Loures municipality. However, the final decision depended of the national government. Different experts were also consulted, particularly in the initial stages to decide the location. The process has been well documented and can be consulted in: Cid, M. S., & Reis, D. (Org.) (1999). Documentos para a história da Expo ’98 1989-1992. Lisbon: Parque Expo 98 SA.

[7]Parque Expo was a QUANGO (Quasi autonomous Non-Government Organization). This sort of publicly owned development companies has been a common vehicle for urban development operations. We can see them in Hamburg, Oslo, Helsinki, and other port-cities. In the case of Lisbon, it continued to operate after the Expo, being responsible for urban management and facilities in the Parque das Nações. The company developed more projects, not just in Portugal. During the early 2000s it developed several riverfront green areas in different Portuguese cities integrated in the POLIS program. Parque Expo was deactivated on December 31st 2016, although its fate had already been decided in 2011 (http://expresso.sapo.pt/economia/2016-12-30-Parque-Expo-extinta-a-31-de-dezembro, consulted on 4/6/2017 11:50).

[8] This sort of operation it is not exclusive from Lisbon. In other waterfront operations similar schemes were followed, for example in Copenhagen. See Desfor& Jørgensen, (2004).

[9] Particularly relevant for this matter is the work developed by Matias Ferreira. Two books were published with the testimonies of different experts. “Lisboa, a Metrópole e o Rio” (1997) and “A Cidade da Expo 98” (1999). In the latter the issues that would affect the overall operation were predicted. The main critic was that in the end the operation was a requalification with new uses and high socio-economical classes, and not a proper regeneration as it was announced during the entire planning process.

[10] During the first stages of the planning and application process the state and the committee defended that the Expo would not cost the state anything, thanks to the real estate operation (Wemans, 1999)

[11]Castro and Lucas (1999) originally indicate 14 million contos, equivalent to 65 mill € approx. According to the National Statistical Institute of Portugal (INE) 65 mill€ adjusted to 2016, after the inflation would be ca. 105,8 million € (https://www.ine.pt/xportal/xmain?xpid=INE&xpgid=ipc).

[12] In the answer to the BIE survey from October the 7th of 1991, to evaluate the Portuguese application the committee explicitly indicated that the public owner ship of the PA by the central state was an advantage, granting the absence of any social conflict. (Parque Expo, 1999)

[13] The acronym NIMBY stands for: Not In My Backyard. These sort of civil movements opposing real estate or infrastructural developments can often be found in port related situations.

[14] There was a law project presented by deputies of the PCP, to reduce the powers of the APL. The project was: Projeto de Lei 85/VII presented in 1996 and finally dismissed. (https://www.parlamento.pt/ActividadeParlamentar/Paginas/DetalheIniciativa.aspx?BID=5581)

[15] Interview with APL representatives, Mariana Teixeira and Carla Matos, on December 16th 2015.

[16] The new major was Jorge Sampaio, later to become Portugal´s president.

[17]According to Craveiro & Soares (1997) the anchor projects were: Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, Cordoaria, Standard Eléctrica, Alcântara-Rio, Janelas Verdes, Aterro da Boavista, Ribeira das Naus, and Terreiro do Paço.

[18] Interview with Arch. Pedro Dinis, head of the public space department inside the CML. The meeting took place on December 21st 2015

[19] This agreement was based on the law DL 100/2008 stating the release of port land no longer hosting port activities. The official accord was approved by the Minister Council on September 3rd 2009  (Resolução do Conselho de Ministros 87/2009). In the Analysis Unit 3 this operation between the CML and APL will be further explored, since it included other riverfront locations.

Reuse and musealization of port related heritage in Lisbon

Reuse and musealization of port related heritage in Lisbon

Lisbon: a Mediterranean city

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is placed in the Atlantic coast. However, when we analyze the culture and the history of the city, we can notice that its roots are clearly linked to the Mediterranean Sea. The cultural palimpsest present in the urban structure and its heritage comes from the different great civilizations that at some point ruled this region. Its urban evolution can only be compared with other Mediterranean port-cities like Marseille, Genoa or Barcelona, where the same civilizations of the past also left their mark and the port played a crucial role for the urban development. The relation between Lisbon and Portugal with the Mediterranean region was studied by one of the main Portuguese geographers of the twentieth century, Orlando Ribeiro. In his book ”Portugal, o Mediterrâneo e o Atlântico” (1987), developed a detailed study on Portugal’s dual nature, i.e. a country which is Atlantic by location but mostly Mediterranean in culture. This book had a wide impact, since Ribeiro deepens in the concepts of Atlantic Europe and Mediterranean Europe, linking central and southern Portugal to the Mediterranean culture and northern Portugal (together with Galicia) to a pan-Atlantic European culture.

Lisbon had a constant evolution as an important port-city along its history. During roman times it was named Olissipo and it was integrated in the province of Lusitania. In the middle ages was controlled by the caliphate of Cordoba until it was reconquered by the Christians in 1147. Only in 1255 it would become the capital of Portugal.

Figure 1
Plan of Lisbon in the sixteenth century according to the engraving from G. Braun entitled “Theatrum Urbium”. Retrieved from the National Library of Portugal (cota CC-381-A).

The golden era of Lisbon arrived on the fifteenth century during which it was the capital of a growing empire. Famous explorers like Vasco da Gama or Magalhães departed from this city on the search for new land. The overseas colonies gave Lisbon a relevant international role in several fields like politics, commerce and culture. During this time the port was the soul and heart of the city. The activities here developed had an immediate impact in the urban structure and its inhabitants. Like in most port-cities, in this early stage the interaction between both entities was very strong, there were no strict barriers and the whole city was related to the port. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century the Iberian commerce developed rapidly and Lisbon remained as one of the main ports in the path from the Mediterranean sea to territories in Asia, Africa and South America.

During the eighteenth century the fade of the Portuguese capital changed dramatically. Due to the decline of Portugal as an overseas empire other port-cities took the leading  role Lisbon used to have. Finally in 1755 a natural disaster changed the structure of the city. In 1 November an earthquake with the epicenter in the Atlantic ocean close to the Portuguese sore took place. The effect of the seism combined with a tsunami and fire caused mass destruction and the death of many[i]. After the catastrophe the city was forced to develop a reconstruction plan for the downtown, the most affected area. The head figure during the whole process was the Marquês de Pombal, the powerful prime minister designated by the king D. José I. There were several proposals for the  redevelopment of the city center, the majority of them guided by the ideals of the time i.e. building more rational, healthier and logical cities. The principles followed by Carlos Mardel and Eugenio dos Santos, the engineers responsible for the project were precursory to the ones followed by Hausmann in Paris later on (Pardal,2003).

Figure 2
Reconstruction flan for the Baixa by Eugénio dos Santos, Carlos Mardel and E. S. Poppe. Retrieved from “Atlas de Lisboa. A Cidade no Espaço e no Tempo”, coord. Maria Calado, Lisboa, 1993.

 

The break up between City and Port

Already before the great earthquake there were plans for the regularization of the waterfront to improve the port infrastructure. During the nineteenth century the waterfront was one of the main issues in Lisbon. Besides the needs for an improvement in the docking conditions, there were several public health problems that were caused by the lack of souring and the dejects that were thrown directly to the river. Several authors have identified different proposals for the redevelopment of the riverfront, including partial or more general plans. The new port facilities were often incorporated in designs that included as well new urban tissue, including bourgeois areas with workers neighborhoods. Another novelty was the presence of new green spaces and in some cases, like the plan from Thomé Gamon in 1870, the riverside boulevard, a public space inexistent until that moment (Barata, 2009).

Finally the legal figure of the Port Authority was created in 1887, and the port became an autonomous place. This new institution was developed simultaneously with the first general plan for the port of Lisbon, which structured an industrial development mainly in the center and western part of town. The East part followed an unstructured growing process, initially small industries, but later on larger industrial complexes, that functioned almost autonomously (Costa, 2006). The Industrial Revolution, originated in England in 1780s[ii], accelerated the production process and as consequence also the transport chains. These changes had a fast impact in the port. Heavy machinery started to be used, the size of the vessels increased in short time, so did the volume of cargo and the need for space to store it. In this metamorphose the port became gradually a closed area between the city and the river. We can read in statements from writers of that period how the port began to be seen as an obstacle for the relation with the Tagus.

Figure 3
Plans comparing the coast line in 1871 and 1911, from Alcântara to Cais Sodre. Source: “Arquitectura” nº137,1980, P.29

Contemporarily, other important infrastructure was being developed that also caused changes in the waterfront. In Lisbon the first railway was inaugurated in 1856 connecting the capital with Carregado outside the city, towards the north-east. In the other direction the impact was even greater. In 1895 the railway between Cais do Sodré, near the city center, and Cascais to the west was opened. It was designed along the new coastline, and run parallel to the port and the river, next to the new Avenue  named Avenida 24 de Julho. This infrastructure immediately developed a new barrier between the city and the Tagus. The alienation process did not stop there; new avenues and heavy roads were also created to give answer to growing traffic and the needs of the city .

During the twentieth century almost the entire Lisbon coast line was artificially regularized, in order to increase the port activities and accommodate the new ships. As mentioned before, the process started in the west, but eventually continued to the east, reaching outside the municipality boundaries[iii].

All these changes ended the interaction that for so many centuries took place in the waterfront. The open activities related with the river were reduced to few fish markets and the free urban access to the water could mainly happen in the main square, Praça do Comércio, and the beaches outside the city center. The port was seen as an external element that, although employed many inhabitants, had a negative image, associated with the “sailor’s towns”, source of pollution, danger, prostitution etc (Rudolf, 1980).

In mid twentieth century a technological innovation in the transport industries increased the alienation process. The container, created by Malcolm Mclean in 1956 (Amenda,2011), increased the port needs for more storage areas, mainly outside the urban boundaries. In cities where this was not possible, the port intensified its activities within the urban structure. In Lisbon this meant that the existing barrier (fence plus infrastructure) was accentuated by a vertical wall of containers in the terminal handling this cargo. This new change caused an even heavier mechanization process, with an inhuman scale, and the feeling that in the port areas the inhabitants were unwanted visitors. Since 2004 the port authorities have to implement the ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security), that closes even more the port areas to the city and harms the possible interaction.

The new access to the river

In 1940 the Exposição do Mundo Português took place in Belém, in the western part of the city. Due to the celebration of this event, the Portuguese government took the initiative to redevelop a section of the waterfront area, allowing the local inhabitants to regain access to the Tagus river. It was planned following the example of the world exhibitions, but focused on the former Portuguese colonies and the ancient  overseas empire. The historical meaning and the connections with the past were inevitable so it was crucial that the inhabitants and visitors could reach the water and enhance its vision of the city. In the project the issue of the barrier was handled for the first time creating an underground crossing.

Unfortunately the exhibition was not followed by other projects with the same scope. The issue of the river connection remained in the dark until the late 1980s. In 1988 the first competition related with the river took place and the waterfront problem became again a “hot topic”. Already in this event the coordinator Arch. Pedro Brandão appealed to the regeneration of the waterfront considering it a crucial part of Lisbon’s identity (Brandão, Jorge, 1988). The winning project addressed the barrier problematic and proposed several visual axes and new public facilities that would recover the connection with the water in a more symbolical way.

Finally, by the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, the first steps towards a complex vision of Lisbon’s waterfront were given. Initially the extension of the recovered area in Belém gave the city a new public space by the river. At the same time several pedestrian bridges were built in order to overcome the barrier. There was also a change in the inhabitant’s idea of the river[iv]. They started to demand the connection to the Tagus, and noticed how important it was for the city’s identity.

In the last 30 years we have seen an important improvement in the relation between the city and the river. In this paper several examples will be presented where we can observe how the rehabilitation of port buildings helps the healing process of the wound between the city, the river and the port. At the same time the question remains whether all the effort made regarding the refurbishment of industrial heritage has really helped the port to establish itself as well as an identity element for Lisbon.

We must notice that in recent decades (1990s -2000s) several plans have been developed, in which the issue of the relation with the river has been gaining more attention. These documents often included studies and research regarding the Tagus and the waterfront. Some examples of these kind of plans are:  the strategic plan of Lisbon, POZOR (plan for the riverfront), Plano de Pormenor de Alcântara, the PDM (the city’s masterplan) or the  Plano Geral de Intervenções da Frente Ribeirinha de Lisboa (Salgado, 2013). Most of the time these plans had idealistic visions, sometimes too ambitious, to become a reality.

pg_intervencao copy
General Plan of Interventions in the waterfront of Lisbon. Source: http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/

The most relevant waterfront urban development in Lisbon was the 1998 EXPO, which had as main theme the oceans. This plan was focused in the redevelopment of an area of 380 Ha, mostly described as a port brownfield although it included several working industries and companies and low income housing. The planners followed a tabula rasa concept leaving only the former refinery tower as a landmark from the industrial past of the place. The redevelopment was supposed to boost the urban development towards the east from the city center, however it created a new “island” of urbanity, with a new approach towards the river. The results were mainly positive regarding the relation with the Tagus, creating new public spaces in the waterfront but without attracting the urban development that was expected. Some of the current main leisure centers, Pavilhão Atlântico, Museu da Ciência, FIL, Vasco da Gama mall, are reconverted expo-facilities in what nowadays is called Parque das Nações.

In the present moment approximately 11 of the 19 km that form the Lisbon waterfront are accessible to the public[v]. On the riverfront we can find different examples of interventions,  from different scales and approaches. We can see public and green spaces newly developed, but also spaces that are deeply related with the past. In the 1990s several authors observed the potential of this industrial and port related heritage and highlighted the importance it could have for the city, not just as museums or sculptural elements but also as assets that could complement the existing public needs.

The existing heritage has been thoroughly studied and to be properly described it would require a long term investigation. For this reason it was decided that this paper would only focus on three different kinds of projects that have already been developed and can show the variety of spaces and the different approaches that can be taken.

In the first place we will present the two projects that dealt with the public space and the evolution of the urban structure and uses, these are the  Praça do Comércio rehabilitation and the Ribeira das Naus. The second group of interventions are single industrial buildings of large dimensions that have been restored or partially refurbished, and are mainly used for cultural activities. In this category we can find the EDP Electricity Museum, the Orient Museum and the Cordoaria. Finally in the third group we will analyze the old docks warehouses that in the 1990s were recovered for leisure activities. Two different cases will be explained, the Docas de Santo Amaro and the Jardim do Tabaco.

 

FIRST GROUP OF INTERVENTIONS: PUBLIC SPACES

Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square)

The current layout of Lisbon’s main square comes from the reconstruction plans,  although before the 1755 earthquake this was already the main meeting place of the city[vi]. As it still happens today, around the square the buildings hosted the power institutions, ministries, and, as it names indicates, some of the merchant companies. For the design of the buildings and the public space several proposals were made, but the main characteristics remained unaltered. The size was determined by the urban plan and the layout of the buildings did not change considerably. Like it happened with the overall plan, the construction took several decades until it was totally finished, in the 1875, when triumphal arc was concluded. Praça do Comércio is one of the biggest squares in Europe, with an overall dimension of 180×200 m and 35000 m2. It is a perfect symmetrical design with two central elements, the statue of D.José I and the mentioned arc, from where the Rua Augusta, the main street of the plan,  starts and connects to other square from the Baixa plan, the Rossio.

Over the centuries the use of the central space has changed many times. Initially was envisioned  as the main representative space but rapidly it became appropriated by the citizens. On the arcade we can find besides several ministries and govern agencies, some historic cafes, like o Martinho da Arcada. Although the U-shaped layout remained unaltered, what happened in the central space went through different phases. At the beginning of the twentieth century it had trees in order to give shade to the users, and later on, until few decades ago, it was a central parking lot. This evolution could serve as a metaphor of the evolution of the role that the waterfront space as suffered. This is the most representative space of Lisbon, where in ancient times, but also during the twentieth century, world leaders were welcomed. The mutations in the perceptions of the space are a good sign of how resilient cities can be.

In 1992 an idea competition was made. Although there was no winner design, the main concepts were taken from the proposal developed by the architects Pedro Pacheco and José Adrião who took the second place. In this project the architects developed a new strategy for the use of the arcade and new pavements that would give back to the square the nobility with which it was originally thought, but at the same time providing a new versatility for urban functions like events or concerts (Macedo, 2011). The construction process was complex due to several issues, among them the groundwater or the complications caused by the construction of the subway directly under the square. Finally in 2007 after many political changes Praça do Comércio was redeveloped with a new project by a new architect Bruno Soares who was directly chosen by the newly created public company Frente Tejo[vii]. In 2010 the square was reopen to the public, with a new design for the central space including a new pavement characterized by stone diagonal stripes that increase the visual dimension of the square. The project maintains the arcade program for cafes and restaurants, leaving the door open to new uses like museums or commerce.

Figure 4
Praça do Comércio, Author: José M P Sánchez

Since the renovation the square has become once again part of the city’s collective image. Besides being one of the main tourist attractions, is one of the main public scenarios for events and political demonstrations. The river gets inside the city’s urban tissue thanks to the geometry and the scale of the square, nowadays more recognizable than what has been for the past half a century.

Ribeira das Naus

This space is the ancient shipyard of Lisbon. In the images developed by Braun in the sixteenth century we can already see evidences of a shipyard in the waterfront next to the royal palace. In this naval plant were built the ships that would later connect with the overseas colonies. After the 1755 earthquake the shipyard was rebuilt in the same location, remaining an area only accessible to the workers, therefore not public. This industrial site remained active until the first half of the twentieth century when in 1939 the navy decided to close the site. This change allowed the construction of the road that connected the east part of the city with the west, running parallel to the river.

The designer in charge was the landscape architecture office, PROAP, led by João Nunes. The project started in 2009 and was finished in 2014. The project was divided in two phases, a first one regarding the riverfront and the redevelopment of the avenue, and a second one which still is in progress that includes the “land part”, concerning the dry docks and the green areas. After its opening several changes were made to the original project, since the intense traffic required a different pavement for the road section.

The project follows a concept of micro-topography, increasing the contrast between the different historical times that left a footprint in the area, and at the same time reinforcing the connection with the river. Also the water edge was redone and giving the inhabitants a space where they can get in contact with the river, something missing in Lisbon’s urbanized waterfront.

The improvement of the space is clear, especially when compared with the previous stage. The presence of a green area in the waterfront is something that until this moment existed only in Belém, including the Junqueira waterfront, and in the Parque das Nações. This new area invites people to stay by the Tagus river and functions not just as connection area between two historical public transport nodes, but also as a place to stay.

The most critical aspect is the presence of the road that still runs in the middle of the project. This is an element of conflict because it breaks the project into two sections and does not allow the full usufruct of the new developed space. The issue regarding the east-west connection has remained problematic since the city started to develop along the waterfront. The traffic crossing the city center is one of the main problems of Lisbon. Since the completion of the mentioned avenue in the first half of the twentieth century, it has been clear that it is necessary to find another solution. The construction of a tunnel to diminish the impact of the traffic has been discussed several times, however the technical and budget difficulties have held the project still. In other port cities we have seen that the only solution for the crossing traffic is to create a tunnel or an elevated connection. Both options imply considerable investment and difficulties for its realization. The municipality however has decided to continue with the development of new green spaces next to the waterfront without addressing this problem.

Figure 5
Ribeira das Naus, Author: Lola Sánchez Pérez.

SECOND GROUP OF INTERVENTIONS: THE LARGE SINGLE INDUSTRIAL BUILDING

In a second group we can find what once were important industrial buildings directly related with the port. This typology is characterized by its great dimensions, that in the last decades have made them very attractive for exhibitions and events.

In chronological order from the moment when they were built three cases will be explained, the Cordoaria Nacional, Central Tejo (Electricity Museum) and Pedro Álvares Cabral Building (Orient Museum)

Cordoaria Nacional

The ancient Royal Factory of Cordoaria da Junqueira, was built in the late eighteenth Century, after the earthquake, by order from the Marquês de Pombal. In this building the ropes, cords and flags for the different ships that departed from Lisbon’s port were manufactured (Nabais, Ramos, 1987). Its location nowadays does not allow the same relation with the river like it used to be before the shore line was artificially rebuilt. The building was modified when the waterfront was changed by landfills to allow the railway connection from Cais do Sodré to Cascais. In ancient cartography we can see that the south façade was directly on the water and that both two ends used to be considerably larger, this last modification took place later when the path of the railway was modified.

One of its most peculiar characteristics are its dimensions, it is almost 400 meter long and 50 wide, being one of the longest buildings in Europe. These particular proportions were directly related with the industrial activities that were developed inside.

This example of industrial architecture is considered nowadays a national monument and hosts the navy archives, a naval school and two main galleries prepared for temporary exhibitions and events. Although there are several program using the space simultaneously, the building it is not fully recovered, particularly the interiors, and still does not have a clear purpose.

Figure 6
Cordoria Nacional. Author: Lola Sánchez Pérez.

Its situation in the city, in Belém, surrounded by urban voids, in front of the infrastructural barrier and its particular morphology increases the complexity of a possible full rehabilitation. Very often it is an topic of public debate.  For several years was planned to adapt the Cordoaria for hosting the National Archeology museum or the Navy Museum, but the intervention has proven difficult and costly. The building does not has the conditions for  permanent exhibitions or guarantees the climatic needs for delicate artifacts.

At the moment this area still waits for the completion of a plan in order to redevelop its connection to the river and find a permanent solution for the space.

Central Tejo

The second case is the Electricity museum, also in Belém. Built in the early twentieth century, the industrial complex known as Central Tejo, functioned from 1909 until 1972. The most representative building was finished in the mid-1920s and it is a good example of industrial architecture heritage. Its red brick façade has become an important landmark in Lisbon’s waterfront, and it represents the evolution of the city into the industrial times.

Figure 7
Central Tejo. Author: Lola Sánchez Pérez.

During the first half of the twentieth century was the main power plant in the city. It played a key role producing energy for many uses, like the railway line that runs parallel to the river, heading to the west.

Although the industrial activity stopped officially in the end of the 1970s, it was only recovered for cultural uses in the 1990s, when started to work as electricity museum. More recently, since 2006, reopened its doors as the EDP Museum, owned by the major electrical company of the country. Besides the main exhibition it also hosts temporary events.

Its privileged position on the shore increases its monumentality, especially considering that it is an isolated volume on the sore without any other buildings in the surroundings to compare with. At the same time it is placed in Belém, with many other monuments and cultural centers, integrated in the cultural urban structure.

At the present moment the EDP is building another cultural center next to the EDP Museum. This new project, signed by the British architect Amanda Levete, has also generated much discussion regarding the architecture, the location and the real need for this new building. Its sinuous shapes will create a great contrast with the place and the preexistence.  Also this project changes partially the river line, something that it was not initially allowed in the municipal plans.

This new facility, along with the EDP Museum and the coaches Museum reinforces the idea of a cultural axis along the river, developed in the strategic plans by the Lisbon municipality. This strategy has been occasionally criticized, considering that Lisbon already has museums and cultural centers with considerable budgets and great expenditure of public money.

Pedro Álvares Cabral Building

The final case in this group is the building that hosts the Orient Museum. This construction from the 1940s, project done by the architect João Simões Antunes, is a remarkable example of the architecture of the regime the Estado Novo. Being the original program a codfish warehouse, it almost has no windows in the façades, accentuating the monolithic aspect of the volume. In 1992 stopped functioning as a warehouse and it closed its doors until 2008 when reopened as the Orient Museum, run by the Fundação Oriente.

Figure 8
Edificio Pedro Àlvares Cabral. Author: Lola Sánchez Pérez

The renovation project was signed by one of the most renowned contemporary architects in Portugal, João Luis Carrilho da Graça. During the construction process there were several issues to be solved related with the previous activity of the building, the very low free height of the several floors forced the architect to find a complex distribution scheme[viii]. Another problem was the strong codfish odor that remained in the building; this issue was finally solved and did not compromise the normal operation of the museum.

Its urban situation is relatively complex, considering that it is placed in Alcântara, where several port activities are still functioning.  It is near the container terminal, the customs and navy guard facilities. Also at the front of the main door exists the infrastructural barrier that separates the city from the river. This issue might be the most critical aspect of the project in terms of urban planning.  As we analyze the building, we can see that it is not properly connected with the surroundings, which include a train station from where visitors could arrive.

Even with these problems, this example shows us that although the original use of the building was very specific and that the morphological features of the preexistence were not easy to incorporate to current uses it was possible to recover for a new program totally different from the original function.

THIRD GROUP OF INTERVENTIONS: THE PORT WAREHOUSES

Finally the third typology is the docks warehouses, that between the mid-1990s and the 2000s were refurbished for recreational activities. Two cases will be presented although there are many others along the riverbank in Lisbon[ix].

The first case is the Santo Amaro docks, also popularly known as “Docas”. As we have previously seen, in this zone the port activities are still functioning, where we can find the container and the cruise terminals among others. Also there are several buildings that host offices and companies related with the port. In the beginning of the 1990’s this was one of the first waterfront sections where former port buildings were transformed to host recreational uses. The warehouses were restored by privates with the support of the port authority (Rêgo Cabral, 2011). In the same area two recreational marinas were created, Santo Amaro and Alcântara.

Figure 9
Docas de Santo Amaro. Author: José M P Sánchez

We can see that this area is in a relative central location, west from the Praça do Comércio. Several public transports reach this place and is one of the waterfront sections where we can clearly see the barrier effect caused by some port sectors. Considering that there is a complex mix of functions, we can realize the consequences of having an industrial port within city boundaries, and the problems that it can generate, related with traffic and the accessibility requirements of trucks and cargo transport.

In terms of program there is a key difference with the previous cases. In the previous cases there is a cultural function, but in this case the main role is played by leisure activities. This is important for the urban waterfront regeneration in order to insure the diversity of what sort of programs can be developed in this part of the city. This aspect is crucial to make sure that the river is present in the everyday life, even though when it is only the background picture.

The industrial architecture of these warehouses has been very often reduced to a simple container for activities, which can be understood when we see that there is no special protection, unlike what happens with the other cases that are considered national monuments. Although this might be an issue if seen from the heritage preservation point of view, it might have been a positive aspect when seen from the business perspective, considering that allows more freedom to private entrepreneurs and the rapid occupation of these buildings.

A second case study is the Jardim do Tabaco. This is also a docks warehouses ensemble, like the previous one, but placed east from the Praça do Comércio.  The name is related with the tobacco customs placed in the area around the seventeenth century. It follows the same model as the ones presented before, former docks warehouses refurbished to host restaurants, bars and clubs; reinforcing the idea of nightlife by the river. A different aspect is the fact that in these buildings we can also find different shops facing the city side.

In this area of the city we can feel again the effect of the barrier and the lack of adapted pedestrian paths, especially considering that we are nearby the main square and different subway connections. In the near future we should see important changes in this section of the waterfront since the new cruise terminal will be built here.

The two cases briefly explained show other model of intervention in the waterfront, which also integrates the preexistence buildings but develops a different activity and purpose. The mix of uses present in the riverfront areas is a key aspect in order to insure the presence of people with different schedules, activities and needs.

Conclusions

When analyzing Lisbon’s waterfront we see different types of interventions. Until the present moment there has been a relative positive balance between brand new interventions, like the Parque das Nações, and the recycling and reuse of port buildings heritage. This is a key aspect to ensure the good relation between port and city and reinforce the urban identity. As we have seen in this paper there is not just one way to reuse the existing buildings.  In the waterfront many different activities can take place and it is important that it happens so.  We cannot just destine the river banks for green areas and museum, but also the different urban programs that we find in our cities, from culture to offices, from education to housing. In many Mediterranean cities we can see how port heritage has been recovered for different uses, like in Barcelona the Atarazanas, in Genoa the Magazini del cottone and in Marseille the industrial silos.

Through the different examples that have been here presented, we can see how important it is to plan beyond the scale of the building. In order to increase the effect of the reuse of port heritage to new activities, we have to ensure that it is well connected to adjacent areas and also linked to urban transport networks. Elaborating urban plans that take in account the different systems acting in the city, helps us to face the complexity and the conflicts between different realities. In port-cities this conflict is always present and we have to consider how the different elements interact between themselves, in order to find a balance and reach a status quo between port and urban activities.

In the process of waterfront urban regeneration several actors play key roles and there has to be a constant dialogue in order to reach good results. When talking about port cities we have always to consider the port authorities, their rules and their priorities. The municipality must have clear course for action or as we have seen there is the risk of leaving the city in an impasse, without going forward to a better relation with the sea or river. In many Western  Mediterranean cities we also see the important role played by public companies dedicated to manage the urban regeneration. These companies could be a good way to deal with conflict and coordinate the process.

Port-cities have an even more complex reality than other cities. The way their roots are connected to the sea or river makes them special. We have to plan our cities in order to get in touch with our roots, respect the identity and find a development model for the coexistence between port and city.

 

This paper is an improved version of the article originally presented in the  fifth Colloquium on Mediterranean Urban Studies, hosted in Mersin in October 2014.


[i] The debate regarding the death caused by the seism is not settled. According to some sources the earthquake could have caused from 10 000 to 100 000 casualties. The effects of this natural disaster were felt in the entire continent. Other Portuguese and Spanish cities suffered the shakes and destruction of the quake. The tsunami could have reached the coasts of Brazil several hours after it occurred.

[ii] The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and spread to Western Europe and the United States within a few decades. The precise start and end of the Industrial Revolution is debated among historians. Eric Hobsbawm held that it ‘broke out’ in Britain in the 1780s and was not fully felt until the 1830s or 1840s, while T. S. Ashton held that it occurred roughly between 1760 and 1830. Joseph E Inikori (2002)

[iii] Several researchers (Costa, Barata, Fernandes, Figuiera de Sousa among others) have studied the evolution of the industry along the waterfront of Lisbon. Costa identifies different stages that include changes of the scale in the industrial facilities but also their location in the urban tissue. The industry evolves from a smaller scale developed near the center (Praça do Comércio) and the west side of the city, to bigger conglomerates in the eastern section of, and finally to the autonomous complex in the south side of the estuary.

[iv] The urban waterfront regeneration projects have become a global phenomenon. During the 1960’s the first projects were developed in North America , after that we see an evolution until today’s most recent interventions in Hamburg, Rotterdam or Marseille. This kind of plans have become usual in port-cities. The inhabitants from these same cities regained the notion of important urban spaces by the water are.

[v] In the sustainability reports from 2007 and 2008 it is explained that 76% of the waterfront under the jurisdiction of the port authority (205 km) is accessible to the public. The issue is the fact that most of the heavy port activities are placed in the waterfront of Lisbon. In the report from 2007 it is said that 41% of the territory controlled by the port authority in Lisbon (15,9 km) is accessible to the public. This figure is the lowest of the 11 municipalities that have contact with the port.

[vi] In fact the king D. Manuel I changed his residence in 1511 to the palace placed in the waterfront, an area that later came to be known as the “Terreiro do Paço.”

[vii] This public company was supposed to coordinate all the projects related with Lisbon’s waterfront, including as well the Ribeira das Naus and the Carriage Museum in Belém. After several public scandals the company was closed and did not continued with other possible projects. This “quango” could have worked as a interesting tool for the development of the waterfront heritage and coordination of plans.

[viii]http://www.jlcg.pt/museu_do_oriente

[ix] We can find other recycled docks warehouses in Cais do Sodré, Alcântara, Parque das Nações and Xabregas.

The Lisbon experience

The Lisbon experience

The visit

During the stay in Lisbon we got to know better the relation between the port and city and what both have been doing in order to improve it. We were able to meet with the responsible for this relation in the APL (Lisbon Port Authority), Arch. Rui Alexandre, who has been working in the organization since the early 1990´s. In order to get a more impartial vision we tried to meet, without success, with somebody from the Municipality. Since the final stop of the trip is also Lisbon we will try once again then.

Lisbon Waterfront
Lisbon Waterfront

Another interesting point was  the visit to the accessible parts of the waterfront and the photographical survey of these spaces, mainly the ones that have an unclear future or could be conflict points. A selection of these pictures is available in this gallery.

Finally we also visited the museums that could contain information about the port and its role in the city throughout time. Hence two mandatory visits were the City Museum and the Navy Museum.

In order to have an initial idea of the state of the port-city relation we consulted several APL documents besides the ones already pointed out in the previous post. The main ones were the sustainability reports from the years 2007 and 2008. These are the most recent documents that could be found, in them there is also a reference to the port plan for 2025. These reports contain relevant information regarding the main concerns and several important figures, such as the percentage of free accessible area for the citizens and the general public perception of the port.

Lessons learned

The port and the cities

One of the most important aspects that we have learned during the visit was that although called the “port of Lisbon” the port territories actually limits 11 municipalities (Alcochete, Almada, Barreiro, Benavente, Lisboa, Loures, Moita, Montijo, Oeiras, Seixal e Vila Franca de Xira) distributed across both sides of the river. Such complex distribution makes every decision remarkably difficult when compared with cases where the port is placed or belongs to one single city. This complexity hindered the decision making process for the new container terminal. The port is a national asset and it is directly under national government control. However in this territory there are several authorities with decision making capacities regarding territorial planning. Besides the APL and the 11 municipalities, we also find the AML (Metropolitan Area of Lisbon) and the CCDR (Regional governments). Besides these different authorities we find also the environmental protection agency which is concerned about the possible consequences of large infrastructural developments.

In the sustainability report of 2008 it was mentioned that 76% of the Tagus estuary waterfront (the area where the APL has jurisdiction) was accessible to the citizens, this value is the average from the 11 mentioned cities. In Lisbon only 41% of the riverfront was accessible in 2007, but in 2008 there was another important area released for the city in the east part of town, between the “Parque das Nações” and the Sta Apolonia Container Terminal. This area was supposed to be the new Oriental riverfront park, a new green area for the city. Although the APL released the territory in this year, the design competition for the park was only held in 2015. A national Landscape architecture office won the competition, but in July it was cancelled due to several irregularities in the process.

The port and the waterfront of Lisbon

When we analyze the evolution of the port waterfront area we can see that there has been a clear change in the way it occupies the territory. From a more extensive territorial model that used a considerable part of the riverfront, to a port that works with several cores along the river, freeing up the area between them for the city. As it was mentioned in previous posts, in the early 1990s the POZOR plan brought the first change in the waterfront since the 1940s. After that, in order to host the EXPO, more territory in the east part of town was released.

Nowadays we see that the heavy port activities in the north side of the river are concentrated mainly between Sta. Apolonia and Poço do Bispo, and between Santos and Alcântara. We define as heavy activities the container terminals, the silos, mixed cargo, shipyards and the current cruise terminals, which allow a reduced access to the water. Along the Tagus river we can also find several marinas, but since they do not required a significant space and do not constitute visual barrier for the city these could be considered soft activities, without significant consequences for Lisbon.

Sta. Apolónia container terminal
Sta. Apolónia container terminal

The APL has the power to decide which are the areas that are going to be given to the city and to stablish the border line. It is also relevant to say that once one sector has been freed up it is relatively complicated to bring it back under port control. This could only happen if there was a central government decision and it involves a complex negotiation with the appropriate municipal authorities. For this reason the process of releasing waterfront areas is quite ponderous, since the port must be sure that in this territory there will be no more port activities and that it will not be needed for expansion or other uses. The dialogue with the municipality for the urban planning process is focused in the Masterplan level (PDM). For example for access to the port, and for joint applications for EU funds for the development of important infrastructure for both. For the nearer urban planning scale (Planos de Pormenor, Planos de Urbanização), once the port has released an area, the planning, management and maintenance is total responsibility of the municipality, the APL still remains with the jurisdiction of the water areas.

Regarding the areas that the port occupies we found out that there are some zones that have a mixed management between the APL and the municipality. More specifically three of them: the Docapesca in Algés/Pedroucos ,where the future “Marina do Tejo” should be built; the area in Santos, which the port has not released for the city yet because it must be decided if it would be necessary for future port activities -although it seems improvable-, and the future cruise terminal in Sta. Apolonia.

Docapesca in Algés
Docapesca in Algés

These joint managed areas have a common characteristic and it is the fact that for several years we have not assisted to any kind of changes, although some of them  might have pending projects. The area in Santos has several abandoned warehouses and urban voids that do not add any value to the city. This happens because they are not used for alternative activities as it happens to similar ones near Cais do Sodré, Sta Apolonia or Alcantara. In the Docapesca we have seen different events, like the Volvo Ocean Race, but when we visit it we encounter a fenced partly abandoned space with no porous relation between the river and the land.

As we have seen there are available spaces for urban projects in the riverfront but the stand-by status is clearly affecting the way the people see the port, since there is a more immediate mental connection of these areas with the port. Hence it creates a negative image and the perpetuation of the idea that the port is not allowing the access to the water.

The Cruise Terminal

In the previous paragraph we pointed out that the joint management areas are even more complex for the planning process, therefore creating delays in the implementation of the planned projects, this also happens in the new cruise terminal project. In this particular case the process is even more complex since it implies a concession to a conglomerate of 5 companies, that will be responsible for the construction of the building. As pointed by Arch. Rui Alexandre, the construction of the terminal should start in short time, and the conclusion of the works is expected for the end of 2016. The main reason for the delay was the negotiation for the concession of the terminal operation that was very complex. The APL had the commitment to guarantee a quality service not just for the customers but also for the citizens. We can observe that in one of the main features of the terminal, the elevated public space that will allow a new view point over Lisbon, the river and the port. He also explained that the APL already made an initial investment, around 30 mill. €, in order to fulfill its obligations as landlord port, to give the concessionaries the base infrastructure for the construction of the terminal.

Site for the future cruise terminal
Site for the future cruise terminal

Image of the port

The port of Lisbon still holds a slightly negative image among the citizens of the city. Although, as we have seen, there is a reasonable free area to get in contact with the water, the port is not seen as a friendly element in the waterfront. We have seen very few specific actions focused on improving this relation, despite what was explained in the consulted documents.

We expect to meet with the responsible for public relations of the APL during the next stop in Lisbon, but from the authors point of view it would perhaps make sense that the person in charge for the port-city relation could also have the duty of coordinating the physical and non-physical interaction. For this matter we have seen many initiatives, even in other Portuguese ports, that could be taken into action. As pointed out by several researchers the soft values are crucial for a healthy relation with the city, particularly in the ones with an active industrial port in the urban tissue.

Also it could be said that there is a certain lack of self-criticism, especially regarding the negative externalities produced port territories that affect the life quality in nearby areas. The relation with the city should not only be managed by  releasing waterfront areas for the citizens to use, but also by acting in the social image of the port, otherwise there will be a constant pressure over the port authorities to free more waterfront territories.

New Barreiro Terminal

One of the main issues for the future of the port and the cities in the region is the new container terminal. When we asked Arch. Rui Alexandre whether this expansion project meant new free areas in the waterfront of Lisbon the answer was very clear, this new terminal is necessary for the expected growth of the port traffic in future decades, therefore the existing terminals in the north side of the river should remain under port control.

The new terminal indicates that the port will continue in the Tagus estuary, although it will not grow much more in Lisbon. The project has several advantages, as it was pointed out during the interview. It has the full support of all the concerned authorities, it will be built in an existing brownfield, therefore reducing the environmental impact of it, and the connections to the main railway network is easier than in the other considered alternative, Trafaria.

Good news from the port

From the port side there are two main news that could mean a significant improvement for the port-city relation. In the first place there is a project for the creation of a documentation center for the port that should be built in the Alcântara Maritime terminal. This building nowadays is undergoing a renovation program. The facility will gain much attention in the near future since it will be also the headquarters of the APL, making it the most representative place of the port.

The other relevant news is the approach for the new container terminal. As it was mentioned before, this new project is crucial for the future of the port and it will be used to implement a new way of planning this infrastructure. The APL is in contact with the Portuguese Architectural Association in order to prepare a competition for new urban concepts for the port and city areas. The main goal is to have a real multidisciplinary approach to the project, in order to improve not only the efficiency of this sort of facility, but also to plan in order to create a better image from the outside, from the neighbors and from the other side of the river.

The city and the port

During the visit we were able to realize that Lisbon might have a strong maritime identity, but it has not invested in its port identity. The visited museum did not present so much information about the port, its history or the present. This issue is very relevant since the efforts for the coexistence of both realities in the urban tissue must be done by both. We could understand that the city might be reticent to invest in the cultural diffusion of the image of the port since it is an independent organism pending only from the central government, but its role in the evolution of Lisbon is very clear. This problem might be solved by the new documentation center project, if its prepared to be accessible to the general public, not just for researchers.

Navy Museum: Very nice collection of ships, but very little information about the port
Navy Museum: Very nice collection of ships, but very little information about the port

In the last two decades we have seen an increasing interest of the city to reach the river. This interest has been translated in different waterfront regeneration projects that were relatively successful, from the EXPO to the most recent ones, the “Ribeira das Naus”. Besides these good examples there are others that did not really improved the relation with the river. We could observe that in other parts of the waterfronts there are areas controlled by the municipality that have not been transformed to the noble use of giving a quality public space by the river to its citizens. For example in the east part of town, in the limit of the Parque das Nações interventions, what we find nowadays is a car dealer and a mechanical workshop, with the cars parked directly by the riverside. There are other examples of deficient maintenance in waterfront public spaces controlled by the municipality, like the areas around Belém fluvial station, where we can see caravans parked, or nearby in the “parque das missas” where we can find damaged pavement. It is contradictory to insist in the importance of the waterfront for the city and then not taking proper care of it.

The fact that we find several public spaces like the mentioned before raises other relevant point for the waterfront masterplan: is it reasonable to leave the waterfront just for public space or is it better to allow the urban tissue to arrive near the river? We will try to discuss this important question and the vision of the city for the waterfront it in the next visit to the city.

Public space between Alcantara and Belém, created with the POZOR plan. It is very used by the citizen,but should the complete waterfront be only public space?
Public space between Alcantara and Belém, created with the POZOR plan. It is very used by the citizen,but should the complete waterfront be only public space?

Conclusion

For what we were able to see the port-city relation in Lisbon has improved along time. One of the main improvements is the fact that nowadays there is a multiplicity of locations where one can reach the river. What for many years constituted a major issue for the citizens. In this aspect we have observed progresses from the city and the port. On one side, the port has released several areas, while the municipality has develop them into public spaces of high quality.

The main existing issue could be considered to be the public image of the port and the strategy to communicate with the citizens. The port has to make an effort to be recognized by the inhabitants as the important identity element that is. The city and the port should work together to improve the regeneration process, since the opportunities are greater than the threats. If the public sees that the process takes too long the disbelieve will be installed in the general mindset therefore insisting in a negative image of the port.

During the research trip we will visit several cities that have innovative strategies for the issues here presented. We will find which ones could be implemented in Lisbon, and how the new projects could bring the relation to the balanced coexistence model required.