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UrbanA Portugal (UrbanA PT) is part of the UrbanA (Urban Arenas for Sustainable and Just Cities) project and is a three-year EU-funded project that began in January 2019 and will finish in December 2021. UrbanA PT is run by the Lisbon team at FCiencias.ID in Lisbon University who work in the "The Climate Change Impacts and Modelling" (CCIAM)[1] research group at the "Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes" (CE3C). Their work fits into the wider UrbanA community of practice. UrbanA PT have a facebook[2] page and twitter[3] account, sharing information in both English and Portuguese.

Local Arenas

The Urbana project allowed for the creation of "Side Arenas" in host cities during the duration of the three year long project. Lisbon agreed to hold one before each of the four main arenas, but decided to change the name to "Local Arenas". They see this as an ongoing experimental process to ground the macro level discussions of the four European arenas with local, more micro level, activity in the Lisbon metropolitan area (AML)[4]. They are interested in how local actors, communities and projects can best benefit through connections made through the wider UrbanA community of practice, through webinars, online conferences and further exchanges on shared topics.

Local Arena #1, Mouraria

UrbanA PT had their first "Local Arena" on Tuesday November 12th in Mouraria, Lisbon, to explore how local 'city makers' can transform Lisbon into a sustainable & Just city. At this time in Lisbon, the city was going through such rapid and profound change that it was recently deemed “The new capital of gentrification and evictions” by the Catalan paper Ara.cat[5]. After much time reaching out to local groups and projects active in the city, a group of about 30 participated in a full day of activity in the cities most multicultural community, Mouraria[6][7]. The first URBANA City Zine[8] reported on the goings on of the day:

The event started with a walking tour of the labyrinthine neighbourhood under the old castle, where, like many European cities, touristification, gentrification and Airbnb are driving up rents so quickly that locals can no longer afford to pay and are moving out of their bairros. Minimum wage raised 6% to 635 euros in 2019, but it is still the lowest in western Europe (Reuters). Activists from Housing and Right to the City groups Stop Despejos (Stop evictions), Jardim Martim Moniz and Habita led a mostly local group through the streets to the heart of this transformation, the now mostly emptied, Rua Dos Lagares, where remaining families recently had their evictions stalled due to mobilisations in the streets. Then, in the Mouraria Creative Hub participants explored how the approaches to urban justice and sustainability identified in UrbanA translate to the Lisbon context, using Fishbowl, World Café and other participatory methods. Their findings are being fed into the wider UrbanA project through its collaborative processes and tools, including the wiki and Community of Practice.

During the main event in Mouraria Creative Hub a local artist, Filipa Santos from "ECO - Design Gráfico"[9], participated in the event and carried out a "live sketching" exercise to follow the dynamics, discussion and discussion of the day. This resulted in a large artists recording drawn on a page (size aprox: 1.5 x 2 m)[10]. At the end of the long day, Lisbon UrbanA fellow Rafael Calado and Constança Belchior, one of the UrbanA PT team, gave a short video report of the day which is available on Instagram[11] and Twitter[12]. A PDF presentation of the event is available online[13].

Community of Practice

UrbanA Portugal (UrbanA PT) is part of the UrbanA project and is run by the Lisbon team at FCiencias.ID at Lisbon University. It also fits into the project's wider UrbanA community of practice. UrbanA PT has a facebook[14] page and twitter[15] account, sharing information in both English and Portuguese.

An aim of the UrbanA project is to establish a “Community of Practice” (CoP)[16], which is a European community of “City makers” to develop communications with each other and the wider communities, projects they are part of, with the hope of unearthing processes to better create Sustainable and Just cities. This includes a group of 25 “UrbanA Fellows”[17] who will participate in each Arena event and take responsibility to act as bridges and offering to lead webinars and other communication processes to engage in learning processes that develop and/or deepen local, translocal and regional networks. UrbanA also offers consortium members the opportunity to create “side arenas” in their own city, as means of feeding from the micro into the macro. The Lisbon team has agreed to have four arenas, to avail of the “Green Capital” moment in 2020 to explore issues of justice and especially housing and gentrification issues. The first Lisbon side arena happened in November 2019, in the cities most multicultural neighbourhood, Mouraria. Arising from the 1st Local Arena was the idea for local groups to visit each other, get to know each others territories and projects and possibly to facilitate this by walks and talks and shared picnics, as has been done in 2019 by Ecocity Lisbon and the local Degrowth group on various occasions. After UrbanA's first Local Arena and main Arena had happened, the first “URBANA City Zine”[18] was published, which included the Lisbon report: "Lisbon, the new capital of gentrification & evictions"[19].


  1. The Climate Change Impacts and Modelling research group (CCIAM), UrbanA - Urban Arenas for sustainable and just cities https://ce3c.ciencias.ulisboa.pt/research/projects/ver.php?id=206
  2. UrbanA Portugal on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/urbana.portugal/
  3. UrbanA Portugal on Twitter https://twitter.com/pt_urbana
  4. Lisbon metropolitan area (AML), institutional website https://www.aml.pt/index.php
  5. Ara.cat: Lisboa, la nova capital de la gentrificació i els desallotjaments (The new capital of gentrification and evictions). October 2019. https://www.ara.cat/internacional/Lisboa-nova-capital-gentrificacio-desallotjaments_0_2320567954.html
  6. Expresso.pt: A freguesia mais multicultural de Portugal: o caldeirão de Arroios, onde cabem pessoas de 79 nacionalidades (The most multicultural parish in Portugal: the Arroios cauldron, where people of 79 nationalities can fit) https://expresso.pt/sociedade/2016-12-21-A-freguesia-mais-multicultural-de-Portugal-o-caldeirao-de-Arroios-onde-cabem-pessoas-de-79-nacionalidades
  7. Leonor Bettencourt & Paula Castro: Diversity in the Maps of a Lisbon Neighbourhood: Community and ‘Official’ Discourses about the Renewed Mouraria. Published in December 2015 in Culture and Local Governance / Culture et gouvernance locale, vol. 5, no. 1-2, 2015. Available on Research Gate at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289538295_Diversity_in_the_Maps_of_a_Lisbon_Neighbourhood_Community_and_%27Official%27_Discourses_about_the_Renewed_Mouraria
  8. URBANA City Zine (PDF) https://urban-arena.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Zine-final-version_Optimised.pdf
  9. ECO - Design Gráfico https://www.facebook.com/ecodesigngrafico/
  10. UrbanA PT Local Arena #1: Live sketching recording by Filipa Santos https://www.facebook.com/urbana.portugal/photos/a.153385982704145/153404429368967/?type=3&theater
  11. UrbanA Portugal short video report of 1st Local Arena, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B41yFdMgZsF/
  12. UrbanA Portugal short video report of 1st Local Arena, Twitter: https://twitter.com/pt_urbana/status/1194952033499058177
  13. UrbanA Portugal PDF presentation of 1st Local Arena https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1dpR2uGlo4yVrQ-tO1jMytjgnfoEVWsni
  14. UrbanA Portugal on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/urbana.portugal/
  15. UrbanA Portugal on Twitter https://twitter.com/pt_urbana
  16. UrbanA Community of Practice https://urban-arena.eu/people/
  17. UrbanA Fellows https://urban-arena.eu/people/
  18. URBANA City Zine (PDF) https://urban-arena.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Zine-final-version_Optimised.pdf
  19. Crowley, D (2020). In URBANA City Zine: "Lisbon, the new capital of gentrification & evictions https://medium.com/@fuspey/lisbon-the-new-capital-of-gentrification-evictions-1a760fdc3a76