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Lisbon Masterclass on City Making and Tourism Gentrification

Igor Marko

Stadslab International Master Class on City Making & Tourism Gentrification supervised by Igor Marko (Marko&Placemakerss) and Marc Glaudemans (Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory) took place 15-22 April 2016 in Lison. The highly challenging urban regeneration case-study was focused on one of Lisbon’s oldest districts – Mouraria. The Master Class was organised in partnership with Academia Cidadã | Citizenship Academy and the City of Lisbon.

1. Exploring Mouraria - Site Analysis, Observation and Mapping

Mouraria originated as a 13th century Moorish neighbourhood and remained a marginal downtown area. Nowadays, parts of Mouraria are affected by tourism, others are still deprived with high levels of migrant population and social housing. Cheap property prices and proximity to other tourist destinations (Alfama, Castello) raise realistic assumptions that Mouraria will face large influx of investment in real estate and tourism infrastructure, resulting in gentrification.

2. Methods and Processes – Connecting Spatial and Social Networks

The workshop was organised in a series of dynamic group sessions including mapping, constructing urban narratives, field interviews, character building and role play. We have overlaid physical and social networks that form current qualities of Mouraria which will become fundamental in order to preserve authenticity and develop resilience within this neighborhood. Preserving local qualities and character will offset future challenges Mouraria is facing in light of increased tourism.

3. Presentation – Findings and Opportunities

The week long masterclass culminated in an afternoon of public presentations in presence of the Deputy Mayor of Lisbon, planning officials, local community members and stakeholders. The research findings indicate that negotiation of city making is an ongoing process based on:

1. Defining qualities of the place recognised by the whole spectrum of local community and stakeholders;
2. A system of monitoring of change and trends based on live data;
3. A communication platform to enable inclusive engagement;
4. Inspirational nature of transformation, both physical and psychological.


Stadslab International Master Class on City Making & Tourism Gentrification supervised by Igor Marko (Marko&Placemakers) and Marc Glaudemans (Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory) took place 15-22 April 2016 in Lison. The Master Class was organised in partnership with Academia Cidadã | Citizenship Academy and the City of Lisbon.

Photos © Academia Cidadã | Citizenship Academy and workshop participants