Becoming local at Parque das Nações: the urban political economy of a planned neighbourhood in Lisbon

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The Lisbon World Exhibition of 1998 was an official celebration of a modern and cosmopolitan Portugal, as well as, of the country’s historical maritime achievements. The event encompassed the renovation of Lisbon’s Eastern waterfront, emerging as an opportunity to symbolically redefine its metropolitan development and to redraw its image as a contemporary and international city.
The aim was to create a new urban centrality, through the regeneration of an area that was until then occupied with port, industrial and storage facilities, along with working-class family housing.
Renamed Parque das Nações and promoted as the ‘Imagined City, after the conclusion of the exhibition, the site became an emblematic space for the Lisbon metropolis due to the lasting symbolic association with the event. It also grew as a residential area for the urban middle classes and as the location of numerous enterprises, as well as commercial, cultural and leisure venues.
The main objective of this paper is to describe and interpret the implementation of a specific modality of ‘urban political economy’ in Parque das Nações (Lisbon), between 1998 and 2012.
The paper relates to the conference theme (session 3) in the sense that it focuses on a local process of place building that involves policies and urban management principles and instruments, but also community action, and everyday practices. It really is about new ways of becoming local in contemporary, globalizing cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Spaces & Urban Cultures Meeting Generative Places Smart Approaches Happy People
Subtitle of host publicationBook Of Proceedings - Joint Conference CITTA 8th Annual Conference On Planning Research Aesop TG
Place of PublicationPorto
PublisherFaculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-972-752-195-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Urban political economy
  • Place building
  • Urban management
  • Lisbon
  • Freguesia do Parque das Nações


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