Regional Polycentrism in a Mountainous Territory: The Case of Covilha (Portugal) and Alpine Cities

Domingos Martins Vaz, Maria Joao Matos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The Portuguese mountain city of Covilha possesses a singular industrial tradition. Today, many of the urban interventions undertaken result in an urban space and landscape disconnected from the mountains. Alpine mountain cities emerge as emblematic, given the representativeness the Alps assume within the context of European mountains. In the Alpine region, the polycentric system of cities condenses the characteristics associated with the topographical particularities and singular types of inter-municipal and cross-border relationships, where the economic changes and regional policies can be observed with greater clarity due to their specificity. In general terms, the quality of life, based on the landscape values, the identification of the citizens with their territory, and on the territorial planning at different scales, emerges as being linked to the construction of a brand identity based on sustainable urban development. It is in this sphere that the study of Alpine cases can inspire good practices to be applied in the Portuguese territory of the Beira Interior, namely in the medium-sized cities and in the synergies between them and the natural spaces. Thus Covilha finds itself in an advantageous position to use its situation to construct a city brand in harmony with the mountain territory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-397
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015




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