IGU Urban Commission, Canterbury, 2010
Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto (FLUP), Centre of Studies on Geography and Spatial Planning (CEGOT)
Urban regeneration in Porto
Reflections on a fragmented sub-regional space, without institutional powers and
“lost” between central government and local authorities
Recent research on cities and urban systems has come to recognise the fundamental importance of analysing scalar articulations and networks and the relations established among actors and spaces at all levels. In this context, the principles associated to the regeneration of urban spaces, collaborative planning and governance emerge as crucial, related to strategic, systemic and integrated approaches to urban development, undertaken by public and/or private and/or other actors in a certain area.
In Portugal, and specifically in Porto, important urban regeneration projects are in progress, but they still reflect an individualist view (each municipality for itself) and a top-down approach (the state decides, the others comply), showing a clear lack of cooperation and institutional articulation (governance is essentially rhetoric) in the context of virtually nonexistent metropolitan planning. This article aims to reflect on the ongoing urban projects in the municipalities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in light of the concepts of city-region, governance and urban regeneration, taking into consideration information collected from projects and applications to national EU-funded programmes and from interviews with agents in charge of regeneration and revitalisation in these municipalities.