Seeds for the future in Lisbon

Christine Graf's picture

We are just back from our project meeting in Lisbon and I am still impressed which strong efforts the municipality of Lisbon is making to transform their city into a sustainable place of living. The presentation of their projects and our discussions with staff from the municipality were one of the highlights to me. Unfortunately, I haven't got the presentation of the deputy mayor yet, but found another article about the transformation process which describes the role of Lisbon municipality.

Not only the reception at the municipality but also learning about vertical gardens and the very warm welcome of our Portuguese partners made this project meeting unforgettable.

At the end of each project meeting I am asking participants for their spontaneous feedback and I would like to share what they said:*

What did you like during the meeting?

  • Felt very welcome (III)

  • great hospitality (V)

  • very good organization (III)

  • nice restaurants

  • good program

  • I learned much more than expected

  • good, knowledgable workshop to explore the principles of vertical gardens (III)

  • gained transferable knowledge about vertical gardens

  • the gardening approach of Lisbon & how they involve people living there

  • the work the municipality does/did

  • the mix of different presentations and perspectives: gardens & vertical gardens, municipality of Lisbon, businesses, workshop

  • planting trees in the rain

  • see also the failure of a vertical garden project as it is useful to learn from that

  • diversity we could offer to you

  • proud that we cold show it all to you

  • manage to meet our local authorities

  • pleased to be invited to that meeting

What could be improved?

  • Display multilingual signs for tourist come to visit your city

  • more free time during the day to explore the environment

  • the tree planting method!

  • The presentation of the workshop was too mixed and thus partly difficult to follow

  • would have liked to talk with people involved in the change of their living area

What do you take home?

  • The transformation of the city could be a blueprint for other (European) cities, that's a big step for Portugal in difficult times

  • how people are being active in their living area, joyful being a part of it

  • the commitment of the actors to be able do and change something give me hope and motivation

  • how the different departments of the municipality work and cooperate together instead of fighting against each other

  • good examples how participatory budgeting works out

  • it was a privilege how we could talk with the local authorities of Lisbon

  • seeing the process and progress of the green transformation of Lisbon, how the municipality combine different needs and activities of local people

  • we need better communicate what we are doing, spread the words, use all available media and networks

  • It was surprising to see that a group of citizens created a European project to follow a passion, that's real power!

* numbers in brackets show the number of people giving the same answers 

Get some impressions of that meeting:



    daniel spizzo's picture

    The municipality of Lisbon

    The municipality of Lisbon has begun a very interesting urban process of "green" policy design. As we know, public ""green" and gardening initiatives have a real impact only if they are sustained by the passion, the economic interest and the direct involvment of the final beneficiaries: the citizens of urban districts. In times of crisis, such policies have also a strong "social" entreprise character as they foster unioning, voluntary comunity cooperation and social innovation. Furthermore, in areas with high unemployment rates, these policies are of great help as they permit to many families to save their money and to eat healthy products. In this case, Lisbon's model of fostering and stimulating cooperation among families and citizens could be exported in other European cities. It also aims at fostering self-entrepreneurship. This is another important fact. Lisbon's gardening policies have stimulated the creation of new business opportunities: Coffee shops, bike hiring, fitness centres, touristic points of interest. In my opinion it should be considered as a good practice in social investment and social innovation. Let's import this model also in our Italian cities!

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