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Frontpage News 2008 Transforming neighbourhoods in Portugal

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Transforming neighbourhoods in Portugal

  • In April 2008, the EEA Grants set off its €3.8 million share of a close to €100 million complex project to combat social exclusion and initiate social change in deprived urban areas in Portugal.

    The grant agreement for the €3.2 million project in the neighbourhood of Cova da Moura was signed on 2 April 2008 in Lisbon. The project is part of the Critical Urban Areas (CUA) programme, a close to €100 million urban rehabilitation investment in Portugal, also covering the areas of Vale da Amoreira, and Lagarteiro in the Oporto metropolitan area. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway also support parts of the Vale da Amoreira project through a €3.2 million grant from the financial mechanisms. Both the financial mechanism supported project parts and the CUA programme are managed by the National Housing Institute.

    The coming improvement of living conditions in the run-down urban area of Cova da Moura, housing an estimated 7000 people on 16 hectares, involves inter-ministerial cooperation, civic participation and participation of local authorities. The pilot participatory project holds strong local backing, as the Cova da Moura community is ready to turn around the area's bad public image.

    The neighbourhood dates back to the beginning of the 1970s, when lack of housing in Lisbon led large parts of the immigrant population to develop a community of illegal housing in the city's outskirts. Spatially and socially segregated, the area and its inhabitants have struggled with the dispute over the occupied land, precarious housing situations, insecurity due to drug sale and criminality, as well as social exclusion.

    The manifold project aims to legalise the area's land ownership, laying the ground for social and economic sustainability, and rehabilitate the community's basic infrastructure such as electricity, gas, roads and telephone lines. Local residents will be able to participate in a multitude of social and educational activities, and the project has a strong focus on support to activities that could strengthen local entrepreneurship and employment. In order to further improve the neighbourhood's image, the number of local cultural festivities and events will increase and an old wind mill will be restored.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Initiative "Qualification and Rehabilitation of Critical Urban Areas" - Cova da Moura

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Environment and sustainable development


    € 3,230,000



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual project

    Project promoter:

    National Housing Institute

    Type of institution:

    National authority

    Project website:

    Project duration:

    43 months

    Project cost:

    € 98,800,000

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    02 April 2008

    The purpose of the Project is to improve the quality of life of the Cova da Moura neighbourhood by empowering residents and improving living conditions, with the overall objective to improve the social, economic and infrastructural situation in degenerated urban areas in Portugal. Reference is made to the application, dated 14 December 2006. As well as additional information provided by the Focal Point dated 12 February 2007, 27 June 2007, 20 July 2007, 25 July 2007, 22 August 2007, 18 September 2007 and 19 September 2007.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - Implement social and educational intervention programmes and actions, such as educational training and sports facilities;

    - Increase the attractiveness of the neighbourhood to the outside by creating a technical team to support entrepreneurship and employment, and increase the number of local cultural festivities and events;

    - Prepare and implement the technical marketing plan to improve the neighbourhood's image;

    -Construction and remodelling of basic infrastructure, such as: electricity, gas, telephone lines and roads;

    -Renovation of a windmill.

    The Project Promoter is the Instituto Naçional de Habitação, INH (Portuguese National Housing Institute)

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the total estimated eligible Project costs.