The word “gentrification” was the most frequently used word during our week in Lisbon. We saw the impact of gentrification in everything: buildings, parks, shops, streets, people. We were absorbing the surroundings of Lisbon’s charm and transforming it into information to truly understand how much gentrified Lisbon is.
We were getting lost in three neighborhoods: Avenida de Liberdade, Baixa and Cais do Sodré. Our purpose was to find some signals that surprised us or just caught our attention. We based our research on: photo research, observations, street conversations and nethunting but we also supported it with reports and articles.
Our hypothesis about our neighborhoods was that they’re being re-gentrified but in a slower pace than other neighborhoods, due to high land costs and abandonment of spaces from economic pressures (i.e. COVID and 2010 crisis, aging population), which make the transition less desirable.
We have documented everything and below you can see what we have gathered over only one week.
Of course we didn’t forget to define the tribes, patterns, cycles or trends:
RESULT OF ANALYSIS
We confirmed that our neighborhoods are being re-gentrified at a slower pace than other areas. The spaces such as the avenue and big squares are present, but they are not being used for locals, and mostly are occupied by tourists or transients. Missing more spaces like cafes, dog parks and gyms, and affordable housing.
Causing high prices and displacement reflected in abandonment, and the need of investment to change their characteristics. Which cannot be solved by public funds only due to the economic situation of the country, so foregin investments are needed.
At the very end we summarized the current and future scenarios for Lisbon:
Tourism as a mass-phenomenon, together with new drivers of the real-estate market in Lisbon and the recently focus on tech and innovation, are promoting the renovation of rundown properties, taking advantage of the young local professionals/ new travelers socio-economic situations and changing the residential, commercial and public space landscapes.
Recently improved transportation nodes and rescued urban public areas have also played a meaningful role in this process. Touristification has strengthened the “attractivity”, and “heritage valorisation”, of the Av De Liberdade, Baixa and Cais Do Sodré areas, aiming to attract younger residents after the local resident population declines. Even though there is a loss of portugués identity.
As an effect of historical gentrification and recently established tourism in these areas, there has been a significant rise of housing prices, and pressure on commercial infrastructures to grow in a more “contemporary, appealing” way.
In a long term post Covid hyper-tourism scenario (10 years from now)...
Foregin inventors will repurchase most of the properties in the city center and they will fully transform every part of the areas to tourist base attractions and accommodations for the high class.
The Avenida de Liberdade luxurious feeling will expand to all surrounding streets and Baixa. Digital nomads, co-working areas, and cafes will be the norm in the center, resembling more to Principe Real. The center will be completely renovated with some preserved Portuguese style and resemble more to other western capitals in style and cost, especially more to San Francisco, due to the focus on innovation the city has.
City center, even with the preservation of some architecture, will lose its traditional and portuguese charm due to the lack of locals and renovating decisions. Locals will be pushed out behind the tourist sector to neighborhoods that they are able to afford and will not keep finding to preserve the place.