João Rafael Santos


In the wake of severe economic slowdown during the 2008-2015 crisis, and despite continued constraints on public investment in large scale infrastructure, Lisbon is emerging as one of the most attractive destinations in Europe. Tourism has been driving major spatial, functional and social changes, initially in the city’s historical districts, and nowadays exerts impact across a much larger urban and regional area. Tourism, together with new drivers of the real-estate market, is promoting the renovation of formerly vacant or rundown built stock, taking advantage of a rather fragile socio-economic milieu and changing the face of residential, commercial and public space landscapes.
Recently upgraded transportation nodes and extensive improvements on public space have also played a meaningful role in this process. Central government and municipality rationale have underpinned its role in providing accessibility, “attractivity”, and “heritage valorisation”, aiming to attract young residents after decades of resident population decline. In contrast to considerable public investment in public space and infrastructure, very limited funding or policy has been targeted at maintaining an affordable housing and real-estate market: thus leaving much of the public investment return to the private sector. Criticism of gentrification and “touristification”, rising housing prices, and pressure on infrastructure is growing accordingly.
The paper provides insight into aspects of this process, with a focus on the relational aspects of mobility upgrade, public space renewal and inner-city urban regeneration. Several urban projects are mapped and broadly characterised in their spatial and functional relationship with tourism. An interpretative framework that combines them with the forms of territorialisation and the main conflicts and tensions is offered as a contribution to the ongoing discussion. Conclusions point to the complex and powerful role that public space and mobility infrastructure play in the impact of territorialising tourism: as supports for better qualified, multi-scalar and shared urban spaces and as drivers of a more balanced, diverse and socially-inclusive urban tourism development.


How to Cite
Santos, J. R. (2019) “Public Space, Tourism and Mobility: Projects, Impacts and Tensions in Lisbon’s Urban Regeneration Dynamics”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(2), pp. 29–56. doi: 10.32891/jps.v4i2.1203.
Author Biography

João Rafael Santos, Universidade de Lisboa

Architect and Assistant Professor of urbanism and urban design at Lisbon School of Architecture, Universidade de Lisboa (Master and PhD levels); Degree in Architecture (2002), MSc in Urban and Environmental Regeneration (2005), PhD in Urbanism (Lisbon School of Architecture, TU Lisbon, 2012); Post-doctoral scholarship (AUSMIP Plus Programme) at The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Prof. Ohno Hidetoshi Laboratory, 2013/2014.
His research interests include urban design and planning, especially in the field of metropolitan studies with a focus on the relationship of infrastructure with public space and socio-spatial development. He is Coordinator of URBinLAB – Urbanism and Territorial Dynamics, a research group affiliated with CIAUD - Research Centre for Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. He serves as Researcher at several international funded research projects: i.e. Softplan, NoVoid, iWrecks. Coordinator of AdaptPolis research project at FA: adaptpolis.fa.ulisboa.pt.
Has been awarded the Metrópoles Ciência 2016 Prize, by his research on Lisbon Metropolitan Area, the TU Lisbon’s/Caixa Geral de Depósitos Junior Researchers Prize in 2011, the Honorable Mention for TU Lisbon’s/Caixa Geral de Depósitos Junior Researchers Prize in 2010, and the Europan Europe First Prize in 2006 (as co-author).


ANA - Aeroportos de Portugal/Vinci Airports, (2018). O futuro dos aeroportos de Lisboa [WWW Document]. URL https://www.aeroportosdelisboa.com/ (accessed 30 June 2019).

Ascher, F. (1995). Métapolis ou l’avenir des villes. Éditions Odile Jacob, Paris.

Associação de Turismo de Lisboa (2019). Relatório de Atividades e Contas 2018. Associação de Turismo de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Atkinson, R. (2004). The evidence on the impact of gentrification: New lessons for the urban renaissance. European Journal of Housing Policy, 4(1), 107–131.

Balsas, C.J.L., (2007). City centre revitalization in Portugal: A study of Lisbon and Porto. Journal of Urban Design, 12(2), 231–259.

Baptista, I., (2013). The travels of critiques of neoliberalism: Urban experiences from the “borderlands.” Urban Geography, 34(5), 590–611.

Baptista, L.V., Nofre, J., Jorge, M. do R. (2018). Mobilidade, Cidade e Turismo: pistas para analisar as transformações em curso no centro histórico de Lisboa, Sociologia Revista da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Temático, 14–32.

Bhati, A., Pryce, J., Chaiechi, T., (2014). Industrial railway heritage trains: The evolution of a heritage tourism genre and its attributes, Journal of Heritage Tourism, 9(2), 114–133.

Bloomberg Business (2015), Lisbon Tourist Invasion Seen Threatening Ancient City’s Identity [WWW Document]. Bloom. Bus.

Bravo, L. (2018). We the public space. Strategies to deal with inequalities in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable urban environments, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), 163–164.

Bruttomesso, E. (2018). Making sense of the square: Facing the touristification of public space through playful protest in Barcelona, Tourist Studies, 18(4), 467–485.

Bryon, J. (2012). Tour guides as storytellers - from selling to sharing, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 12(1), 27–43.

Bures, R., Cain, C. (2008). Dimensions of Gentrification in a Tourist City. 2008 Meeting of the Population Association of America.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2008). Plano Geral de Intervenções da Frente Ribeirinha de Lisboa – Documento de Enquadramento. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2009a). Carta Estratégica de Lisboa 2010-2024 – Um compromisso para o futuro da cidade. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2009b). Plano de Acessibilidade Suave e Assistida à Colina do Castelo. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2012). Plano Director Municipal de Lisboa. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2015a). Uma Praça em cada Bairro. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2015b). Proposta no 42-2015. Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (2016). Projectos Frente Ribeirinha (do Cais do Sodré ao Campo das Cebolas) [WWW Document]. URL http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/viver/urbanismo/espaco-publico/projetos-frente-ribeirinha (Accessed 5 September 2017).

Capel, H. (2007). El debate sobre la construcción de la ciudad y el llamado “Modelo Barcelona”, Scripta Nova, 11(233).

Carmona, M. (2010). Contemporary public space, part two: Classification. Journal of Urban Design, 15(2), 157–173.

Carmona, M. (2015). Re-theorising contemporary public space: a new narrative and a new normative. Journal of Urbanism, 8(4), 373–405.

Castells, M. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society - The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture. Blackwell, Cambridge, Oxford.

Cocola-Gant, A. (2018). Tourism gentrification. In: Handbook of Gentrification Studies. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham and Northampton, 281–293.

Comissariado para a Baixa-Chiado (2006). Proposta de Revitalização da Baixa-Chiado. Comissariado para a Baixa-Chiado, Lisboa.

Confidencial Imobiliário (2018). Índice de Preços do mercado residencial - centro histórico de Lisboa 2018. Lisboa.

Conselho de Ministros (2008). Resolução do Conselho de Ministros no 78/2008.

Costa, N., Martinotti, G. (2003). Sociological Theories of Tourism and Regulation Theory. In: Hoffman, L.M., Fainstein, S.S., Judd, D.R. (Eds.), Cities and Visitors – Regulating People, Markets, and City Space. Blackwell Publishing, Malden/Oxford, 53–71.

Díaz-Parra, I. (2015). A back to the city movement by local government action: gentrification in Spain and Latin America, International Journal of Urban Sciences, 19(3), 343–363.

Dimitrovski, D., Crespi Vallbona, M. (2018). Urban food markets in the context of a tourist attraction–La Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain, Tourism Geographies, 20(3), 397–417.

Ebejer, J. (2019). Urban heritage and cultural tourism development: a case study of Valletta’s role in Malta’s tourism. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 17(3), 306–320.

Expresso (2015). A ver passar turistas. Expresso.

Femenia-Serra, F., Neuhofer, B., Ivars-Baidal, J.A. (2018). Towards a conceptualisation of smart tourists and their role within the smart destination scenario. The Service Industries Journal, 39(2), 109–133.

Fernandes, J.A.R., Carvalho, L., Chamusca, P., Gago, A., Mendes, T. (2019). Lisboa e a Airbnb. Book Cover Editoria, Porto.

Gomes, P. (2019). The birth of public space privatization: How entrepreneurialism, convivial urbanism and stakeholder interactions made the Martim Moniz square, in Lisbon, ‘privatization-ready.’ European Urban and Regional Studies, 14–20.

Graham, S., Marvin, S. (2001). Splintering Urbanism. Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition, Technology. Routledge, London and New York.

Gregotti, V. (1981). La forme du territoire. l’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, 10–15.

Guimarães, P.P.C. (2018). The Transformation of Retail Markets in Lisbon: An Analysis through the Lens of Retail Gentrification. European Planning Studies, 26(7), 1450–1470.

Hauck, T., Kleinkort, V., Keller, R. (Eds.) (2011). Infrastructural Urbanism. Addressing the In-between. DOM Publishers, Berlin.

Hayllar, B., Griffin, T., Edwards, D. (Eds.) (2008). City Spaces – Tourist Places. Urban Tourism Precints. Butterworth-Heinenmann, Oxford/Burlington.

Hoffman, L.M., Fainstein, S.S., Judd, D.R. (Eds.) (2003). Cities and Visitors – Regulating people, markets, and city space. Blackwell Publishing, Malden/Oxford.

Ingersoll, R. (2006). Sprawltown. Looking for the City on its Edges. Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

Ionline (2018). Mobilidade. Trotinetes e bicicletas invadem Lisboa. IOnline.

JLL (2015). Apartamentos turísticos em Lisboa – Um Mercado em Crescimento. JLL, Lisboa.

Jóhannesson, G.T., Huijbens, E.H. (2010). Tourism in times of crisis: Exploring the discourse of tourism development in Iceland. Current Issues in Tourism, 13(5), 419–434.

Jones, A.L. (2017). Regenerating Urban Waterfronts — Creating Better Futures — From Commercial and Leisure Market Places to Cultural Quarters and Innovation Districts Regenerating Urban Waterfronts — Creating Better to Cultural Quarters and Innovation Districts. Planning Practice and Research, 1–12.

Jonsen-Verbeke, M. (1999). Industrial heritage: A nexus for sustainable tourism development. Tourism Geographies, 1(1), 70–85.

Jover, J., Díaz-Parra, I. (2019). Gentrification, transnational gentrification and touristification in Seville, Spain. Urban Studies.

Judd, D.R. (2003). Visitors and the Spatial Ecology of the City. In: Hoffman, L.M., Fainstein, S.S., Judd, D.R. (Eds.), Cities and Visitors – Regulating People, Markets, and City Space. Blackwell Publishing, Malden/Oxford, 23–38.

Kohn, M. (2013). What is wrong with gentrification?. Urban Research and Practice, 6(3), 297–310.

Lestegás, I., Lois-González, R.C., Seixas, J. (2018). The global rent gap of Lisbon’s historic centre. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, 13(4), 683–694.

Litvin, S.W., Smith, W.W., McEwen, W.R. (2019). Not in My Backyard: Personal Politics and Resident Attitudes toward Tourism. Journal of Travel Research.

Lu, J., Mao, Z., Wang, M., Hu, L. (2015). Goodbye maps, hello apps? Exploring the influential determinants of travel app adoption. Current Issues in Tourism, 18(11), 1059–1079.

Madureira, A.M., Baeten, G. (2016). By invitation only: uses and users of the ‘entrepreneurial city’, International Planning Studies, 21(4), 362-376.

Marinoni, G. (2006). Infrastrutture nel progetto urbano. Franco Angeli, Milano.

Mendes, L. (2011). Postmodern City, Gentrification and the Social Production of Fragmented Space. Cidades, Comunidades e Territorios, 23, 82–96.

Mendes, L. (2012). Bairro da Mouraria, território de diversidade: entre a tradição e o cosmopolitismo. Sociologia Revista da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 15–41.

Mendes, L. (2013a). A regeneração urbana na política de cidades: inflexão entre o fordismo e o pós-fordismo. URBE - Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana, 5, 33–45.

Mendes, L. (2013b). Public policies on urban rehabilitation and their effects on gentrification in Lisbon. AGIR - Revista Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, 1(5), 200–218.

Mendes, L. (2017). Gentrificação turística em Lisboa: neoliberalismo, financeirização e urbanismo austeritário em tempos de pós-crise capitalista 2008-2009. Cadernos Metrópole, 19, 479–512.

Ministério do Ambiente e do Ordenamento do Território (2000). Programa Polis, Programa de Requalificação Urbana e Valorização Ambiental de Cidades. Ministério do Ambiente e do Ordenamento do Território, Lisboa.

Moufakkir, O., Burns, P. M. (2011). Controversies in tourism, Controversies in Tourism. CABI publishers, Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

Neuman, M., Smith, S. (2010). City planning and infrastructure: Once and future partners. Journal of Planning History, 9(1), 21–42.

Nofre, J., Giordano, E., Eldridge, A., Martins, J.C., Sequera, J. (2018). Tourism, nightlife and planning: challenges and opportunities for community liveability in La Barceloneta. Tourism Geographies, 20(3), 377–396.

Ooi, N., Duke, E., O’Leary, J. (2018). Tourism in changing natural environments. Tourism Geographies, 20(2), 193–201.
Pacione, M. (Ed.) (2001). Urban Geography: A Global Perspective. Routledge, London.

Pang, S.F.H., McKercher, B., Prideaux, B. (2013). Climate Change and Tourism: An Overview. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 18(1-2), 4–20.

Pardo Abad, C.J. (2017). The post-industrial landscapes of Riotinto and Almadén, Spain: scenic value, heritage and sustainable tourism. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 12(4), 331–346.

Porfírio, P., Guimarães, C. (2017). An evaluation of urban regeneration : the effectiveness of a retail-led project in Lisbon. Urban Research and Practice, 10(3), 350–366.

Público (2014). A turistificação de Lisboa ainda pode crescer. Público.

Público (2015). Lisboetas sentem-se cada vez mais acossados pelos turistas. Público.

Público (2016a). Alfama não quer ser uma Disneyland para turista ver. Público.

Público (2016b). As buzinas não eram muitas mas soaram alto contra obras no Eixo Central. Público.

Público (2016c). Soluções de estacionamento no Eixo Central não serenam moradores. Público.

Público (2019a). “Queremos um jardim”, gritou-se no Martim Moniz. Público.

Público, 2019b. Dos 150 alojamentos comprados numa rua de Alfama só um foi para habitação própria. Público.

Richards, G. (2014). Creativity and tourism in the city. Current Issues in Tourism, 17(2), 119–144.

Roberts, P., Sykes, H. (2002). Urban Regeneration: A Handbook, Urban Regeneration: A Handbook. Sage Publications, London.

Roberts, P., Sykes, H., Granger, R. (Eds.) (2017). Urban regeneration, 2nd ed. Sage Publications, London.

Rodrigues, W., 2010. Cidade em transição – Nobilitação Urbana. Estilos de Vida e Reurbanização em Lisboa. Celta Editora, Oeiras.

Rogers, R. (1999). Towards an Urban Renaissance: The Final Report of the Urban Task Force. E & F.N. Spon, London.

Saarinen, J. (2017). Enclavic tourism spaces: territorialization and bordering in tourism destination development and planning. Tourism Geographies, 19(3), 425–437.

Salgado, M. (2012). Reconquista da Frente Ribeirinha de Lisboa [WWW Document]. Portus Plus. URL http://retedigital.com/wp-content/themes/rete/pdfs/portus_plus/3_2012/Contribuciones/Manuel_Salgado.pdf (accessed 3.1.16).

Salgueiro, T.B., Mendes, L., Guimarães, P. (2017). Tourism and urban changes: Lessons from Lisbon. In: Tourism and Gentrification in Contemporary Metropolises: International Perspectives. 255–275.

Santos, J.R. (2012). Espaços de mediação infraestrutural: Interpretação e projecto na produção do urbano no território metropolitano de Lisboa. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.

Secretaria de Estado do Ordenamento do Território e das Cidades (2008.) Política de Cidades Polis XXI - Bases para as acções preparatórias do Programa Redes Urbanas para a Competitividade e Inovação. Ministério do Ambiente, do Ordenamento do Territorio e do Desenvolvimento Regional, Gabinete do Secretário de Estado do Ordenamento do Território e das Cidades, Lisboa.

Seixas, J., Guterres, A.B. (2019). Political evolution in the Lisbon of the digital era. Fast urban changes, slow institutional restructuring and growing civic pressures. Urban Research and Practice, 12(1), 99–110.

Seixas, J., Tulumello, S., Corvelo, S., Drago, A. (2015). Dinâmicas sociogeográficas e políticas na Área Metropolitana de Lisboa em tempos de crise e de austeridade. Cadernos Metrópole 17(34), 371–399.

Shaw, S., Bagwell, S., Karmowska, J. (2004). Ethnoscapes as spectacle: Reimaging multicultural districts as new destinations for leisure and tourism consumption. Urban Studies, 41(10), 1983–2000.

Shoval, N. (2018). Urban planning and tourism in European cities. Tourism Geographies, 20(3), 371–376.

Smith, A., 2005. Conceptualizing city image change: The “re-imaging” of Barcelona. Tourism Geographies, 7(4), 398–423.

Solà-Morales, M. de la (2004). Contra el modelo de metrópolis universal. In: Ramos, Á.M. (Ed.), Lo Urbano En 20 Autores Contemporáneos. Edicions UPC, Barcelona, 99–104.

Spasojevic, B., Lohmann, G., Scott, N. (2018). Air transport and tourism–a systematic literature review (2000–2014). Current Issues in Tourism, 21(9), 975–997.

Spirou, C. (2011). Urban Tourism and Urban Change. Cities in a Global Economy. Routledge, New York.

Tegtmeyer, L.L. (2015). Tourism aesthetics in ruinscapes: Bargaining cultural and monetary values of Detroit’s negative image. Tourist Studies,16(4), 462–477.

Tulumello, S. (2015). Reconsidering neoliberal urban planning in times of crisis: Urban regeneration policy in a “dense” space in Lisbon. Urban Geography, 37(1), 117–140.

van den Berg, L., van der Borg, J., Russo, A.P. (2002). The Infrastructure of Urban Tourism: A European Model? A Comparative Analysis of Mega-projects in Four Eurocities. In: Judd, D.R. (Ed.), The Infrastructure of Play: Building the Tourist City. M E Sharpe, Armonk/London, 296–319.

Vera Rebollo, J.F., Ivars Baidal, J.A. (2009). Spread of Low-Cost Carriers: Tourism and Regional Policy Effects in Spain. Regional Studies, 43(4), 559–570.

Wilson, J., Tallon, A. (2012). Geographies of gentrification and tourism. In: Wilson, J. (Ed.), New Perspectives in Tourism Geographies. Routledge, New York, 103–112.

Yaya, M.E. (2009). Terrorism and tourism: The case of Turkey. Defence and Peace Economics, 20(6), 477–497.

Young, M., Markham, F. (2019). Tourism, capital, and the commodification of place. Progress in Human Geography.