Filling the empty city

Marvila Parque Intergeracional, Lisbon

© Colectivo Warehouse

Collective dialogue as the main resource for urban regeneration

If we want to build a new kind of city, more sustainable and democratic, it is clear that it is necessary to consider the citizens as active participants in it. Marvila Parque Intergeracional is one of those projects trying to fill the gap between urban development and inhabitants, institutions and neighbours.

Marvila is an extraordinary place in Lisbon, in a very peculiar historical and geographical situation. Full of vacant lots, big buildings appear disconnected, isolated between highways and train tracks. Moreover, the population of Marvila is becoming older and the number of residents is decreasing. In parallel, the area closer to the river is suffering a process of gentrification, and new locals, restaurants and art galleries are appearing in what is a new trending zone for entrepreneurs.

In this particular situation, everything began with a first meeting with the community to start a dialogue and clarify their intentions: it was decided that a public park for children and the elders should be a good move against both, isolation and gentrification. The new public space would work as a social aggregator tool, offering a playground and chairs and tables so the elders can meet and play cards games while watching their grandsons playing.

The construction was a collective effort with the participation of students, volunteers and community members. Marvila's Parque Intergeracional is a precious example to stress the importance of a process based on a close relationship with the municipality and deep involvement of the community in all the phases. As everything happening in the city, this is a work in progress, only possible with the will of institutions and citizens.

Tagus river is the only one able to look at all the changes, unmoved.

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