Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

SANTA APOLÓNIA, LISBON – LOST LINK WITH THE RIVER

Maria João Matos

Resum


Since very early in history, the importance of maritime commerce and fluvial navigation has been crucial for Lisbon’s development. The waterfront and the city were strongly connected, until the end of the 19Th century, when railway clearly isolated the port from the metropolis. Riverside areas rehabilitation really began only two decades ago, along with urban regeneration politics. Nowadays, Lisbon’s port is confronted with the necessity of keeping up with other ports as commercial emporium and tourist platform. At the same time, reintegration of the riverside into the city space is needed, as a way to qualify Lisbon’s public space and recover the lost identity of this “city of water”. In the waterfront of Santa Apolónia, those realities have great importance as it situates near the historical and popular quarter of Alfama, functionally and socially connected with the river since Islamic occupation, almost 1000 years ago. Santa Apolónia’s public space is analysed from different physical and social perspectives. Problems as degradation, privatisation, gentrification and segregation are detected in this area, reinforcing a spatial and functional discontinuity waterfront/city. The old Santa Apolónia’s rail station plays a central role. Multifunctional and open to all, this public space acts as a dynamic centre of the place and stands as a reference of city’s memory. Possible solutions for sustainable development and the creation of a place of identity for citizens are proposed: facilities for locals, careful design of public space, public art for all

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