Special Session

Opening Session

Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues, Dean of Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon
Paulo Tormenta Pinto, Conference Coordinator DINÂMIA’CET- Iscte 


Pedro Costa, Director of DINÂMIA’CET- Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon

 Wednesday, 17th February  |  16.30-17.30 (GMT) 

Session in Portuguese with simultaneous translation on Zoom


Emeritus Professor and Full Professor of Sociology (retired) at Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, taught for over thirty years since the creation of this institute. One of the founders of CET - Centro de Estudo Territoriais (Centre on Territorial Studies) now integrated into DINÂMIA’CET -Iscte, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies.

Founder and director, for some years, of the journal CIDADES, Comunidades e Territórios.

He developed his work in the field of urban sociology in connection to urbanism, architecture, and territory themes, with important research on social movements namely in the revolutionary process of 1974-1975, and the formation and transformation of the Lisbon metropolis.

For the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition, he was responsible with Francesco Indovina, for the observatory “Expo'98 in Lisboa: observe while it takes place”, which for about five years accompanied the development process of the Expo'98. Following the event, in 1999, he coordinated (also with Francesco Indovina), the book “The City of Expo '98” (A Cidade da Expo ’98), a critical reflection on the urban project developed along with the 1998 exposition.

He published several books, as well as chapters of books and articles in national and foreign publications, of which the following stand out “Lisbon, from Capital of the Empire to Centre of the Metropolis”(Lisboa, de Capital do Império a Centro da Metrópole) (1986), “Lisbon, the Metropolis and the River” (Lisboa, a Metrópole e o Rio) (coord.) (1997), and “Fascination of the City. Memory and Urbanity Project” (Fascínio da Cidade. Memória e Projecto da Urbanidade) (2004).

Keynote speakers

Gonçalo Byrne, João P. Matos Fernandes, Ricardo Paes Mamede



 Moderation by Nuno Grande

 Wednesday, 17th February  |  17.45-19.15 (GMT) 

Session in Portuguese with simultaneous translation on Zoom

Since the end of the 20th century, the requalification of cities and the urban environment has been decisively on the Portuguese political agenda, for the most varied reasons. The opportunity to organize the Lisbon World Exposition in 1998 was also a test for urban policies and actions that had repercussions on other programs and events over the following decades (POLIS Program, UEFA Euro 2004 Championship, European Capitals of Culture in 2001 and 2012, Urban Rehabilitation Societies, Environmental Rehabilitation of Riverfronts, Priority Urban Rehabilitation Areas), and to a more or less successful application of public investments, largely from successive Community Support Frameworks. In a retrospective reading, the "Expo effect" has translated, somewhat throughout the country, into large projects with a local impact which, despite the fact that they are mostly "top-down" (from the State to municipalities), have introduced important transformations in metropolitan areas and in some medium-sized Portuguese cities.

After two decades and two strong economic crises - the most recent associated with an yet unresolved health pandemic - cities in Portugal are now preparing for a new wave of public investment, coming from the largest financial aid ever given by the European Union to our country - a real "bazooka" of resources, in the words of the current Prime Minister. This aid has, however, inevitable conditions: the change of the digital paradigm (to a 4.0 Economy) and the environmental paradigm (post-Paris agreement), which will require profound procedural and behavioral changes at the political, economic, social and cultural levels, as suggested by the recent Recovery and Resilience Plan presented by the government to the EU (known as "Costa e Silva Plan").

In a prospective (not risk-free) reading, this "bazooka effect" will translate into a territorial dispersion of investments that will encompass the material and immaterial qualification of the cities, leveraged again by strategic projects: at the environmental level, by investing in "clean" forms of energy production (solar, wind, biomass and green hydrogen plants) and in the refining of rare metals for the electric battery industry; at the logistical level, by introducing new means of regional and international mobility (e.g. new Airport, river crossings and High-Speed Train), but also local (e.g. subway and soft mobility networks).

This "effect" will be all the more revolutionary as it involves the urban habitat as a whole (and not just the one subordinated to the mega projects), both at the level of public space qualification and collective housing spaces (now contemplated in the new European funding frameworks). In this sense, the idea launched by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in favor of the New European Bauhaus movement (by reference to the multidisciplinary school created by the Weimar Republic in 1919) gains interest.

A century later, we are certainly far from this inter-war Europe, in which all the vanguards seemed possible. Europe today is more technocratic, but it is still possible to imagine Portugal as one of the small and creative "laboratories" of European urbanity - financed, for the time being, in a top-down way is true; but able to generate "bottom-up" projects, of circular economy, articulating citizens and decision-makers, metropolitan areas and medium-sized cities, the dense coast and the interior to be strategically repopulated. In other words, a Portugal of sustainably dynamic cities, capable of remaining well beyond the aforementioned "Expo and bazooka "effects".


Claire Colomb


Commented by Sandra Marques Pereira

 Thursday, 18th February, 11.15-12.45 (GMT) 

In Berlin and Barcelona, in the 1990s city governments adopted flagship urban projects as a key strategy of urbanism and urban development – for different reasons in each city. After briefly reflecting on the characteristics of this strategy and the ‘grands projets’ which were produced, the talk will analyse the gradual transformation of this agenda in the 2000s and 2010s. In both cities, a combination of changing economic context and increasing critiques coming from grassroots’ initiatives and urban social movements led to challenges and changes in dominant urban development agendas. The housing question, gentrification processes, the privatisation of public land, and the adverse impacts of the increasing “touristification” of urban space became central bones of contention in both cities. Meanwhile, new ‘bottom-up’ forms of urbanism took centre stage in urban debates and practices. New coalitions of left-wing or green political parties/movements were elected in 2011 (Berlin) and 2015 (Barcelona) on the promise of a radical shift in the urban development model. What have these city governments been able to deliver, learning from the shortcomings of the 1990s/2000s approaches and drawing on citizens’ mobilisations?

Manuel Salgado & Josep Acebillo



Commented by Pedro Pinto

 Thursday, 18th February, 17.45-19.45 (GMT) 

Session in Portuguese and English with simultaneous translation on Zoom

Christian Schmid 



Commented by Álvaro Domingues and Ana Fernandes

 Friday, 19th February, 11.15-12.45 (GMT) 

Urbanisation has got a planetary reach in the last decades. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. New concepts and terms are urgently required that would help us, both analytically and cartographically, to decipher the differentiated and rapidly mutating landscapes of urbanisation that are today being produced across the planet.
This contribution presents examples of large-scale urban transformations at the peripheries of Kolkata, Lagos, and Mexico City, which have massive social impacts and are leading to a fundamental re-ordering of the entire extended urban regions. This process that we conceptualize under the term “bypass urbanism” is establishing a postcolonial urban order based on capital accumulation and social exclusion, which considerably limits access to urban resources for large parts of the population. This research is one result of a broad comparative study of urbanisation processes in eight large metropolitan territories across the world: Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong / Shenzhen / Dongguan, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, Paris, Mexico City, and Los Angeles. The main goal of this project is to develop new conceptual categories for better understanding the patterns and pathways of planetary urbanisation.

See: Lindsay Sawyer, Christian Schmid, Monika Streule, Pascal Kallenberger (2021): Bypass urbanism: Re-ordering center-periphery relations in Kolkata, Lagos and Mexico City, Environment and Planning A, Economy and Space (early view).


Jean-Louis Cohen  


Commented by Marta Sequeira

 Friday, 19th February, 17.00-18.30 (GMT) 

It is generally assumed that Frank Gehry's architecture is objectual and that it does not establish a close linkage with its context. This conviction is fostered by both its innovative and disruptive character, as well as by how it has been presented in architectural books, magazines and journals. However, it is clear that Gehry himself remarks: «When people photograph my buildings, they usually crop the context». Through unprecedented research, based on insightful archival analysis, but also on a fruitful interaction with the author himself, Jean-Louis Cohen reveals precisely the opposite. Setting aside certain preconceived ideas which underpin the work of one of the most important architects of the turn of the century, Cohen finally demonstrates that urban dimension has been continuously part of Gehry's creative process since the late 1970s, and that his works not only do not establish a rupture with its surroundings, but can only be fully understood precisely from a contextual perspective.