[:pt]Como Okupar um Rio[:en]How to Squat a River[:]


But after all, how can we save Jamor? Better than anyone else to answer this question are Margarida and José from the Let’s Save the Jamor initiative.   “Let’s Save the Jamor emerged as a movement of citizens and residents, peaceful and non-partisan, having since acquired the status of Environmental Nongovernmental Organization. The movement aims to withdraw the Plano de Pormenor da Margem Direita da Foz do Rio Jamor (Detail Plan of the Right Bank of Rio Jamor’s mouth) and its replacement by alternative solutions that are environmentally adequate, socially and economically fair.” The explanation of its webpage, as well as the shares they are making in social networks, made us think of the obligation to contact this group of activists who, in recent years, have practically in an isolated form, fought against the Goliath which is the real estate market trying to dominate the Cruz Quebrada area. On a […]

Logbook I Day 12 I How to squat a river


An oasis within a cave. I think we have already said how paradisiacal the place where Mr. José Amaral has his garden is.   At first glance, nobody would notice it: in the suburb of Queluz de Baixo (suburb’s suburb, therefore), hidden behind cheap construction buildings of the 1990s, practically below the endemic IC19 road, lost in a deep valley and where the sun can only sneak in. To get there, you have to descend a slope that is practically steep, very carefully, in order to not slip on the black limestone stones, worn by use and time. The barking dogs in dogs cellars on the slopes that line the steep descent tell us that we are approaching another universe, a new reality: one in which the nasturtiums of the 90’s cease to be seen and the IC19 ceases to be heard; a new reality painted green, green, green, with […]

Logbook I Day 11 I How to squat a river



One of the main goals of How to squat a river is to give voice to civil society. As well as documenting their involvement in defending the rivers, in this case, the river Jamor.   But it is a fact that if people should benefit from the power to manage rivers, it is necessarily shared with local or national power. This was the reason why we contacted the counties’ autarchies that are bathed by Jamor, that is, those of Sintra and Oeiras. We wanted to know in what way and with what eyes those entities see the squatting that has been debated here, and which in many cases is carried out on public land. One of the most enthusiastic answers we received was that of the Union of Parishes of Massamá and Monte Abrãao (UPMMA), of the municipality of Sintra, headed by its president Pedro Brás. From the first moment […]

Logbook I Day 16 I How to squat a river


The project Rios Livres from GEOTA establishes a partnership with the project How to squat a river To the extent that it contributes with important scientific knowledge, as well as with a great experience, in the defence of our rivers.   It was during a short time found in a busy schedule that Ana and Pedro received us at the GEOTA’s headquarter. We thought about filming the interview on the street, but that December morning was too rainy for that. The interview began with a presentation of what Rios Livres is and its objectives: the project comes as a response and to question the Programa Nacional de Barragens (National Dams Program), onsidering it “one of the greatest threats to Portuguese rivers”. Thus, it is Rios Livres’ mission to halt the construction of the dams provided there, as well as to “prove that there are other less aggressive and cheaper ways […]

Logbook I Day 15 I How to squat a river



The interview we did to Margarida and José from Let’s Save Jamor (LSJ) was dense in content and elaborated in form. The conversation, which started at Cruz Quebrada beach, unfolded as we climbed the Jamor, entering the National Sports Centre of Jamor, ending at its entrance, just in front of the golf fields.   One of the main topics discussed, and the one that was also the first, was necessarily the detail plan of the right bank of the mouth of the river Jamor, in Cruz Quebrada. This is a project of the City Hall of Oeiras, and against the same as the LSJ has invested most of its energy action. According to the two environmental activists, this plan jeopardizes environmental principles, as well as the safety and mobility of local populations. Later, Margarida and José also told us about the management of the spaces of the National Sports Centre […]

Logbook I Day 14 I How to squat a river


Natalia is the person who has been present in this project from the beginning. It was her who, in the first forays we performed, patiently explained to us all about how and where the Jamor forms; the importance of the river to the region, in the past and nowadays; what better people to talk to in order to get more information about the history of the river. And she always followed the project very closely, through the many personal contacts we had, or through digital means. Natália is undoubtedly a key figure in How to squat a river.   That’s why the interview we made to her on that sunny November afternoon was so simple to do, and above all pleasant. With just a few questions, we managed to organize in a single speech all the precious information she had given us throughout this time. In addition to the interview, […]

Logbook I Day 13 I How to squat a river



Microphones and Marigolds Luísa and Luís have known each other for many years, he was still working in the Navy and she used to clean his house.   By that time they already got along well and talked a lot. In their conversations there was a recurring theme: the rural origins of Luisa and the desire of Luis to have a vegetable garden. Today he is retired and she has another job. But they never lost touch. One day Luisa knew that a neighbour was going to leave the piece of land that he was squatting near Jamor, right next to the Queluz train station, and where he kept a small squatter garden. Full of desire to get her hands in the dirt again, but fearing that the task was too great to do it alone, she challenged Luis: he had always spoken of wanting a vegetable garden, wouldn’t he […]

Logbook I Day 10 I How to squat a river


It was the cabbages that saved us. We remember that the goal of this project is to produce a learning tool, about how to squat a river. We want to know how squatting activities increase the sustainable relationship between the river and the communities, economically, socially and environmentally. Our case study is the Jamor River.   At least three phases will be developed: first, making a first contact with the squatters on the banks of Jamor, collecting general information about this community: who they are, what they do, why they do it; the second, to know more closely the squatting activities, through interviews and other forms of data collection; the third, to systematize all the gathered information and to make a small film.   The first phase is completed: we walked down the Jamor river and we met the squatters established along the banks of the river, from its source, […]

Log Book I Day 9 I How to squat a river



Finally the river flowed! The National Sports Center of Jamor is located in Cruz Quebrada, very close to the place where the Jamor flows into the Tejo river.   The bed of Jamor is widening, and since its banks no longer have gardens. But the river continues to support a local community, for a sporting practice: there are nautical activities and water sports fields. Apart from the carers, there are people to walk around. The river has fish, several bird species and many underwater plants.     Then the river finally flows. There, right next to the Cruz Quebrada train station. It forms a small beach, some people enjoy the last days of heat of the year, there are cane fishermen in hand. The sea is in the distance.    

Log Book I Day 8 I How to squat a river


Oeiras is also a land of squatter gardens. The previous days served us to follow the course of the Jamor, always inside the county of Sintra. On this day we pass to the other side of the IC19 (complementary itinerary 19) and we arrive at Oeiras.   The river Jamor is born in the Serra da Carregueira (Carregueira hill), county of Sintra, and flows into Cruz Quebrada, Oeiras municipality. It crosses two municipalities, both of Greater Lisbon, making Jamor an urban river, since it is born, runs and flows in a metropolitan area, Lisbon.. This is also one of the most populated regions of Portugal. Dona Maria, Brejo, Belas, Pendão and finally Queluz. This is the route that Jamor does, and that we visited in the municipality of Sintra. On this day we entered the municipality of Oeiras, in Queluz de Baixo. Here the right bank of the river narrows […]

Log Book I Day 7 I How to squat a river



When in the middle of the city the field breaks out The gardens in Queluz are impressive by the contrast they create with the surrounding buildings. It seems that the countryside is invading the city, finally the triumph of nature.   From the promenade that is over the huge plain that accompanies the Jamor, near the train station of Queluz-Belas, there are always many people working the land. On that day, we set up a conversation at the distance with two gentlemen, who, down below, watered with a huge hose what appeared to be baby cabbages. We wanted to know how to get off. They shouted at us that we would have to go to the end of Miguel Bombarda Avenue and enter through an opening between two buildings. We found such opening and walked along a path, along the left bank of Jamor; we saw how the river there […]

Log Book I Day 6 I How to squat a river


Senior squatters between Belas and Queluz. At the entrance of Queluz we learned to apply a new concept: farm squatter.   Mr. Patrício is a squatter at Quinta das Andorinhas. It is a squatting that lasts for more than 40 years, which makes Mr. Patrício (and we affirm it with all respect) a senior squatter. He divides the land, which is private property, not from the state, with at least one other person. This squatter farm is located between Belas and Queluz, but it is not the only one, in the surroundings. There are dozens of other farms squatted on the terraces, well-treated, both down (toward the river) and up (toward the hills). In the case of Mr. Patrício, the Sintra City Council (CMS) made him sign a declaration, in which he undertakes to vacate the land, if there is interest in this, either by the owner or by the […]

Log Book I Day 5 I How to squat a river



Lost in the woods Just outside Belas we found a path through the middle of some squatter gardens.   Regarding the gardens, because of their large size and so well walled they were, we keep thinking that this occupation has been done for a long time. Unfortunately, we did not find anyone with whom we could confirm this suspicion. The path led us up the river Jamor, practically to the area of Lisbon Sports Club, well into Serra da Carregueira.     It did not feel like we were 5 minutes away from the city. Always seeing infrastructures that we identified as belonging to the Águas Livres Aqueduct (yes, what ends up in the Amoreiras, in Lisbon), we walked through the middle of nature. We saw how the terrain is rocky, confirming what Natalina had explained to us on day 1. The gardens were already behind, here nature was already […]

Log Book I Day 4 I How to squat a river


The Jamor, the mines and the golf We made the usual visit to Natália, before we went to see Henrique.   We visited Minas do Brejo (Brejo Mines) and immediately realized its importance in Mr. Henrique’s family economy: watering the agricultural culture, watering animals and, in the past, a source of water for all. The mines also began to help in leisure, when near two of them Mr. Henrique built a space for meals and rest.     Then we went to the Lisbon Sports Club in Belas, where Nuno, the greenskeeper of the golf course, was waiting for us in his buggy. He was ready to take us for a walk along the portion of the River Jamor that runs on the club property. He informed us that they are doing a regular cleaning and maintenance work on the banks, taking advantage of the river as one of the […]

Log Book I Day 3 I How to squat a river



The water of Dona Maria Returning to Dona Maria, we revisited Natália.   She had already done, however, some research to help us over the Jamor River, but none conclusive as to the place of its source, advising us to consult the military letters. There are many water mines in the area, for example one under the main Dona Maria’s square, Largo do Chafariz (Chafariz’s square). He told us that this is the area of Lisbon with greater groundwater, so local ethnography is closely linked to the theme of water: the washerwomen until the 1980’s attended Lisbon with its services, nowadays there are still the water tanks where they were washing their clothes (at the moment the water tanks are in private property, not being able to be visited); the waterbeds went from Dona Maria to Lisbon to sell water. There is a belief that these waters have medicinal properties […]

Log Book I Day 2 I How to squat a river


Looking for the river spring We wanted to start from the beginning, that is, to find the place where the river Jamor rises. This was not easy.   Contrary to expectations, the web doesn’t inform where the source of Jamor is. All that we can find is a vague information about how the river rises in Dona Maria, in Serra da Carregueira, county of Sintra. With a filming camera in hand, we went on this true expedition. And we discovered the following: a) Dona Maria is a very small village in the suburbs of Greater Lisbon, but still preserves very rural characteristics - small farms, unordered houses that lead to small squares, dust roads and many fountains; In Dona Maria everybody knows and / or has a degree of kinship. b) The river Jamor is gaining different names, depending on the place where it passes (Ribeira de Belas, Ribeira do […]

Log Book I Day 1 I How to squat a river



After the XX century trend of squatting houses, we bring to the XXI a new necessity: squatting rivers. By using unsustainable economic models, urban communities have been losing their rivers as a common good. It is urgent to rescue the ancient relationship between both. How to squat a river is a R&D comprehensive learning tool that aims to show how can a community redeem a river for the common good.     The river-city relationship is essential for urban development. The availability of water was always one of the decisive factors for the definitive establishment of populations. With the industrial advance, river-city relationships have changed. There is a functional separation, caused by great works of correction perpetrated to urban rivers, aggravated by the strong levels of pollution of streams and banks. If the larger rivers are now used almost exclusively for economic purposes, the smaller ones, usually extremely polluted, constitute, […]

How to squat a river