[article written by Leonor Duarte, Sara Aranha and Joana Dias]
In the past 15th march, at Lisboa Vadia, there was an other debate about touristification in Lisbon, after the film Cidade Guiada (Guided City), a documentary produced by Catarina Leal.
It was a night full of ideas, with the presence of the producer Catarina Leal, the researcher and professor Joãp Seixas and Joana Jacinto, founder of the Lisbon Sustainable Tourism project. With them, we protest, we discuss ideas and concerns, but we also sought solutions to a phenomenon that has affected all of us.
How do we pay 2€ for a glass of wine that is not even a big deal?
There were many questions and criticism. It was a powerful moment, where we heard people of all ages, from traders to students and artists, portuguese and foreigners.
Many were the criticisms and questions. It was a powerful moment_ where they heard people of all ages, from traders to students and artists_ Portuguese and foreign.
Catarina Leal began to reveal her main motivation for this documentary, which was trying to understand the peculiarities of the phenomenon of touristification in Lisbon. She told us how she began to realize the great changes, especially in the historic areas of the city, including the neighborhood of Mouraria. A business of China in a country in crisis.
The identity of a city is organic, and the Mouraria quarter is, undoubtedly, one of the best examples: from the lady who washes clothes by hand, the “manteigaria”, to restaurants, grocery stores and multicultural supermarkets. On the other hand, this neighbourhood today is increasingly attracting the business of temporary accommodation. Being one of the most multicultural neighborhoods of Lisbon, or even from Portugal, until when will diversity endure?
I am not against tourism, but the city is no longer for us. We can no longer live in the city.
If we think that the two largest real estate forces in the Mouraria quarter are the Church and the City council, we ask ourselves: why are we losing more and more public space, space that is_ for many people, a continuation of their home? Why it is not created regulation to promote balance in the city between tourism and local life? Or do we only remember that the city needs to be rehabilitated for selling off?
We talked about the exponential increase in the prices of rents of housing and shops, but not only. And raising taxes? And the massive outflow of people abroad? And the same and uncharacteristic shops everywhere?
This is the capitalism.
If the system defends desregulation, how can it create regulation?
Much talked about was the case of Barcelona, where citizens have made a list that won the municipal elections. One of the eight measures of “alcaida” – the day after t taking possession – was to not allow the construction of more hotels. the study of the local accommodation in the city started and it is now being completed_ , and the pressure of business has been tremendous. A number of other measures have been taken, such as establishing quotas per block and legalize everything that is touristic accomodation, against the sentence of the place becoming part of a municipal housing stock for 2 years.
Here, we also want more direct action and citizen participation. What can we do? We recognize how the general impoverishment makes people more vulnerable to sale offers of their homes. We need to find a balance between the tourist flow and what is genuine. Because tourists also started to run away from other tourists.
The Lisbon City Council has a central role, which is to protect the right of its residents from the real estate speculation. We agree that more economic activity and employment are needed. So Catarina Leal and Joana Jacinto agreed that this is not about combating tourism, it is rather to regulate the sector and invest in local urban planning. It is important to defend the interests of residents. As João Seixas said, ” requalify is not revitalize”.
Some things has already started to be done: this debate, the Masterclass on Gentrification, Tourism and Citymaking. Also the petition against the closure of the Ateneu Comercial de Lisboa, trying to prevent this one to be transformed into an hotel. And remember that the Presidents of the Parish Councils of the historic center, which belong to the party that governs city council have already taken public stand against the destruction of their villages.
We believe that we, citizens, can take action for ourselves or in our organizations, we can influence others and press those who govern us to protect the city and its inhabitants in order to create a true urban revitalization.
Are we in?
The touristification of Barcelona will be the theme of the next Cine Café, with the film “Bye Bye Barcelona”, 19 April at 21.30, always in Lisbon Vadia.
Until the next Cine Café, perhaps already with more ideas to create the change!