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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Lisbon Looks to Tagus River for Makeover

Lisbon looks to Tagus River for makeover

LISBON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Some say it is the light that makes Lisbon a special city, others point to the charm of its old quarters on steep, stone-paved hills.

Now a new project aims to transform the city's riverside as well and help establish Portugal's capital as one of the hottest destinations in Europe.

It is part of a wider plan to renovate the city, using private and government money, to bring more life into historic areas, such as the dilapidated Baixa district, and attract more residents to reverse a trend of people moving to the outskirts.

Parts of the Tagus river bank have been closed to the public for years and the goal is to transform a 19-km-long (12-mile) area into a new, popular tourist and leisure spot for Lisbon.

City planners have long talked about the need to revamp the city's river banks, but its plans have received a boost from government moves to build a new international airport on the south bank and a new bridge.

"We are walking towards a bigger city of two river banks in which the Tagus River is no longer an element of separation but a link," Manuel Salgado, the Lisbon council member in charge of urbanism policy, told Reuters.

He said the global financial crisis could delay a few projects, but the makeover consisted of dozens of projects many of which had already got financing.

Perhaps the most uplifting sign that the city is finally serious about boosting its connection with the river is a decision to rebuild the Column Pier -- the pier that extends Commerce Square at the heart of the old city to the water.

The pier was once the gateway to the city by boat, but the area had been under construction and shut off to the public for at least a decade as Lisbon's subway network was expanded.

At least tourists can now, again, look over the water from Commerce Square. But the square is underused, surrounded by traffic and home to a handful of cafes.

SQUARE

"Commerce Square used to be worse than it is now, but it could be better," said Rafael Silva, who like many has moved to the outskirts but was born in the city. "The outdoor parking lot is gone but it's not like some squares you see in other countries and it's a shame because it's beautiful."

Other projects are under way. A few hundred meters downriver from the square, Energias de Portugal -- the country's largest utility -- is planning to build its new headquarters.

Closer to where the Tagus runs into the Atlantic, Portugal's largest scientific foundation, the Champalimaud Foundation, has started to build its new headquarters.

The Lisbon region attracts many tourists -- there are beaches and lots of golf courses nearby -- but developers hope adding attractive river banks will enhance its appeal.

The projects include new or rebuilt museums, residential buildings, including one complex designed by Italian Renzo Piano, a new cruise ship dock, a marina and even a swimming pool complex is under consideration.

"The riverside area is the great potential we have to put Lisbon in the international context," Salgado said. "But Lisbon is not just the city anymore, it's a wider region."
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Old December 30th, 2008, 02:08 AM   #2
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Interesting. Actually, Lisbon already has some nice riverside areas. The modern Science Park area North East of the city is quite fascinating, and the older riverfront parks and promenade from the 25th April Bridge to Belem is also quite nice.

But I did find it odd that the riverfront at the most important part of the city, around the center was so closed off to the public. Ok, it was to do with the metro line being built but from what I gather it is still rather bland. This is the area that should be concentrated on the most.

That said, central Lisbon is a bit disappointing as well due to the lack of shops. It is the only European city I have visited where it seems it followed the American tradition where the shopping has moved out to the suburbs. Central Lisbon seemed quite dead in many ways. Damn beautiful, but lacking live.

Other than that I really love this city. It's one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #3
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It is
My wonderful Lisbon
Great news btw.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
That said, central Lisbon is a bit disappointing as well due to the lack of shops. It is the only European city I have visited where it seems it followed the American tradition where the shopping has moved out to the suburbs. Central Lisbon seemed quite dead in many ways. Damn beautiful, but lacking live.
Unfortunly, that's true, and one of the biggest problems in Lisbon. There are lot of malls, and big retail stores in the suburbs, but in the the city center, stores are closing and getting old
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Old December 30th, 2008, 06:27 PM   #5
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Downtown Porto is also like that, or even worse.

but bad news, more taxpayers money being spent in the lifeless "pyramids of Egypt" for tourist cameras, while other cities don't see a cent for anything, we have our seaport almost in ruin, and fishermen have all moved to Spain, because of lack of safety conditions. And after years and with a threat of serious problems, they will give a couple of euros to do some crap arraignment... and in Lisbon you see renovation over renovation, with the money this city wastes, you could built a city of gold. I call Lisbon "Portugal's Black Hole", where taxpayers money disappears in a flash.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #6
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:06 AM   #7
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I don't think it takes a lot of money to make a nice park along the main waterfront areas. I believe they're doing some construction right outside Pl. Commercio right now aren't they?
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Old January 6th, 2009, 12:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I don't think it takes a lot of money to make a nice park along the main waterfront areas. I believe they're doing some construction right outside Pl. Commercio right now aren't they?
Yes, and it is taking to long due to problems in the new subway station. But the works are going great now, and soon they are opennig all that zone arround Praça do Comércio





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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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Still looks terribly bland. In fact it looks like nothing has been done.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
Still looks terribly bland. In fact it looks like nothing has been done.
They simply opened that area for a month. The metro works ended, but new ones are starting right now (sewerage).

We still have to wait to see Praça do Comercio like it was before
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Old January 21st, 2009, 08:04 AM   #11
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Why is most of Portugal's retail located in the suburbs?
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:11 AM   #12
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Lisbon is beautiful!
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:37 AM   #13
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The train station to the left looks off-key, as if it didn't belong to the whole scenery. And I know this place well, though I have never been able to see the subway works finished. I hope they really do make it more lively and vibrant, as I think it already is one of the best destinations of Europe.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutovsky View Post
The train station to the left looks off-key, as if it didn't belong to the whole scenery. And I know this place well, though I have never been able to see the subway works finished. I hope they really do make it more lively and vibrant, as I think it already is one of the best destinations of Europe.

It's not a train station, it's a ferry boat "station". It's where the ferrys that come from the south side of Tejo arrive. Now the metro station is also included there.

Both train station near the river (Santa Apolonia and Cais do Sodre) are more than 1km from this place.

But you are correct, it doesn't really belong there, but has to be
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
Why is most of Portugal's retail located in the suburbs?

The problem is bigger than that.

The suburbs arround Lisbon grew up so much that the district of Sintra (starts around 10km from Lisbon) has now more habitants than Lisbon it self.

The city has a big problem now. It's getting old. The only ones that live in the city these days are rich (and can pay the stupid prices of the houses) or are old people that usually live in the historical zones.

The midle class all went to the suburbs where houses are much cheapper. The retail went along.


Lisbon is loosing habitants since around 1980
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 02:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
Still looks terribly bland. In fact it looks like nothing has been done.
To be honest what you see there is only the beginning. That whole area has just been cut off for another year of construction. Besides everything from the expo (parque das nacoes) to Belem/Alges is to be revamped over the coming years.

@seattle-
I believe that trend is about to start changing soon for three primary reasons:

1- The historical centre used to be regarded as an old unattractive area to live and shop. That has changed and more people are coming back, tired of those massive and impersonal suburbs and shopping malls.

2- The stifling restrictions and red tape associated with rebuilding any historical building have been lifted and last year alone over 100 projects were approved by the council. If you visit the centre of Lisbon today you will find dozens of buildings covered in scaffolding.

3- Last but not least, young people seem to nurture more care for our historical areas than our parents. They have become the place where we go to the bars or clubbing, or simply spend a pleasent afternoon shopping along its beautiful streets.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 02:37 PM   #17
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This is the proposal for the reorganisation of traffic in and around the square. The objective is not only to make more space for pedestrions in the square but also to force passing traffic (ie with a destination other than the centre) to take alternative routes such as the ring roads.

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Old January 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM   #18
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I was in Lisbon in September and I thought it was a beautiful and fascinating city. Fine historic streets, decent public transport, close to the beach, lively and interesting night life and yet relaxed and safe. The Praça do Comercio was a bit tatty, which was shame because it has an excellent position by the river, but still one of my favourite cities in Europe.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 11:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fern View Post
To be honest what you see there is only the beginning. That whole area has just been cut off for another year of construction. Besides everything from the expo (parque das nacoes) to Belem/Alges is to be revamped over the coming years.

@seattle-
I believe that trend is about to start changing soon for three primary reasons:

1- The historical centre used to be regarded as an old unattractive area to live and shop. That has changed and more people are coming back, tired of those massive and impersonal suburbs and shopping malls.

2- The stifling restrictions and red tape associated with rebuilding any historical building have been lifted and last year alone over 100 projects were approved by the council. If you visit the centre of Lisbon today you will find dozens of buildings covered in scaffolding.

3- Last but not least, young people seem to nurture more care for our historical areas than our parents. They have become the place where we go to the bars or clubbing, or simply spend a pleasent afternoon shopping along its beautiful streets.
That's good to hear.

Last edited by LtBk; January 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 PM.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fern View Post
@seattle-
I believe that trend is about to start changing soon for three primary reasons:

1- The historical centre used to be regarded as an old unattractive area to live and shop. That has changed and more people are coming back, tired of those massive and impersonal suburbs and shopping malls.

That's me. Lived in Cacém all my life and now moved to the city center (Principe Real)


Quote:
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3- Last but not least, young people seem to nurture more care for our historical areas than our parents. They have become the place where we go to the bars or clubbing, or simply spend a pleasent afternoon shopping along its beautiful streets.

That's me. In Bairro Alto all night
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