Lisbon metropolitan area





Conflict case


Trafaria and Costa da Caparica

The Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA) with 299,565.89 ha is the westernmost European capital, encompassing 18 municipalities (3,3% of the country’s surface). With a large population concentration of 2.7 million inhabitants LMA is the main urban and economic region in Portugal: 1/4 of the Portuguese population; 30% of the country’s enterprises; 36% of the national GDP.

LMA stretches along 150 km of ocean coast and around 200 km of river front. The region is divided by the Tagus river estuary, a wetland of international importance hosting over 100,000 aquatic birds during winter time. The estuary, among a variety of morphological features and natural richness, is also important for its habitats and fish species, which are protected under the Habitats Directive. Along with its natural and landscape value, the estuary and the river banks are of utmost importance for other activities of key economic and strategic value: industrial and logistic activities related with the Lisbon port; commercial and touristic activities, such as a cruise terminal (one of the fast developing tourism products in the Lisbon area), marinas and recreational harbours, restaurants and bars, heritage sites.

In addition to the increase in population density in the municipalities of the outskirts of Lisbon is the intense urban pressure and lack of spatial planning, which trigger a number of environmental conflicts. The critical issues that emerge here are due to the location of those industrial and commercial areas bordering or overlapping protected areas such as the Protected Landscape of Arriba Fóssil da Costa da Caparica and Tagus River Natural Reserve, which are ecologically very sensitive. Another issue that can be highlighted is tourism, notably the pressures linked to the consumption of natural resources that touristic activities require. However, if well planned, leisure and tourism can become an opportunity for the enhancement of obsolete industrial sites (e.g. located in Almada, Seixal and Barreiro municipalities) which are currently vacant. Based on this rationale, the analysis underlying this case study will explore issues such as the urban renovation of former port and industrial sites, the enhancement of river/sea front sites for leisure purposes and the environmental sustainability of the Tagus estuary.

trafaria Tagus_estuary

Tagus_logistics Tagus_heritage

Tagus_cruises Tagus_nightlife