In the city of Lisbon, ten thousand buildings are, according to the authorities, dilapidated. Six hundred and fifty renovation projects are going on these days. Working for the City or the newly created Urban Rehabilitation Companies, architects, jurists, social workers visit the apartments and meet with the owners, tenants and promoters. Within the buildings the film captures the confrontation of these different worlds. Cities are made of people and they have their own stories, their own things to tell.
Time seems to have stood still in Lisbon, not only in the streets, but also in thousands of flats. The inhabitants have paid the same low rent for decades, with the result that the buildings were not renovated. The people live in unacceptable conditions: rain leaks through the roofs, the ceilings look as if they are about to cave in, and mildew creates havoc on the walls.
Muriel Jaquerod and Eduardo Saraiva Pereira start off their film with traveling shots along the crumbling façades made from one of the city’s ancient tramways. We find ourselves in rooms so small that even the hand-held camera hardly fits into them.
A short documentary by Fabio Petronilli about an urban intervention in Trafaria, a poor neighborhood close to Lisbon, Portugal. The architects worked with the community, and after research on the quarter and its people, they decided to support creating community gardens in three different areas of the neighbourhood. By introducing the basic urban equipment they generated places for encounters and sharing, and helped people to start growing their own food.
Sofia Mourato, director of the Architecture Film Festival in Lisbon and Do You Mean Architecture, will be present to provide insight in an upcoming generation of young architects and entrepreneurs that are trying to counter the grimful situation portrayed in the documentary.
Justin Kadi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Urban Geography research group and a member of the Centre for Urban Studies, will moderate this session. Kadi wrote his PhD thesis on the neoliberal restructuring of urban housing conditions of low-income households.