Co-design journey in Cascais

Co-design journey in Cascais

5 December 2022

Throughout proGIreg the Follower Cities have worked hard on their urban plans following the lead of the Front Runner Cities. Cascais in Portugal has excelled at creating community-based urban gardens and farms in the urban transformation area and has plans for much more. Read on to learn about the exciting process thus far.

Cascais Urban

Image: Regeneration Area Map

The chosen area for regeneration in Cascais has a highly varied building environment, with a busy road and a stream cutting across it. The Follower City started with spatial analysis of the site, followed by identifying municipal departments needed (the environmental department and participation department) for the project work and scoping technical and legal requirements. A workshop was organised with relevant decision makers in the locality (local strategic planning department and local parish) to discuss the initial plans for approval. The local parish will contribute to proGIreg initiatives by unlocking municipal land and/or to buy private land to increase green areas (for the long-term).

This initial planning was followed by a scenario-building workshop with stakeholders in the planned regeneration area, showcasing the existing solutions such as the community-based urban farms on site. The workshop had participants establish a personalised community map of the area, and create specific proposals to improve and restore the area in order to target identified problems. The scenario building led to proposals to create a new pedestrian trail for an accessible green corridor next to the stream with adjacent green leisure areas. For greening the overall neighbourhood, stakeholders suggested multi-use green areas with playgrounds for children, fitness equipment and community gardens in vacant lots near residential areas. Further biodiverse pollinator friendly areas are planned in the riverbanks. Citizen engagement is planned in the form of food related events and collaboration with local markets to promote the produce.  Two priority areas were identified for interventions; greening the neighbourhood and building a blue-green corridor.

Image: Cascais Transformation Area

Potential challenges in greening the neighbourhood can be expected due to the area being classified in for use for construction, which makes purchasing the private land for use of green spaces challenging.  Developing the blue-green corridor is more straightforward as the land has been designated for the creation of green spaces, but could be improved with the acquisition of private land around the riverbank. The planning took into consideration the involvement of marginalized groups with care, local associations have been engaged to help organise activities and involve citizens in the nature-based solutions plans and use, with locals managing the community-based urban farms and gardens on site. The involvement of locals is crucial for the success of the planned NBS. Further engagement plans for the marginalized communities entail continuous support from the local associations in the management of NBS, creation of public open-air facilities with municipal maintenance and potentially a scheme allowing the production of produce for sale for low-income families. The continued training on organic agricultural practices is planned to continue and interactions among diverse residents and different communities to support social inclusion is foreseen. Future developments of the planned urban regeneration area will utilise the co-design principles of proGIreg. Read the ‘Mid-term report on the implementation process of the urban plans in Follower Cities’ to gain insights into inclusive nature-based solutions implementation.

Top photo: Group visit to community-based urban farms

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation action programme under grant agreement no. 776528. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the proGIreg project and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.