Maria Manuela Mendes + Beatriz Padilla . THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF MOURARIA IN LISBON

Abstract: Taking as starting point a research project of qualitative nature, this text shares some preliminary results of a larger project that took place in the neighborhood of Mouraria, located in the historical district of  Lisbon, between 2009-2012. In this context, based on the discourses of the main socio-institutional actors that intervene in the territory, we aim at unveiling the perceptions constructed around the most recent socio-spatial transformations that have taken place in this Lisbon neighbourhood.Within the empirical evidence, the most salient images that arise are paradoxal and dialogical, suggesting a dense woven fabric where different attributes intersect: historical and traditional neighborhood, multicultural space, downgraded quarter with a bad-reputation.

The convergence of a set of political-institutional conditions, which are explained in the text, have contributed to reinforce the image of Mouraria as a transition neighborhood, experiencing a deep transformation to become progressively cosmopolitan and multicultural, joining a diverse set of urban trails of tourism and consumption, evolving to become an attractive space for foreigners and tourists, workers and residents. 


Maria Manuela Mendes (CIAUD, Faculty of Architecture, Universidade de Lisboa and CIES- Centro de Investigação e Estudos em Sociologia - ISCTE/IUL)


Beatriz Padilla (Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade do Minho, Centro de Investigação em Ciências Sociais, CICS-UMinho)





1.      Theoretical and empirical context


This paper is based on more extensive research in the Neighborhood of Mouraria in Lisbon[1] which focuses on conviviality and super-diversity from the perspective of P. Gilroy and S. Vertovec.

Study of this neighborhood of Lisbon is based on two key concepts, that of conviviality by Paul Gilroy (2004) and that of super-diversity by Steven Vertovec (2004, 2007a, 2007b).The first concept aims to address processes of cohabitation and interaction which make multiculturalism a common and ordinary feature of social life in urban areas, namely in post-colonial cities where "new migrations" are relevant. The locus of the study aims to operationalize this concept at a local micro scale, more specifically to a neighborhood.

Vertovec contributes to the critical debate around multiculturalism by putting forth the concept of super-diversity whose objective is to overcome the limitations linked to the use of ethnicity as main factor to explain diversity. Though multiculturalism is sometimes viewed as a synonym of diversity, the term super-diversity emphasizes the importance of "new combinations and interactions of variables" in contemporary societies. However, the variables of super diversity are not completely new, nor are many of its correlations. This concept implies adoptinga multidimensional approach, which includes intersection of variables such as the country of origin, the ethnicity, the languages, the religion; the migration channels and the legal status; insertion in a given place; transnational practices and the response provided by the local authorities, the service providers and local residents.

Within the context of the current research, operationalization of these concepts leads us to the design of empirical mainly qualitative[2]research, one of the main objectives being to identify, describe and analyze contexts of super diversity and of cultural coexistence in places where migration and diversity are part of daily life. The Methodology adopted aimed to understand how resident, business people, workers and social and institutional stakeholders in the selected contexts perceive Mouraria as a context of super diversity as well as the predominant means of coexistence, though not neglecting the tension and conflict latent in this locus.


2.      Lisbon and the neighborhood of Mouraria: (diver)cities in the city

The presented results have the Neighborhood of Mouraria as empirical reference. This neighborhood, together with others (Bica, Alfama, Castelo, for example), belongs to the group of Historical Neighborhoods and Urban Groups that provide Lisbon its identity, thus holding a unique position in the context of the city. This neighborhood is referred to in some recently produced documents by public organizations and services as a "brand", taking on the "sense of place", making both the neighborhood and the city competitive in terms of world intercultural cities as far as the tourism trade, and in particular the city tourism, is concerned (UP Mouraria, 2010: 3) and now included in Lisbon's cultural agenda. In fact, the magazine Time Out, in its edition of July 8, 2013, a weekly magazine which promotes cultural events in Lisbon, devotes many pages to Mouraria under the title “Tudo sobre o bairro mais surpreendente de Lisboa” (Everything about the most surprising neighborhood in Lisbon). For Sharon Zukin (1995), there is a correlation between migrations and urban economy in order to create an ethnic cultural economy that may change the face of urban economy through the creation of new markets, new products and services, new cultural dynamics, among others. In this context, cities like Miami (in which about half the population was born abroad), Amsterdam and London you can find hyper diversity dynamics. Richard Florida (2004) states that diversity is an important factor in terms of differentiation and attractiveness for creative classes and concludes that the most attractive cities are those in which there is greater ethnic and cultural diversity. In fact, for Florida (2004) migrations give a cosmopolitan flavor to cities, making them more sought for by those classes.

The origins of the neighborhood as Arab or "Moorish" outskirt are part of the city's history, and the current feature "cultural diversity", linked to the number of immigrants living there, is viewed as key to the Lisbon's competitiveness in relation to other cities. This diversity emphasizes the different origins of people, cultural products and/or services in Lisbon (Carvalho, 2006: 92) and more specifically in the shopping center Centro Comercial da Mouraria “which represents a unique center of urban activity” (Agenda CML, Apr. 2004: 6), "a lively market and an ethnic melting pot" (Time Out, 2001: 166, in Carvalho, 2006: 93). In 2009, an application was submitted to Quadro de Referência Estratégica Nacional (National Strategic Reference Framework - QREN), to the program for the cities - “Programa de Acção: as cidades dentro da cidade”; features such as multiculturalism and ethnic diversity have been enhanced by festivals such as "Festival Todos", associations such as "Renovar a Mouraria" and thematic walks on the Chinese part of the neighborhood "Venha Conhecer a Mouraria Chinesa” or on the neighborhood's history “Mouraria: da sua origem à actualidade multicultural e bairrista: 900 years of history”.

Based on our documental research, we realize there is an appeal to cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism that coexists and is even reconciled with the image of Lisbon as a city of neighborhoods - popular, picturesque and typical - produced in this century (Cordeiro e Costa, 1999: 58).

According to Sharon Zukin (1995), this ethnic and cultural diversity in cities has significant and positive effect. However, diversity can also be seen as a threat to social and territory cohesion in certain areas of the city where there is multi-ethnic coexistence, yet this feature may be used in urban marketing campaigns associated to urban lifestyles, promoting consumption of alternative and rather authentic products and services.

Though the neighborhood is a polysemic, fluid and diffuse concept, either viewed as a set or as part of something shared or even as a part of a city that is unique and rather a unit, a singularity (Clavel, 2004: 73); it may also be considered an ideological concept (Lefebvre, 1967 in Clavel, 2003: 74-75), portraying an ideal of community life as natural picture of social life. The neighborhood is a relative, subordinate sociological unit that does not define social scenario but which is a necessity. "With no neighborhoods, just like with no streets, they may a cluster, an urban network, a metropolis but there is no city" (Lefebvre, 1971). In this context, inhabitants' space and time take shape and provide meaning to urban space (Lefebvre, 1971). Cordeiro and Costa (1999: 60) state that neighborhoods "are real and imagined places, linked to other social units: from small neighborly interaction, sometimes organized in discreet networks, around a street, an association or a shop; to administrative territory division (freguesia), a wider political and administrative unit".

The discourses of social and institutional actors intervening in the neighborhood evidence some contradictions, tensions and conflicts, usually organized in two poles of analysis: recent social and urban changes and coexistence among native and immigrant residents, visitors and shop owners


3.      Different ways to coexist

There is diversity in terms of status and practices among users, workers and residents, whether old and indigenous inhabitants or new, migrant and immigrant inhabitants. Marluci Menezes (2003), in her study on the neighborhood of Mouraria between 1997 and 2001, emphasizes the existence of two sociability and local neighborhood networks: the neighborhood network related to residence and that related to work. Currently, that is still a relevant difference.Nowadays, this distinction holds true, however it is possible to add a third options which we have named consumption vicinity network, characterized by socializations around consumptions and life styles, mainly known as alternative, that take place within the neighborhood, mainly the opening of coffee shops, restaurants and leisure spaces. More recently, a study conducted by Paula Gésero (2011) in the neighborhood of Mouraria and of Praça do Martim Moniz, evidenced the tension between indigenous residents and shop owners and foreign residents and shop owners. The indigenous interviewed rather angrily described the disrespect in terms of garbage collection schedules by the immigrant residents as well as reference to their dirty behavior (throwing garbage out the window, the dirtiness inside the buildings and their homes).

On a field observation in our project, a shop owner revealed he "is not happy with the arrival of so many immigrants" and said "There are just too many", adding that the Indian, the Pakistani and the Bangladeshi are "pigs" because they place lots of garbage bags at their doors during the day.

The fact that the neighborhood and other nearby areas, such as Praça do Intendente, are considered infamous is also associated with the presence of immigrant shop owners and clients.One of our interviewees, also an indigenous shop owner, refers that"The shopping centers over there, on both sides of the square, are filled with bad people. Intendente is also nearby, and it it well-known for all the bad reasons. What kept our business going was the City Hall, which was down here and was moved about 6 or 7 years ago. Our type of client has changed a lot. Our clients are ... really bad people. They are bad people because they are from every walks of life"; "My wife rarely comes here. She comes once or twice a year. She gets here and says "Zé, it seems we are in a different country" (indigenous shop owner).

The difficulties in accepting others in the context of daily coexistence are also made evident in terms of smell and sound; in the seasoning used in the cuisine of the different immigrant groups as well as the sound of the different languages, in situations that indigenous inhabitants perceive as lack of respect towards the Portuguese neighbors or resistance to their customs (more attributed to Chinese immigrants) (Gésero, 2011). One of the technical workers of the project Unidade de Projecto da Mouraria (UPM) emphasizes the difficulties in communication between indigenous and immigrant inhabitants:

"While the Indian, the Pakistani and the Bangladeshi speak English and interaction is possible, the Chinese do not and that makes it more complicated to communicate..." (UPM).

Yet, misunderstanding and even rejection of "cultural differences", of otherness and diversity in ways of life evidence latent and growing tension in the neighborhood's daily life. One of the technical workers of UPM states that:

"the neighborhood is inhabited by many nationalities and races as well as by the white community. There are two types of communities there, in my opinion: there are those who were born there and who are embittered and struggling because of the multicultural environment in the neighborhood. Deep down, they find it difficult to coexist with Ramadan. The neighborhood has several mosques and Ramadan requires that people pray at night, can only eat at night, make noise during the night because they have small gatherings to eat and pray. This leads to a lot of noise on the street and in the apartments. (...) Then there are African families that throw their garbage from their 5th floor apartment to the lounge or to a place they consider the dump instead of placing it in the garbage bins White people have their laundry hung out to dry and their clothes get all dirty with chicken leftovers...

Though the Portuguese interviewees state their difficulties in understanding and accepting the immigrants, others defend there are no "problems" or conflicts with the immigrant neighbors.

"Unlike what others try to demonstrate, the neighborhood residents and the immigrants do not face one another, i.e., it's not that they are hostile or aggressive, they may greet but they do not mingle or when they do, then there are complaints; that is the case of the Bangladeshi, who people complain of throwing their garbage late and with no care. Another complaint is that a neighbor is always cooking curry and that smell invades the whole building, etc. "People don't mingle, they aren't friends". (Association Renovar a Mouraria)

But the (older) indigenous residents are the ones who are most proud of their neighborhood (Fonseca, coordinator, 2010). Empirical evidence from survey to 100 immigrant and to 100 indigenous residents in Mouraria and Martim Moniz in 2009-2010 show there are high levels of interaction in public spaces (for ex., in parks) and a low number of home visits regardless of the origin of the interviewee (Idem). In 2011, though the resident population is still mostly Portuguese, foreigners represented 28% of the residents (in the two main freguesias: São Cristóvão e São Lourenço and Socorro), most foreigners come from the Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP), from India, Pakistan and China (UP Mouraria, 2010).

Mapping of public space in the neighborhood, conducted in the ethnographic research, shows different regimes of public space occupation and which do not intercept, there is also segmented sociability and public space is mostly occupied by men. On this matter, Menezes (2003: 212) had already stated that men are more ostensibly exposed than women. On this matter, Bauman (2007: 60 and 133) referred that urban life is carried on by strangers among strangers, several ways of coexistence being possible, from coexisting - on the side; to co-existence - with and coexistence-for. From the statements of interviewees we may conclude that in Mouraria coexistence - on the side is the most common type, contact is fragmented or sporadic, only a small part of the individual's interests and desires. The several social and symbolical groups and universes coexist and live side by side without really knowing one another, as is made obvious in the testimony below

"(...) Mouraria is a culturally diverse neighborhood, there are many groups... people don't mingle much, they do not trust one another and don't want to mingle" (Joana, former resident)

In terms of business and professional relations, the Portuguese shop owners emphasize the "disloyal" competition of immigrant shop owners because the latter are given tax benefits, and monitoring to their shops is less strict (that is their perception and consider it an injustice).

Regardless of the criticism from both parties, business in this area of Lisbon has attracted new clients, new businesspeople, new products, new services and new experiences. One of the foreign shop owners reiterates the opportunities open here:

"Because the restaurants are known, they like the food. Now the Internet also helps quite a lot because there are recipes there and the products are better known. Indian food has always been tastier than ordinary food. Here there is also a huge variety of products. (…) we have clients from everywhere in Portugal; we have clients from Leiria, Setúbal, Porto, even; we also have clients from [Vila Nova da] Barquinha, Alentejo as well; but our regular clients are from Lisbon, from the district of Lisbon“(shop owner from Bangladesh)

4.      From segregated neighborhood to multicultural and cosmopolitan place

Noteworthy is also to recall that Mouraria has always attracted shop owners from several ethnicities and nationalities. From Indian-Portuguese, Hindus and Muslims, started settling in the area in the mid1970s, mostly opening toy shops, jewelry shops, furniture shops, knickknack shops and import and export (Malheiros 1996; Mapril, 2010), in the 1990s, Guineean, Cape Verdian and, more recently, of Senegalese and Zairean nationals (which opened cosmetics, music, food shops as well as restaurants), and Chinese - mainly from­Zhejiang and after the 1990s (Bastos 2004; Mapril, 2010). At this time, a lot of Pakistani (restaurants, knickknack and audiovisual) and Bangladeshi (clothes, knickknack, supermarkets and restaurants) shop owners settled here (Mapril, 2010: 249).

A survey on street shops in 2000-2002 within the intervention area of  Unidade de Projecto da Mouraria (UPM) confirms these trends; 56,9% shops belonged to Portuguese, 31,5% to Indian, 4,8% to African, 3,6% to Chinese and 2,4% to Pakistani nationals. Business inside the two shopping centers was predominantly owned by Chinese nationals. (UP Mouraria, 2010: 20; Menezes, 2003). These tend to devote to wholesale business, becoming main suppliers of gypsy itinerant trade (in markets and fairs). Though a place characterized by otherness, multi-ethnic[3]coexistence, by consumption of "ethnic services and products", this neighborhood is also one of insecurity associated to rundown buildings and public spaces, to homeless people, prostitutes, dealers and drug addicts. Let us not forget that Mouraria carries a stereotype rooted in the history of Lisbon and of Portugal: it is the place where those Moors that did not leave the city after the Christian Conquest (1170) settled; this is the formal foundation of Mouraria, a stigmatized territory whose name represents the physical place where Moors lived as well as, in etymological terms, the valley of the fallen (Menezes, 2003).

Within the context of this Project, the majority of the businesses establishments inside of the shopping malls is led by immigrants, however, these businesses have significantly shifted ownership regularly from hands to hands, While in the beginning most shops were ran by African immigrants, at present most of them are owned by Asians, mainly Chinese and from Southeast Ásia (Renovar a Mouraria, guided tour 2014). In relation to street businesses, including stores and services, they have also changed ownership to Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, yet alternative and more sophisticated consumption is normally associated to Portuguese ownership.

In the recent proposal for Lisbon Municipality to participate in the project "Intercultural Cities", this image of Mouraria is reiterated: "historically, this territory is one of social vulnerability, namely, at-risk groups or experiencing poverty and social exclusion, low level of life quality, some insecurity and ghettoization in Lisbon (...) Until the end of 2013, Mouraria will undergo urban regeneration, an excellent opportunity for a simultaneous "social rehabilitation" (CML, 2011).

In the development plan for the neighborhood, Plano de Desenvolvimento Comunitário da Mouraria, it is stated that up to 2013 Mouraria will undergo urban and social regeneration so as to "decrease the number of situations of exclusion and poverty, increase quality of life and a greater openness to the city; quality of life and social cohesion". (CML, 2011).

Already in 2001, Menezes (2003: 204) emphasizes that in 101 respondents, 78,1% referred there were specific places in the neighborhood where there was problems of security, adding that the neighborhood was now more secure. Still today, insecurity is still an element referred to by technical staff, shop owners and interviewed residents, leading to tension and to avoiding and separation strategies among residents and users of the territory:

 "There is a complicated problem in the neighborhood of Mouraria which is linked to drug dealing and there are families dedicated to specific trade. The drug dealers that do not mingle with the Africans, the typical males (castiços), fado type of typical. There is also a rather dark side, they impose limits because of the drugs. They are hard. They are another type of whites, different from the old people, but they are that very typical population that, in my opinion, is very Arab, with the taverns, the drugs, their livelihood, business, the women who sell drugs, the children who are couriers. There are a lot of bad things happening there. They've got the police; their police, their men."(Unidade de Projecto da Mouraria)

Insecurity (of goods and people) cannot be separated from social insecurity because the latter involves unemployment, social inequalities and racism, which influence the former. Labor precariousness and the little existing support lead to what Robert Castel (1998) calls social vulnerability. This type of vulnerability is still very present in the neighborhood's daily life, despite the ongoing changes, as a representative of the local associations states:

"So little time is left, but four years ago there was a lot of drug abuse in this area and it was really uncomfortable because there were overdoses and deaths by overdose and we see a lot of awful things... Benformoso street is a street where you walk without concern except at night. At night it is not safe to walk in Benformoso street but it is safe during the day...." (Associação Renovar a Mouraria)

Nowadays, even if drug trafficking is less evident than before, it does not mean it has disappeared, actually, it has moved to other restricted areas of the neighbourhood. Drugs use anyhow, has some visibility in some hidden corners.  However, between neighbours and drug traffickers/dealers/users, there exist an apparent conviviality which is relatively pacific by which they all avoid to run into each others to keep the police away from the area (Renovar a Mouraria, guided tour 2014).

According to an assessment by Unidade de Projecto da Mouraria, the neighborhood is rather deserted (homes that have been abandoned) and rundown buildings, yet the basic housing conditions have improved (made visible in the 1991 and 2001 census). In 2001 about 34% of the family homes were empty. Mouraria is still a neighborhood where most houses are rented, though more people now own their homes; thus, there is still a reasonable percentage of public property, namely that belonging to the municipality  (UP Mouraria, 2010).

The degradation of the popular habitat, the overpopulation, the architecture of the place and the social and territory intervention projects have not been able to avoid segregation in this neighborhood, ever since the urban regeneration plans of the 1930s and 1940s, which included "the clean-up and beautification" of the infamous neighborhood of Mouraria (Menezes, 2003), up to the plan to modernize Martim Moniz (Plano de Modernização do Martim Moniz), which deepened the physical and social marginalization and devaluation of its land, and, in the 1980s, the regeneration plan (Plano de Renovação Urbana do Martim Moniz), which included building two shopping centers. Only in 1985 was the local office for Mouraria founded (Gabinete Local da Mouraria, whhich later became Unidade de Projecto do bairro da Mouraria) aimed at neighborhood regeneration, social and cultural promotion, economic, urban and architectural recovery. This area has become "an object of urban regeneration" (Costa, Ribeiro: 1989 in Menezes: 2009: 308).

In 2009, the program "Programa de Acção"[4] (within the scope of the National Strategy Reference Framework) whose main objective is public space and urban environment regeneration, which requires social intervention in that specific area.

Programa de Acção da Mouraria is called "As Cidades dentro da Cidade” (Cities inside the city) and previews
architectural intervention and public space and urban environment regeneration in collaboration with local associations so as to "make this city are attractive for business, services, young people and families as well as more secure and sustainable for residents and tourists" (UPM, 2009: 23). Within this context of change, the new Mayor's Office is already set in Largo do Intendente, and the office for the High Commissary for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue will be moved to this area. Though these are temporary moves, they are viewed as key for the change.

"The fact that the Mayor lives - not lives but has his office in Largo do Intendente - has had a positive effect on how things have developed in Mouraria, which is great, I'm glad he made this decision, there is political will to intervene in this area; the service responsible for urban cleaning is also very motivated and has made an effort - that is very clear to me! - from 2008 up to now, the level of dirt has considerably decreased and that is an effort by the municipality; now it is a question of teaching people." (UPM)

Based on the documents that are included in this proposal, it is obvious that the program aims to intervene in public spaces so as to promote security and the use of spaces in the neighborhood and the city, in an attempt to indirectly solve some of the social issues considered urban issues (Castells, 1973).

In fact, in 2012 two structuring interventions were carried out, one being the regeneration of Praça Martim Moniz (at the entrance of Mouraria), terraced cafés and a market (Mercado de Fusão) were created (a project by a private architecture office  - CHP Arquitectos[5]), whose main objective was to make the square the "new Lisbon hot spot".

The second was the regeneration of the infamous Praça do Intendente, which used to be a place of prostitution and drug dealing; the square now has walking areas, businesses and cultural spots such as Café O das Joanas, the warehouse of ceramics factory, Fábrica de Cerâmica da Viúva Lamego which now houses the new shop A Vida Portuguesa, A Casa Independente (meals are served here but exhibitions, concerts, etc. are also held) and Largo das Residências Artísticas (da Associação Sou), where clients can be visitors and participate in the activities. Currently, Praça do Intendente has a new spirit, no longer an infamous place but a nightlife hot spot, where there is also urban art installation - the "kit garden" - by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, as well as bars and typical taverns increasingly sought for by diversity seekers.

Today, cosmopolitan and multicultural Mouraria is included in many tourist tours, affirming its character as space of intersection between local and global activities, consumption, consumers, and as an attraction to both foreigners and tourists and to workers and residents (Mendes, Padilla e Azevedo, 2014, in press).


Final remarks

Lately, this neighborhood has experienced the coexistence of "social and urban change processes, namely, being the home to non-European immigrants, and becoming a more noble urban area; this has led to cultural and ethnic diversification" (Malheiros et al., 2012: 97). More specifically, change processes in this neighborhood seem to derive from the diverse factors such as public policies designed and implemented there, the high number of associations and community organizations in existence here, and the confluence of political, economic, social and cultural resources. Little by little, from an imaginary that portrayed this as an infamous and segregated area, though contextualized in a historical part of the city, an image arises that is increasingly more positive and view this as a cosmopolitan, multicultural, exotic and touristic neighborhood (Mendes, Padilla e Azevedo, 2014, in press). The transformations suffered in Mouraria during the last years is consequence of the conjugation of the renovation and rehabilitation projects and of the investment in social and cultural programmes, which has  fostered a spirit of cultural conviviality. This change is evident in the new types of programmes developed by local associations that purposely include immigrant and diverse populations as a target of their interventions. Almost all associations and organisations in the neighbourhood develop activities for/with several target populations, claiming diversity, which was not common before. This shift is illustrative of the changing dynamics taking place in the territory. On the one hand, interests and imaginaries claimed by associations may change depending on new realities and the resources available to support theses realities (inclusion, cohesion), and on the other, depending on the political will that effectively support and lead this shift, as it has been the case in Mouraria.

Lastly, and returning to one of the elements of our theoretical framework, by clearly assuming a critical perspective towards multiculturalism, the concept of (super)diversity mobilized in this research has interesting heuristic features that should be mentioned. By focusing on interactions, in relations of coexistence and daily negotiations rather than on identities (which promote essentialization and reification of differences), (super)diversity allows to conceptualize gender, ethnicity, class, age and generational differences and other social divisions in an intersected way, adjusts well to micro scale (that of neighborhood), encompassing the diversity and conviviality in a given location though not neglecting their link to national and transnational levels (Berg & Sigona, 2013). In fact, operationalizing super diversity and conviviality in the neighborhood of Mouraria still posed some methodological challenges. In this context, our strategy was to resort to ethnography is different places and to studies on the neighborhood - conducting micro analyses. This allowed for grasping interaction patterns, new frontiers and contact spaces as well as hierarchies and power relations still continue to shape interactions of alterity, yet they also allow simultaneously to capture both auto-representation and others perceptions, which already implies a significant advancement, as shown, about the old concepts of ethnicity and identities which are immutable and essentiatizing.




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Research project entitled Culturas de Convivência e Super diversidade (Conviviality and super-diversity) financed by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) [PTDC/CS-SOC/101693/2008], coord. Beatriz Padilla. Institutions involved: Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical (IICT/MCTES) and Laboratorio de Estudios Interculturales, Departamento de Antropología Social de la Universidad de Granada (LDEI).

This text focuses only on research conducted in Mouraria/Lisbon. However, the study was developed by two research teams, one in Lisbon and one in Granada, between 2009 and 2012.The methodology used implied conduction ethnography within several contexts where cultures of coexistence and super diversity are present. The analysis was thus developed in two cities/metropolitan areas in two different countries - Lisbon in Portugal and Granada in Spain; more specifically, in two different neighborhoods in each country: Mouraria and Cacém in the Greater Lisbon Area; Realejo and Zaidín in Granada (city centre vs. outskirts). In each analyzed neighborhood/area 3 ethnographies were conducted based on three research lines: i) the neighborhood and neighbor interaction in public spaces; ii) young people/education and how diversity is taught, learned and experiences through interaction in formal and informal institutions (school, associations, preschool support programs, street); iii) inter cultural events as manifestations of local cultural and political practices (Padilla, Beatriz et al. (2012), Convivial Cultures, superdiversity, Results Report Draft, Lisbon, CIES-IUL).

Lisbon became a member of the Intercultural Cities network in 2011. The program "Intercultural Cities" is a joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Commission founded and implemented within the context of the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue aimed at fostering new ideas and practices in immigrant and minority inclusion. The Intercultural Cities network aims to make exchange and orientation easier between cities. Activities are designed to include a wide range of actors - municipality workers, administrators, service providers, professionals and civil society organizations - in creating an intercultural and strategic vision for municipalities. The Intercultural Cities network also aims to enhance local community activities, taking full advantage of their cultural diversity, support cities in the development of strategies and activities that assist in managing diversity in a constructive and innovative way but proposing specific policies and methods that cities throughout Europe may adopt and benefit from in the future (CML, 2011).

This program (Programa de Acção da Mouraria) thus responds to the proposal to enhance diversity in the territory defined in PNPOT (Plano Nacional de Planeamento e Ordenamento do Território - National plan for Territory Planning and Organization), more specifically, fulfill the political objectives of PROTAML (Plano Regional de Ordenamento do Território da Área Metropolitana de Lisboa - Regional Plan for Territory Planning of the Greater Lisbon Area): promoting urban regeneration, namely of rundown or socially depresses urban areas, as well as suburban areas and historical city centers. In terms of intervention in this historical neighborhood, the choices were: building regeneration; public space treatment; promotion of civic participation - support to civil organizations and cultural associations.

This project is based on previously existing structures, changing and complementing them with new functions, creating new shades so that the square is divided into 3 areas: 1) two cafés (kiosks) with terraces (in the north); 2) in the centre a food area with cuisine from every corner of the world (8 kiosks), shade areas and restrooms; 3) market with different products - 36  removable booths for different products.



Maria Manuela Mendes holds a BA and a Master in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts, University of Porto and a PhD in Social Sciences from the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). She is Professor Assistant at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon (FAUL) and researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, Lisbon University Institute (CIES - IUL). She is also a researcher associate at the Institute of Sociology, Faculty of Arts Porto (IS-FLUP) and at the Research Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Design (CIAUD, FAUL).


Beatriz Padilla is Associate Professor at the University of Minho, Portugal. Holds Ph.D. and a Master in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Political Sciences and Public Administration. Her main research interests include migrations, gender, inequalities and public policies.