dossier BAIRROS: Margarida Tavares da Conceição . The several meaning of the word bairro

Abstract:Neighborhood is a word with many meanings, making its definition very hard. This seems to derive from the fact that this urban concept is heavily dependent on sociological content and has for a long time had two main meanings which can be understood based on two apparently opposed ideas: separation and belonging.

The objective of these notes discussing the different definitions of bairro (neighborhood) are twofold: meet the need for standardized and operational concepts in the context of Inventário de Conjuntos Urbanos do SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitetónico, an architectural, and contribute to the research project Bairros em Lisboa.


Keywords: Heritage; urban vocabulary; urban history; neighborhood



Margarida Tavares da Conceição, Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana / SIPA


Nuno Pires Soares - All Rights Reserved

Telheiras . Nuno Pires Soares - All Rights Reserved




The several meaning of the word bairro (neighborhood)

Collection of notes for the study of the concept of neighborhood



Introductory note

The literature available was enough to summarize the concept of bairro (neighborhood), the most important being the work by Christian Topalov et alii (2010) - entitled L’aventure des mots de la ville à travers le temps, les langues, les sociétés – which includes a good summary of the state-of-the-art by José Tavares Lira and Fredéric Vidal (2010: 61-68), for the word in Portuguese, which includes information on European Portuguese and on Brazilian Portuguese. However, further understanding of some issues is still heavily dependent on research of primary sources, in particular on the changes in meaning of the word before the 19thc.

Based on our research, we have reached a generic definition, which will be reference in inventory by SIPA, a definition highly based on French dictionaries, in particular the work by Choay and Merlin (1988), a source used (sometimes overused) in several glossaries  (1).

Currently, there is consensus on the fact that the neighborhood or a neighborhood is:

a part of the city with distinct features that make it recognizable among other urban areas; these features are of several types; despite this, it is always an urban housing project used mostly for residence, identifiable in sociological terms.


Considering the main differentiation factors (yet also adding to it its social function or level of cohesion among inhabitants, area of implementation and/or morphology and type of building promoter), three (main) classifying elements of neighborhood may be summarized, only partially matchable and which require further classification:

Peripheral / suburban neighborhood: housing project far from urban center / expanding urban area (word previously used: arrabalde).

Social housing project: housing project with low rents (words/phrases previously used: workers neighborhood; controlled rent houses)

Traditional neighborhood: consolidated urban housing project with a strong social identity (similar phrases: popular, old, historical neighborhood)


This means that any attempt to define types of neighborhoods implies the issue of establishing criteria, including the coexistence in time and space of several housing projects and the opposite, i.e., identifying types limited to a specific time (arrabalde, workers neighborhood) or geography (island). The concept of neighborhood appears to be deeply rooted in the perspective of urban sociology and is often influenced by ideological issues.

To sum up, from a wide urban perspective, the meaning of neighborhood as a part of the city is more recent (17th and 18thc) than the idea of neighborhood as arrabalde or suburbia, i.e., inhabited area outside the city, as made evident in several historical references (2).

However, when collecting these data, a recent book (Pinto, 2012: 381-387) demonstrates that, at least between the 14th and the 15thc, bairro (neighborhood) simply meant a number of houses (whether peripheral to the city or not) inhabited by specific privileged groups, usually nobles or professional corporations, an area outside the royal or municipal jurisdiction.

Later, the concept became common of the neighborhood as a part of the city, an administrative division, a housing project with a specific promoter and/or political and ideological perspective or of a consolidated (historical) urban unit.


Etymological summary

There is consensus only on the fact that the word bairro (neighborhood) has a controversial root. Yet, despite diversity of opinions, some common features may be listed. The word may derive from the Arab bárri (classical Arabicbarrî), which means exterior or suburbia, hence its inclusion in 10thc Portuguese via Late Latin barrium (see Houaiss, 2003, I: 490).

Other opinions emphasize the strong possibility of the word deriving from the Latin barra, which means street or division, from which the adjective barriu- was formed, meaning that which is outside. In fact, in Dicionário Etimológico by José Pedro Machado (1952/1995: I, 374) the word bairro (neighborhood) is linked to barra (bar), the latter only being explained.

Therefore, the link is between the word bairro and the Latin barra is understandable. The origin of the word barra is not fully known and the element -arr- may be indicative of Hispanic or Celtic influence.  The fact that there are three words derived from bar, pre-Roman element represented in the Latin barra, meaning street or division (Houaiss, 2003: I, 513), tends to reinforce the Latin derivation associated to an older root..

Machado (1952/1995: I, 395) draws attention to the link between the Latin barra and the Arabic barran (out, outside), a word that gave origin to other associated words and with a derived meaning, as is the case of torre albarrã (neighboring tower); however, the author also points out inconsistencies in considering that barra, or bairro, are of Arabic origin.

The root of the pre-Roman root barr (clay), from which the word barro (clay) derived, is also unknown; the meanings of these words may cross, as barr appears as a synonym of barra (Houaiss, 2003: I, 523) and connected to other words such as barranco, barreira (4). However, José Pedro Machado himself emphasizes the fact that the root of barro is also unknown, quoting Viterbo (1798), who indicates that barro may rather have meant a small rural neighborhood: a small place, a village, a farm or country house, as documented in the 14thc (Viterbo, 1798/1983: II, 23).

Both terms, bairro and bárrio, are also mentioned in Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa e Brasileira (n.d.: XXXVIII, 768-769) as linked, barrio appears as archaic, more common in the North, thus evidencing an older origin (before Portugal was founded). The meaning of the word bárrio (also used in the plural - bárrios - and registered since the 11thc) is fallow land which can be farmed, located in the vicinity of houses or in the vicinity of farmed land; the possibility is put forth that the origin of bairro meaning an inhabited area lies in the fact that those lands became inhabited in time, thus giving origin to peripheral urban areas, thus placing bairro in the vicinity of a place. This way, when Viterbo noticed that barro could also have that meaning, we may think it means consolidation of a village or old bárrios (fallow lands later inhabited) as is defined in the encyclopedia.

Despite de debate there is consensus that the Latin barrium or barra, through the adjective barriu- ("that which is outside"), gave origin to the Portuguese word bairro.The origin of the word will help, even if not to completely clarify, at least to question concepts considered obvious by the so-called common sense, namely the feeling of identifying with and belonging to a community that tends to differentiate the character of the old neighborhood from the character of the peripheral and/or segregated social housing project. It is significant, therefore, that, whatever the case and the origin, the oldest meaning refers to limitation, separation, i.e., what makes a place different, unique in relation to another urban area, to another group of inhabitants.

To sum up, bairro (neighborhood) is an urban area which, regardless of its size, evidences distinctive features regarding nearby areas; the differences may be of several types but they are mostly of sociological nature.


Chronological overview, the meanings of bairro(neighborhood)

The oldest references in Portuguese convey that general meaning of an inhabited area different from others. Therefore, the first level of meaning identifies bairro (neighborhood) as a piece of inhabited territory in the outskirts of a city or simply a small group of houses. Archaic forms of the word have been identified since 968 but only in 1611 does barryo appear with the meaning "part of a city" (Houaiss, 2003: I, 490).

In the mid 15thc, there is direct reference in to Ordenações Afonsinas (Book II, tit. 59) to bairros coutados (quoted by Moraes, 1798; Lira, 2010: 63) whose meaning is ambiguous because it may refer to fallow land or to inhabited land or to part of an urban area, as legal matter is at stake.

In fact, recent studies (Pinto, 2012: 381-388) evidence that the meaning of bairro (neighborhood) as a small reserve, almost always enclosed in urban area, is frequently used in the 15thc. However, a recurrent issue was city council's fights against this privileged area that disrupted the city administration (5) and which was banned by Ordenações Manuelinas (1521, Book V, tit. 90):

"We claim that no Landlord, Bishop or Nobleman, or any other person from any state or condition shall create a preserve or bairros coutados (preserve neighborhoods), nor host criminals or outcasts in old preserves even if approved by ancient Kings."


This ban is reiterated in Ordenações Filipinas (1603, Book V, tit. 104), thus confirming the existence of bairros coutados, also made evident in the complaints presented in the king's councils. Though this (medieval) concept of bairro (neighborhood) as a legally separate housing estate gradually disappeared, the truth is that it is still used in 1551 in reference to neighborhoods belonging to noblemen. Yet, their existence may not imply legal exception (6).


The first dictionary of Portuguese, whose publication began in 1712, established this generic meaning, though allowing for possible double meaning:

"A part of the City, with its houses & streets. Regionalism. Bairro (neighborhood) in parts of Santarém. Means the same as Monte (small group of houses) (Bluteau, 1712: II, 543).


However, at the same time Rafael Bluteau defines arrabalde as "neighborhood close to the city but outside its walls"; evidencing the urban meaning. Thus, n several Portuguese dictionaries since the end of the 18thc with the addition by Morais Silva to Bluteau's dictionary and throughout the 17thc editions, the term bairro (neighborhood) is simply defined as a part or a division of the city, part of the territory of a settlement (Morais Silva, 1789, 1813; Domingos Vieira, 1871 (7), Cândido de Figueiredo, 189; quoted by Lira and Vidal, 2010: 62-64), a very broad definition which became common in Portugal and in Brazil (8).

Yet, in this chronological chart another meaning arises: bairro (neighborhood) as an administrative division. The administrative neighborhoods of Lisbon and Oporto were established during the liberal reforms, between 1833 and 1842, as a territory where State power was enforced through its legal representatives, the "neighborhood administrators".

Bairro(neighborhood) as an administrative division is already visible in the 16thc legal divisions. In the reign of king Sebastião, the city of Lisbon was divided into six neighborhoods to make the administration of justice easier. Later, a law passed in 1593 established areas of jurisdiction under the ruling of judges and mayors, to whom it was required "special care to watch the city (...) and manage noise, theft and other crimes occurring in those neighborhoods." quoting Costa, 1965: 660).

The Regulation from 25 December 1608 increased the number of neighborhoods in Lisbon and reinforced the legal and surveillance structure, further reinforced by law of 25 July 1760, which laid down the Main Office of the King's Police. The division of Oporto for the purpose of administration of criminal justice and public security was only implemented by decree on 3 December 1832.

The decrees by Mouzinho da Silveira in 1832, which established a new legal and administrative regime, did not consider bairro (neighborhood) as a territory division in Portugal. The decree of 28 June 1833 laid down, for legal purposes only, a division in terms of neighborhoods (9) for Lisbon and Oporto. However, the law of 25 April 1835 established the framework of administrative territory divisions and defined the hierarchical division into distrito (district), concelho and freguesia (10) but did not mention bairro (neighborhood). Meanwhile, a law from later that year confirmed the division into administrative neighborhoods but only in Lisbon and Oporto. The first legal diploma dedicated to administrative organization and which mentioned bairro (neighborhood) as a territory division dates from 16 March 1842  (Costa, 1965, p. 656).

These data collected by Norberto Costa (1965) would require further research so as to better understand the different meanings of the word bairro (neighborhood) throughout modern times, a difference made more evident in the second half of the 19thc. It would be interesting to clarify how the the enclosure of an inhabited area, almost always peripheral in the beginning, will eventually signify a legal and police division; the word's ambivalent meaning will be maintained and the administrative reference will fade and almost disappear.

In fact, throughout the 20thc, the concept of administrative neighborhoods gradually fades though the territory division is only banned in 1981. The concept of bairro fiscal (neighborhood for taxation purposes) remains (Vidal, 2010: 66), whose borders no longer coincide with the administrative neighborhoods in the 1920s.


The meaning of space division and confinement is detectable in the several words, and in the case of the neighborhood, from the late 19thc onwards, it is defined as an area inhabited by a specific social group or class (Morais Silva, 1889: I: Moraes, 306; Lira, 2010: 64). This idea, which justifies the old name given to certain ethnic and religious neighborhoods (mouraria - the neighborhood of the Moors [mouros], judiaria - the neighborhood of the Jews [judeus]) and which was gradually expanded to describe the professional group inhabiting the area (Bairros dos Pescadores - Fishermen Neighborhood - , Bairro Operário - Workers Neighborhood). This is sometimes mixed with the 'function' of bairro (neighborhood). Besides this, the neighborhood can also be named according to its topography (Bairro Alto - High Neighborhood -, Bairro de Cima - Top Neighborhood - , Bairro Fundão - Bottom Neighborhood, etc.),  which generally becomes its name.

The same occurs with social class. The so-called workers neighborhood became popular in the late 19thc and described the real estate operations, almost always privately built, erected to house exclusively families working for big factories in the periphery of Lisbon and Oporto. This is a neighborhood "viewed as a closed space, built rather than organized and a (bad) product of urbanization meeting industrialization." (Vidal, 2010: 67, our translation). Hence, it is the equivalent to vila operária (workers village) or ilha (island) in Oporto, a series of compact organized constructions in a block with a gate entrance. Frédéric Vidal claims that the classification bairro operário (workers neighborhood) is used during a specific time, between the first and late industrialization in Portugal and the implementation of Estado Novo, in the early 1930s, when the word "worker" is usually censured.

In fact, from the late 1910s, the phrases bairro social (social housing project) and bairro económico (economic housing project, or better, a neighborhood with cheap houses) were laid down in law to classify estate projects, mostly by private cooperatives, for the economically disadvantaged (Diário do Governo, 1st series, decree nº 4137 of 25 April 1918), the ideological traits of these options continue during the First Republic and during Estado Novo. Through Programa das casas económicas (Decree-Law nº 23 052, of 23 September 1933), the government was allowed to promote building economic houses in collaboration with city councils, administrative corporations and State bodies.  The process of direct State intervention was thus started (Batista, 1999: 26, 48-), which continued, though with changes, until 1945 and 1969, with the participation of city council services, in particular in Lisbon.

In fact, one of the most common classifications today is that of bairro social (social housing project). Within this framework, more than the obvious sociological differentiation, what is involved is the organized development of housing estates for low-income population (sometimes within a re-housing process of populations living in poor conditions), generally promoted by public administration, resorting to homogeneous architectural design and to cost-controlled housing construction. This is an urban and architectural landscape which directly derives from a national policy on housing, to which several public administration bodies have contributed, bodies created for that purpose and which inherited responsibilities from different services - Serviço de Construção de Casas Económicas da Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais and Gabinete de Estudos da Habitação da Direção Geral dos Serviços de Urbanização. In 1969, Fundo de Fomento da Habitação (1969/1980) (11) was created, substituted by nstituto de Gestão e Alienação do Património Habitacional do Estado (1985-2002), Instituto Nacional da Habitação (2002-2007) and Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana (since 2007).

The downside of this policy are bairros de lata (slums), bairros de barracas (slums), or simply bairros clandestinos (illegal construction neighborhoods), neighborhoods inhabited by people with low incomes, almost always migrants.  The name given refers to the type of materials used to build the houses, the non-regulated processes of construction and of illegal land occupation. Yet, its meaning goes beyond this and is linked to strong social stigma, an urban disease which should be treated and eliminated. This is the anti-urban neighborhood, a consequence of the occupation of fallow land in the urban periphery, interestingly very similar to the concept of bairro (neighborhood) in terms of historical origin.

Between the last decades of the 19thc and the early decades of the 20thc, the concepts of social or economic housing project, administrative neighborhood (gradually disappearing) coexisted, at the same time the more general concept of bairro (neighborhood) as inhabited urban area was replaced by more technical words and phrases used by urban and city planners. Simultaneously, the word bairro in its general meaning continued to be used and gradually encompassed the meaning of place of residence and daily living area. Currently, the feeling of belonging to a neighborhood is extremely valued and "That is why today, even if we know the neighborhood we live in and to which we feel we belong to, we do not know exactly its borders." (Lira, 2010: 66).

The word was defined in the 1950s in one of the last versions of the dictionary “Dicionário de Morais” (“Part of a city that includes a specific area, inhabited by people who belong to the same class; similar to the old neighborhood of Mouraria in Lisbon.”, Silva, 1950: II, 325; quot. Lira e Vidal, 2010) often quoted in the literature and in journalism, which confirms its generic meaning and sociological derivation, the basis of the current concept of neighborhood as an identity urban element. This identity, similar to the concept of neighborliness, of cohesive and well-known habitat, which is made manifest (also due to nostalgia) in the so-called popular, traditional neighborhoods, old neighborhoods or historical neighborhoods.

In this sense, it has gradually become equivalent to freguesia as a place of belonging, because you are born and you live there  (Vidal, 2010). In fact, it was also after the late 19thc that the word freguesia became a synonym for clientele, which is associated to the neighborhood's community; this occurred once freguesia already meant secular administrative division, separate from parish and which "at individual scale can have a high symbolic value because it is the official place of birth as mentioned in identification documents. Sometimes it may be at the equivalent of neighborhood because of the feeling of identity common among people and urban areas." (Vidal, 2010: 502, our translation).

Frédéric Vidal states that bairro popular (popular neighborhood) only becomes a common phrase in the 1920s, based on two arguments: on the one hand, it was considered a specific area in the city which, because it was old and its population stable, was socially and culturally homogeneous, as described by contemporaries; on the other hand, the concept discussed in academia, in particular in the social sciences (Índias Cordeiro, 1997, Firmino da Costa, 1999/2008), that questions up to what point the popular neighborhood is the spatial framework in which the Portuguese urban phenomenon is structured and organized.

However, as Vidal adds, the phrase bairro popular (popular neighborhood) gained a more specific meaning in Portugal, in particular in Lisbon, where it describes urban areas described as typical or traditional. This use of the word was especially fostered from the 1930s onwards in the context of municipal policy on festivities.

"Bairro (neighborhood) - the adjective became superfluous - is therefore an urban form, a way of experiencing the city simultaneously ideal and typical. This use also reveals the difficulty in considering the modern city or the big city in Portugal. The word bairro (neighborhood) is now used and claimed as a symbol of resistance against the negative effects of large scale urbanization". (Vidal, 2010: 67-68, our translation).


This is also referred to in international literature, as summarized in the researched dictionaries: the current urban neighborhood presents practices and representations that may be understood as a replica of the traditional social forms in a village or town, a nostalgia of a mythical community identity in a pre-industrial world; this is why the old parish units still exist in many cities (Maurice Imbert, in Choay and Merlin, 1988/2000: 693-694).


Foreign words

Only in Spanish, with the word barrio, is there an equivalent to the Portuguese word but the Spanish dictionaries propose a direct link to the Arabic barri, meaning outside (in Catalan the word remains barri). Despite the semantic coincidence, small variations can be identified: in the 17th and 18thc it could correspond to one street only, the same way arrabalde could an inhabited area around an access way to the city. Today, however, the Spanish term still retains its rural connotations, though it is rarely used. Barrio can also mean an administrative unit and a neighborly unit associated to a popular environment (Ernesto Aréchiga Córdoba, in Topalov et al., 2010: 91-102).

In the other Romance or Latin languages, the equivalent term also refers to part of the city but its root is very clear and refers to spatial borders, to administrative organization of territory, the sociological meaning of the word appears later.

Therefore, the French quartier, or the Italian quartiere - just like the Romanian cartierand the Germanviertel - literally and originally meant a quarter of the city, an archetypal division, usually for military and administrative purposes (the Roman castrum) to which later the concept of neighborliness (voisinage) was added, an area recognized for its intense social environment. Noteworthy is, however, the fact that social sciences have dedicated their efforts into understanding and defining this phenomenon (Christine Lamarre, in Topalov et al., 2010: 013-1017), a rather complex one regardless of the word used. In Italian (as in almost all other languages) there are very interesting vocabulary variations with partially similar meanings (circoscrizione, contrada, rione, sestieri, sezione; see Brigitte Marin, in Topalov et al., 2010: 1017-1022).

In English, on the other hand, the idea of division is maintained in the word district (administrative division with defined borders) and the concept of community in the word neighborhood (with undefined borders). Finally, in Arab countries the words used have very different meanings.


A short summary

Again referring to the dictionary by Choay and Merlin (which was mentioned in the beginning of this paper), we must emphasize that there is not one systematic definition of bairro (neighborhood). Urban reality and architectural differences show diverse characters and do not allow us to define a type of neighborhood. We may have the same urban and architectural design in very different neighborhoods. The geographic scenario of the neighborhood is complex and may not be defined solely by its type based on its function and use. The sociological reality of the neighborhood is complex and controversial and the representations of the neighborhood link it to collective living, a theme we will not discuss. Yet, any study of the city requires its division into areas and, inevitably, the identification of neighborhoods.

The basic concept of spatial separation in regards the use of soil, later legally laid down (administration) emphasizing the need to divide, led to a new concept of neighborhood that coexisted with that of a part of the city. Later, the word tended to be used as an adjective identifying function or social and professional group, thus enhancing the sociological (and ideological) perspective of bairro (neighborhood). The modern (current) concept of bairro as unit of neighborliness, as identity habitat derives from adjectives like popular, traditional, old, historical being added.

In sum, we may understand bairro (neighborhood) as:

Inhabited, defined and divided area, usually dependent or peripheral to an urban settlement (bairro periférico - peripheral neighborhood);

Defined housing area, planned and/or architecturally homogeneous, designed for a specific social group, i.e., deriving from a process of social segregation (bairro social - social housing project);

Consolidated urban area recognized as a neighborhood unit from a social and anthropological perspective (bairro tradicional - traditional neighborhood)

Urban area defined for administrative, tax and legal purposes (bairro administrativo - administrative neighborhood).


The concept of bairro encompasses very different realities. If its initial meaning is that of a separated housing area which, as it expands, is closer to the city and becomes part of it (the most common meaning of the word today), it is exactly within this process of urban consolidation that it becomes bairro antigo (old neighborhood), almost intuitively considered a more genuine neighborhood. The opposite occurs with bairro social (social housing project), which is stigmatized and becomes the "unwanted" part of the city. However, bairro social (social housing project) from the point of view of concept is the one closest to the root of the word bairro (neighborhood): the inhabited area that is apart. 

The word bairro is heavy with sociological content, which is sometimes almost independent from its morphological definition and even from its physical borders. As such, the word bairro (neighborhood) almost always appears in connection with another word, either a noun or an adjective, which clarifies its meaning.



1 “Fraction du territoire d’une ville, dotée d’une physionomie propre et caractérisée par des traits distinctifs lui conférant une certaine unité et une individualité.”  (Maurice Imbert, in Choay and Merlin, 1988 / 2000, 694).

2 An example: in Bragança in the 18thc there is still reference to areas outside the city as bairro and arrabalde “Bairro que chamam aos Batocos extramuros desta cidade”, Bairro das Moreirinhas and “Barrio da Ponte, arrabalde desta cidade” (cit. RODRIGUES, Luís Alexandre -Bragança no Século XVIII: Urbanismo, Arquitetura. Bragança Junta de Freguesia da Sé, 1997, vol. I, pp. 87, 94).

3 Celtic influence is visible, for example, in the Gaul place name Bar, which means edge; in barr in Irish and Welsh, in barri in Breton, the three meaning "top" or "branch" (Machado, 1952/1995: I, 374).

4 In the case of some place names (for example, Oliveira do Bairro), bairro is a derivation or a corruption of barro, barrô, barrio (barrium), from which derive other words such as barroso (barrosa), barreiro (or barreira), bairrada, all meaning clay soil.

5 Braga, one of the best known examples, where every nobleman who has ever gone there was always offered a place to stay and neighborhhod (“onde sempre ouuerom em custume que nenhuu fidalgo nom pouse na dicta cidade saluo huu dia nem lhe dem hi pousadas nem bairro”) , a priviledge that was confirmed by royal decree in 1397 (Pinto, 2012: 385).

6 In 1551 Cristovão Rodrigues de Oliveira wrote Sumario em que breuemente se contem alguas cousas assi ecclesiasticas como seculares que ha na cidade de Lisboa, in which he mentions several neighborhoods Bairro de dom anrrique and Bairro de dona Joana (in freguesia de Santa Justa) and Bairro do marques (in freguesia de São Nicolau). Quoted by Pinto, 2012: 387.

7 In the late 18thc Domingos Vieira refers how, in Santarém, the meaning of bairro as arrabalde still remains (see Lira and Vidal, 2010).

8 José Tavares Lira (2010: 62-63) states that bairro (neighborhood), an urbanized and inhabited area, is in opposition to city center and the countryside as well as in opposition to settlements such favelas; however, this concept of periphery, bairro opposed to center, is not always clear in Portuguese cities, though it may be tendentiously so; in the Brazilian case, Lira questions whether the old ambivalence is not present today in the idea of city center and its neighborhoods.

9 Six neighborhoods in Lisbon (Bairro Alto, Alfama, Mouraria, Rossio, Santa Catarina and Belém) and three in Oporto (Cedofeita, Santa Catarina and Santo Ovídio). The number of neighborhoods was later changed (Costa, 1965; Vidal, 2010).

10 Freguesia and parish were equivalent concepts up to the 19thc, though the parish refers to the territory under the jurisdiction of a priest whereas freguesia was linked to the community of clients - fregueses - (filĭus eclesiae), a difference already mentioned in the dictionary by Rafael Bluteau. (Vidal, 2010: 499).

11 Between 1980 and 1987 that was the responsability of Comissão Liquidatária do Fundo de Fomento à Habitação.



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Margarida Tavares da Conceição


Senior technician at Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana, member of SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitetónico. Researcher at Instituto de História da Arte, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Lecturer of Military Architecture and Fortification (15th to 17th centuries) in the Master's Program in Art History at FCSH-UNL.

Degree in History, major in Art History, Universidade de Lisboa (1989). Master in Art History, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (1998). PhD in Architecture (Architecture Theory and History, Universidade de Coimbra (2009).


Researcher at Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra, and lecturer in the integrated Master's Program in Architecture, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Viseu campus.

Conducted inventory of architectural heritage for Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, where she developed the project on inventory of urban sets - Inventário de Conjuntos Urbanos.

She has worked in urban planning (studies on historical description and urban analysis).

Main research interests include: the city and fortification in modern era, treaties on architecture and urban planning and related fields, inventory methods on architecture and urban heritage.