By: CHRIS GRAEME
A NEW city on the south banks of the River Tagus at Margueira to house up to 30,000 people could soon become a reality.
The space-age Water City, Cidade da Água, at Almada, between Cacilhas and Cova da Piedade, would be the largest and most exciting urban regeneration project on the Iberian peninsula since Expo 98.
The city would include not only apartments but offices, shops, public parks, health centres, schools, a fire station, sports facilities, a museum, a hospital, and restaurant and hotel facilities – in short, everything needed to support a fully functioning 21st century community.
With stunning views over the River Tagus and Lisbon, the new city would be built on a 115 hectare site within the borough of Almada, and could take up to 20 years to fully develop.
The project involves a bevy of prestigious development and architectural names including Pritzker Prize winning architect, Richard Rogers (UK), and Portuguese architect João Santa Rita.
The ambitious project will be the partnership of Fundo Margueira Capital, which already owns many of the plots of land for the project, and the consultants Atkins Portugal, in what will be a joint Anglo-Portuguese development.
Richard Rogers, who was in Lisbon on Tuesday to present the project, said that the main anticipated stumbling block for the development would be infrastructure and, in particular, road, rail and metro links to the new city.
The idea is to create a pedestrian friendly zone by restricting the use of cars at Cidade da Água, by up to 50 per cent, which would be constructed on plots formerly occupied by disused shipping companies and the docks and ship building company Lisnave.
“We need to persuade people to leave their cars at home for the good of their own quality of life,” said Richard Rogers, who is a specialist in bio-climatic architecture and has such prestigious projects in his portfolio as the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London.
Conference centres and a new cruise ship terminal are also ideas projected for the new city of Lisbon, which, in the opinion of Richard Rogers, “needs revitalisation on its southern banks at Almada”.
As part of the reply to the obvious transport issue, the project would also envisage the creation of a Metro line extension across or under the River Tagus to Almada, which might or might not require a new bridge.
The project, which is currently being studied with regard to Portugal’s Territorial Plan and Lisbon’s Strategic Development Plan, would not be “a city for rich people”. Instead, there would be housing to suit all pockets.
The project would also include institutions linked to knowledge and learning at a higher level including faculties for one or more universities and a college as well as a technology park.
Fired with enthusiasm for the project, Almada Câmara President, Maria Emília de Sousa, believes that festivals and cultural industries could develop off the back of the project.
There are also plans to construct a 40-floor, 312 metre high tower within the overall project which was highlighted last week at the Waterfront Expo Conference at Lisbon’s former FIL, in Belém.
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