Updated: June 26, 2024

The Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santo António, a 12-year plan that will involve a total investment of 750 million euros, will address a significant void in the heart of Lisbon, creating much-needed housing in this part of the city and benefiting local residents. Vale de Santa António is situated in the São Vicente parish, just to the east of Alfama, and this approved urbanization plan will provide significant positive changes to this part of the city.

Background to the Plan

plan-contrys-urbanizationThis decision to amend the Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santa António was made in 2017 but was tied up in bureaucratic procedures and inactions by the Municipality since then. In May 2023, the Municipality revisited the issue to work on a new proposal regarding the changes they wanted to make, with the intention to review some of the planning options in the current plan and to develop a public housing policy.

This new plan now envisions the creation of 2,400 homes, a generously sized urban park, and new viewpoints. The plan has now been approved in a Council meeting and will proceed with a public discussion process, which will last about one month.

What is the plan?

Alongside the 2,400 homes to be allocated to affordable rental programs, the aim is to retain families and young populations in the area. The new Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santo António includes a “generously sized” urban park that will play a “crucial role” as an aggregating element in the proposal, including improving social interactions and capitalizing on the environmental functions inherent to a park of this scale. This park will also help dissolve the barrier effect between the two slopes of the valley, with a set of pedestrian ramps, and to create a more attractive space for residents.

A key focus of the proposal is making it easier to get around, making short-distance trips manageable without the need for individual transportation. The entire urbanization of Vale de Santo António will be compatible with the existing fabric while introducing new features such as viewpoints, which will provide stunning panoramic views of the Tagus River.

A Significant Investment with Great Potential

real-investmentAccording to municipal estimates, the implementation of the Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santo António will represent a total investment of 750 million euros over a 12-year period, covering three more municipal mandates beyond the current one.

Of the 750 million euros, the largest portion – about 686 million – will be allocated to the construction of housing buildings, with areas for commerce and services, as well as public facilities such as a school, a municipal sports complex, and parking garages.

The approximately 2,400 new homes are expected to house around 6,000 new residents. The creation of the green park, the reshaping of Avenida Mouzinho de Albuquerque –which will include a bicycle lane –  and other infrastructure works represent a package exceeding 64 million euros.

A significant portion – about 15.6 million – will be for land preparation, with an additional 16 million for “structural green spaces.” The new Avenida Mouzinho de Albuquerque is expected to cost around 11 million.

The Lisbon City Council hopes to finance this mega-project through its Municipal Budget, bank loans, and European funds aimed at social and urban development, particularly through the Programa Recuperação e Resiliência (Recovery and Resilience Program) (PRR) and Portugal 2030.

Next Steps

The public discussion of the Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santo António will be the next step and will take place throughout June on the City Council’s website. Moving forward to September, citizen contributions will be incorporated into the proposal, which should be finalized the following month. In December, the document is expected to be in the hands of municipal deputies for voting.

For now, the realization of the Urbanization Plan for Vale de Santo António is still a dream, materialized by two or three renderings that help us imagine the future of that area. It will be necessary to secure financing, prepare projects, and launch public tenders – procedures that take time. For this plan, we are not talking about a single procedure but several – one for each parcel of the mega-project. This will complicate its implementation and mean that it will take time for action steps to be carried out.

If everything works perfectly and the process is efficient, we could be talking about 12 years from the moment practical work begins, which would point to the plan’s total completion around 2036 or 2037. But these too are overly optimistic scenarios.

At any rate, the fact that the project has been approved provides investors with insights into the planned development into a key part of the city of Lisbon, which will continue to make the Portuguese capital an appealing location in the years to come.