MetroPublicNet - Building the foundations of a Metropolitan Public Space Network to support the robust, low-carbon and cohesive city: Projects, lessons and prospects in Lisbon

MetroPublicNet is a three-years FCT funded research project initiated in March 2021 aimed at exploring the experience of public space qualification projects in Lisbon Metropolitan Area since 1998. While offering a critical insight into their rationale, aims and results, we are looking for the potential foundation of a future metropolitan public space network.

The starting question of this research is whether public space should be conceived and shaped at the metropolitan scale, in order to provide an integrated and coherent network, capable of efficiently responding to the challenges of urban robustness, low-carbon mobility and territorial cohesion.

To address this question, the project explores the hypothesis that a Metropolitan Public Space Network (MPSN), if conceptualized, planned and designed at a metropolitan scale, can maximize territorial synergies and integration.

To explore this argument, MetroPublicNet looks into recent public space improvement projects in LMA as a research object to:

1) identify and systematize its features and rationales,

2) analyse and assess its structural components and impacts, and

3) contribute with a design-oriented perspective on the shaping of a future Metropolitan Public Space Network.

The project’s temporal framework (1998-2020) and spatial focus (Lisbon Metropolitan Area) provide a rich and diverse ground to learn from. It is a period during which LMA faced a transition from a long-standing development model based on sprawl to a compact and regeneration-based planning model; on the other hand, LMA has been a testbed for various urban development policies, namely those with EU funding, requiring critical assessment and evaluation for future adjustment.

Therefore, the project pursues three main objectives:

- A contribution to the national and European discussion regarding territorial policy and design at the metropolitan scale, particularly on the role of public space as a tool for metropolitan integration and identity-building;

- A contribution to the critical assessment of public space improvement projects in LMA in regard to 1) their framing under key societal challenges and 2) their contribution to build coherent and integrated territorial networks;

- A contribution to public space design and policy recommendations and guidelines, through collaborative partnership between the university, administration and civil society.

You can find more information on the project here.

more info

Date: 2021-2024

Coordination: João Rafael Santos (FAUL/CIAUD)


FAUL/CIAUD: João Rafael Santos, Alessia Allegri, Caterina Anastasia, Cristina Cavaco, Cristina Henriques, David Vale, Filipa Serpa, João Leite, João Pedro Costa, Leonel Fadigas, Luís Sanchez Carvalho, Manuela Fonte

ISA-UL/CEABN: Maria Matos Silva

FAUP/CEAU: Rodrigo Coelho, Sara Sucena Garcia


Carles Llop (Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña), João Nunes (PROAP), João Seixas (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Joaquín Sabaté (Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña)

Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/ART-DAQ/0919/2020)

Partners: Área Metropolitana de Lisboa