The Lisbon Club’s inaugural event took place on Thursday 1st September at MKAP’s Lisbon offices, which brought together guests for an evening to address the themes of gentrification and regeneration. During the evening, we were curious to find out whether there might be alternative forms of creating communities that avoid the common pitfalls of contemporary urban regeneration, where spaces become homogenised and cater to only select groups of wealthy – and often foreign – users. What might we, as architects and developers, need to closely consider in order to create successful urban environments?
Our first guest speaker, Iñaki Zoilo, is a director at Proap, a leading landscape architecture design firm based in Lisbon. Proap has carried out key public sector works in European cities, always seeking to transform the public realm into pleasurable and inclusive spaces. Zoilo showed us powerful examples of how public landscape design has the power to shift perceptions of spaces and cultivate exciting user patterns.
Next up was Jeremy Agnew from Re:built, who talked about his ambitions for the development of a model for community living, based on resilient techniques to create equality in both urban and rural developments. Agnew referred to examples of successful urban regeneration schemes that decentralize ownership, allowing users to have a voice in how their community is shaped. This decentralization has been achieved using methods such as Community Land Ownership models that engender a culture of reclamation and instill democratized and co-operative working methods. The evening was concluded with a lively discussion of the presented works and themes, inspiring us all to think more critically about the spaces we produce and live in.