Alvalade comes closest to the city’s 15-minute concept


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Manuel Banza analyzed data from seven municipalities and concluded that the capital has “potential” to adopt the idea of Lisbon citizens being able to access services in a short period of time.

Can Lisbon become a 15-minute city? What measures are needed to make it happen? These are two questions that the participants of the next Citizens’ Council will try to answer on March 25th and April 1st. Manuel Banza, a data an

Manuel Banza is a data analyst with an interest in the field of urbanism.Diana Quintela/Global Imagens
Lisboa, 02/03/2023 – Manuel Banza, analista de dados, fez um estudo sobre Lisboa, cidade dos 15 minutos
(Diana Quintela / Global Imagens)

“I think Lisbon has great potential because it is not such a big city compared to other European capitals, but we have to be clear: there are parishes that have more potential than others. For example, the communities in the historic zone of Lisbon have an added value because they were created before the automobile,” Manuel Banza tells DN. “I would like the Citizens’ Council to focus on the fact that parishes have different characteristics, so they have different needs and therefore need different answers. There is no formula to make Lisbon a 15-minute city, it’s the neighborhoods that need to be 15 minutes, and the formulas will have to be different for each of them,” he argues.

This concept was born by the hand of urban planner Carlos Moreno and gained projection in Anne Hidalgo’s re-election campaign for the city of Paris in 2020. The idea is that from any point in the city, everyone should be able to meet their needs – shopping, health, education, culture, green spaces – within a 15-minute radius.

A bus in Lisbon, Portugal.
A bus in Lisbon, Portugal.


For his analysis, Manuel Banza chose seven of Lisbon’s 24 neighborhoods: Alvalade, Arroios, Belém, Benfica, Campo de Ourique, Lumiar and Marvila. “In the end, I chose parishes that cover almost all areas of the city and Arroios, which was the first one I tested because that’s where I live,” explains the data analyst. The parameters taken into account were proximity to schools and universities, metro stations, bike paths, supermarkets and markets, green spaces, cultural spaces, and coworking spaces.

Arroios has potential

After analyzing the data, Manuel Banza concluded that Alvalade was the municipality that “presented the best results. It has health units, metro stations, a good coverage of cycle paths separated from the road, several green spaces and coworking spaces, many schools and universities, and a lot of commerce. “Alvalade doesn’t seem to lack anything, those who live there can reach all the services on foot, and if it’s 15 minutes by bike, even more so. It is a good example of a neighborhood that was not created for the 15 minutes, but for the proximity,” he reveals.

LISBON, PORTUGAL, on June 22, 2017. The bus goes on the city street to downtown
LISBON, PORTUGAL. The bus goes on the city street to downtown

According to Banza, Arroios has “the potential” to be a 15-minute community “if it could improve some points, such as green spaces and trees, but also bicycle paths. “It is a municipality with a high population density, a lot of commerce, very rich in transport, has cultural spaces nearby, has several schools and is very close to universities, is one of the municipalities with more coworking spaces and has several hospitals and clinics nearby.

Belem, on the other hand, has a problem when it comes to the 15-minute bike ride because it has few bike lanes. “What’s good about it? Great diversity and a large number of green spaces, schools and hospitals nearby,” he says.

One of Benfica’s strengths is its proximity to schools and universities, and while there is no hospital in the community, there are several nearby, and it also has a lot of green space. But it has few coworking spaces and little cycling infrastructure. “Sometimes it is easy to compare Campo de Ourique with Alvalade because it has a lot of services and many schools. It has a metro station nearby and will have its own station, many coworking spaces, many cultural spaces. It is one of the municipalities with the least investment in bike lanes, but it already has GIRA and 30+ bici circuits,” he says.

yellow lisbon tram on the  old street
yellow lisbon tram on the old street

Lumiar has metro stations, several hospitals nearby, but few cultural spaces and few bike lanes, and green spaces are mostly on the outskirts of the neighborhood. Green spaces are not a problem in Marvila – the Parque da Bela Vista is a good example – which still has several kilometers of bike lanes that cross more than half the length of the municipality, but offers few cultural spaces.

Supporting local commerce

Manuel Banza is a fan of the Citizens’ Council concept. For the upcoming meeting, he leaves some proposals, such as betting on the bicycle network, improving the public space with more trees and gardens, strengthening the bicycle trains and expanding the Yellow, the latter two dedicated to students.

“It would also be important to create local trade support programs for those businesses that fall outside the criteria of Shops with History, but meet criteria that prove they are a success for the life of the neighborhood. These could be bakeries, social innovation projects such as consumer cooperatives that promote sustainable or circular economy products… Anything that has a social project that makes sense and that promotes the life of the neighborhood and the connection between neighbors,” he argues.

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