Lisboa: Citizens Council is back and will discuss the 15 minute city

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The second meeting organized by the Lisbon City Hall will take place on March 25th and April 1st. As in the first edition, 50 participants, aged 16 and up, will be drawn.

On March 25th and April 1st, Lisbon City Hall will hold the second edition of the Citizens’ Council, during which fifty residents, representing the 24 boroughs, will exchange ideas about the concept of the 15-minute city. The goal is to discuss and formulate proposals that will be presented to the executive led by Carlos Moedas.
In this Citizens’ Council, which is scheduled for March 25th and April 1st, two Saturdays, 50 Lisbon residents over the age of 16 will participate. They will be drawn by lot among those who received an invitation to sign up for this initiative. “A limited number of invitations were sent to the residents of the 24 parishes of Lisbon, seeking to mirror the diversity of the city in terms of gender, age, nationality, parish, professional situation and level of education,” says the city hall.

The starting theme is the 15-minute city, but the participants will discuss five major areas where proximity in a city is fundamental – health and well-being, education, commerce, culture and services (such as post offices, Lojas do Cidadão, Lojas Lisboa, among others). Within these five areas three challenges will be launched, as listed by the Lisbon Chamber, and they are: “how to create a more complete and flexible offer?”, “how to share the available resources?” and “how to move around more efficiently?”.

“The theme is inspired by the concept developed by Professor Carlos Moreno according to which modern cities should be designed and planned so that the citizen has easy and fast access to essential services such as education, health, commerce, culture or green and leisure spaces. In this concept, it is considered that citizens should be able to access all these services without wasting too much time in traffic (on foot, public transport or other routes such as soft mobility), using 15 minutes as a reference. This implies a more complete offer of these services in each neighborhood, but also an effort to rethink the way we move around and how we share resources,” explains the Lisbon City Hall.

One of the examples of applications of the 15-minute city concept that is already carried out in Lisbon is, according to the municipality, “the Bicycle Trains program, which allows children to go to school safely using a bicycle with the support of monitors. But initiatives in other European cities are also pointed out, such as the superblocks in Barcelona, which “allow each block of the city to have a wide diversity of small shops and services”; Paris, which placed “work tables by the river, creating a shared space accessible to all”; or Vienna, where “modular terraces were created, which can be removed at loading and unloading times, among other uses.

The ideas that come out of this Citizens’ Council will be “presented and delivered by the citizens themselves to the mayor of the city or his representative,” and the municipality is committed “to follow up on the citizens’ proposals and communicate the progress made.

Climate change was the theme of the first meeting
The first edition took place on May 14 and 15, 2022, and had climate change as its theme. It was attended by 43 of the 50 people chosen by lottery, aged between 17 and 82. In total, 2351 registrations were received from people from Lisbon who were interested in participating.

“People really want to work on solutions with politicians, they don’t just want to give an opinion, they want to work. And for two days, people who didn’t know each other were here working together and working on developing ideas, and it was really extraordinary. I think it was a very good moment, and it was an extraordinary start,” Carlos Moedas, the mayor of Lisbon.

At the end of the two days, several ideas were presented, ranging from the extension of free public transportation in the capital, to the creation of pedestrian super-corridors, to the extension of Carris’ Carreiras de Bairro service, among others, distributed among seven major areas: housing, consumption and behavioral change, CML’s relationship with the citizens, transportation and mobility, public space, environmental education, and energy efficiency.

According to the Synthesis Report of the first Citizens’ Council, a first meeting was held on June 27 with the representatives of each of the working groups into which the citizens were divided, attended by the then councilwoman Laurinda Alves, who gave an update on the proposals presented to the executive.

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