Levels and scope of participated projects: case studies in the Portuguese context

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In Portugal, there has been a growing concern, in recent years, about the participation of citizens in architectural and political decisions. The ineffectiveness of the traditional processes of participation of the democratic system proves incapable of responding to the contemporary problems of the citizens. In parallel it has been seen in recent years the deepening of the economic and financial crisis of 2007/2008, which, in Portugal, led to a sharp rise in the levels of unemployment in the architecture market. The lack of commissioning of building projects and plans, that had previously generated work, led to new concepts and approaches in particular in newly formed architects. On the one hand, there have been numerous collectives of architects motivated by issues related to political intervention and dynamics of social and territorial innovation. On the other hand, political decision-makers implemented new participatory instruments to support decision, such as Orçamento Participativo (Participatory Budget). This program has been implemented widely among municipalities in Portugal. Citizens' participation in project decisions is a recurring theme in the 1960s and 1970s, which reappears with a new configuration at the beginning of the XXI century. These days are marked by years of economic crisis and the universe of facilitated circulation of information in a wide network system accessed by a large number of citizens. However, some questions arise concerning the levels and scope of participation. Since a conventional project involves a certain level of involvement of decision-makers, architects and users (Carlo, 2010), two questions arise: how can we now achieve a higher level of participation and involvement of stakeholders (citizens, Architects, policymakers) in the project? How can we achieve areal bottom-up procedure, in which context problems find the best formal solution (Alexander, 1964), during a process implemented in most cases by groups of architects outside the community of citizens for whom they work? Starting from a reflection on SAAL, a housing program promoted by the Central Government in the post-revolution period of April 1974, research is carried out through the assessment of the participation level (Arnstein, 1969) of referred participated
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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