Lisbon Symposium on Waterfront Developments

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C.E.U. organised a symposium on sustainable development for waterfronts in Lisbon in December 2007. The event was a collaboration with Gonçalo Cornelio da Silva of C.E.U. Portugal in partnership with the Academy of Urbanism.

A Sustainable Urbanism for Waterfront Developments

Waterfront developments have come to European attention not only through excessively eccentric marinas and holiday resorts, but painfully through recent flooding disasters in the UK, Germany and Eastern Europe, as well as the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Both contemporary climate change issues and the pressing need for affordable and sustainable housing challenge destructive development patterns from the post-war period. Waterfront locations are among the most fragile and sensitive, as well as the most complex, vital and spectacular opportunities for a sustainable contemporary urbanism and require new approaches to planning and governance.

There are many missed opportunities in former industrial waterfront regeneration, seaside developments, and riverfront projects, as well as too many inappropriately designed urban projects on flood plains and river basin which need to be addressed in the context of sustainable contemporary European urbanism for waterfront development. Very often the natural and urban resources of riverfronts, lakefronts and seasides remain either unused or enjoyed by a privileged few.

Wakefield Waterfront waiting for Development

Waterfronts in splendid inner city locations are often undeveloped and derelict even when there is an urgent need for new or regenerated urban space for a fine grained mix of housing, retail and other land uses.

Peripheral sprawl, heavy-handed mega-structures and high-rise object buildings are often the consequence of, or a pretext for, a poorly thought through development approach. Most cities still have many regeneration opportunities in walkable locations, among them important waterfront sites.

Lisbon is a particularly fascinating example of urban construction and reconstruction, with a spectacular riverfront and one of the world’s most beautiful squares on the Tage, the Praca do Comercio, which is the historic gate to the city for those arriving by boat.

A number of banal and vulgar riverfront development projects threaten the integrity and identity of Lisbon’s riverfront and invite a more thorough reflection at European level on the future of European cities’ waterfront developments.

The symposium will address the urgent issues raised by the Lisbon waterfront projects in the context of the C.E.U. Charter. We will debate a wide range of strategies for developing waterfronts drawing on examples of notable European projects. After a morning of expert presentations and discussion with participants, the afternoon will comprise themed workshops in which participants will have an opportunity to explore the issues raised in depth. We will close the formal sessions with a short plenary to feed back the ideas from the workshops, as a basis for constructing a Declaration on Waterfront Developments according to the principles of the C.E.U. Charter. Participants are then invited to join the C.E.U. Board and the Academy of Urbanism for a drinks reception.


Friday December 7th


08h30-09h00: Registration
09h00-09h10: Introduction – CEU Chair Susan Parham
09h10-09h30: Official welcome – Representative from Lisbon City Hall
09h30-10h00: Dutch Waterfront Projects -Cristoph Kohl
10h00-10h30: Waterfront Projects in Sweden – Kjell Forshed
10h30-11h00: Plenary Discussion

11h00-11h30: Coffee Break

11h30-11h50: Pantelleria Waterfront Development, by Samir Younes
11h50-12h10: Waterfront in the UK – Robert Adam
12h10-12h30: Lisbon Riverfront – Goncalo Cornelio da Silva
12h30-13h00: Plenary Discussion

13h00-14h30: Lunch Break


14h30-14h45: City X-rays… Space, Place, Life – John Thompson
14h45-15h00: Introducing the Workshops – John Thompson/Susan Parham
15h00-16h30: Thematic Workshop Groups – Facilitated in depth discussion of waterfront development themes

16h30-17h00: Coffee Break

17h00-18h00: Plenary Session – Workshop Feedback & Towards a Lisbon Declaration on Waterfronts
18h00-19h30: Drinks Reception



Registration is closed.


CEU has arranged a special deal with Hotel Tivoli Lisboa, centrally located on Avenida da Libertade. Goncalo Cornelio da Silva, the CEU logistic contact in Lisbon, will provide the hotel contact details and conditions.

Further information

Susan Parham, Communications Director
Council for European Urbanism – United Kingdom
Email: ku.oc.tlusnocgacnull@ps
Gonçalo Cornélio da Silva
Council for European Urbanism – Portugal
Email: moc.liamtohnull@avlisadoilenrocg

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