Matosinhos, where the past and the future intersect

Ana Resende

By Ana Resende, on May 9th, 2019

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With the neighbouring cities of Porto (PT) and Vila Nova de Gaia (PT), the city of Matosinhos (PT) is part of the Atlantic Front of Porto. The three municipalities have signed a “Letter of Commitment” as an inter-municipal tool for the implementation of the territorial policies’ strategy in key areas, based on an integrated approach.

The city

Some time ago, in the early 2 000’s, the municipality of Matosinhos carried out an urban reconversion process of its waterfront strip. It created a maritime urban front with an extensive footpath and several leisure facilities (nautical sports school, swimming pool, discotheque and restaurants).

Until recently, the city was seen as one of the largest fishing centres in Portugal, to which a powerful canning industry was associated, but this image has been changing. On the one hand, the activities related to fishery have declined and on the other hand, the new waterfront offered the city a touch of modernity.

Modernity also characterises the new cruise terminal of the Port of Leixões, inaugurated in 2015. The result of a dynamic territorial cooperation between the municipality and the entity responsible for the management of the Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo Ports (APDL) (PT), it improves the commercial efficiency of the port and the urban integration of its equipment in the city.

URBACT projects

The APDL and the local authority were partners of the CTUR network, between 2009 and 2011, within URBACT II. The aim of this project was to study the importance that port infrastructures can have in the development of cities, to help resolve tensions between port functions and other urban functions.

Matosinhos learned about the experiences of other European cities with regards to obstacles and opportunities that influence the sustainable development process within the context of port cities.

In the interim, the city continues to invest not only in the maritime-related economy, but also in new URBACT projects.

Thus, Matosinhos joined another transfer network: the BLUACT partnership, of which the city of Piraeus (EL) is the mentor. It supports start-ups and sustainable entrepreneurship in the cluster of the maritime economy.

The municipal executive, including the mayor of Matosinhos has great expectations for this new partnership.

Emblematic action

The new equipment of the Port of Leixões has changed the physiognomy of the city!

The new cruise terminal is the largest ever project to open the port to the city, transforming the Port of Leixões into a gate of entry into the region and definitively boosting the number of cruise and passenger ships in Leixões.

This building, with its unique architectural characteristics, combines its primary function of arrival (and departure) platform for thousands of visitors to the city and the region, with a noble aspect, since it’s home to the important CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research) research centre.

CIIMAR is a research and advanced training institution of the University of Porto. Its mission is to develop high-quality research, promote technological development and supporting public policies in the area of Marine and Environmental Sciences. The building is home to various laboratories and about two hundred researchers, who look out over the immensely impressive ocean.

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