Lisbon Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention Areas, Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention Areas, Lisbon, Portugal - ©City of Lisbon

Lisbon Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention Areas

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Main actors

Local Government, City Government, Community / Citizen Group, other

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Project area

Neighborhood or district

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Ongoing since 2009/01

This City of Lisbon strategy supports local projects and municipal partnerships that improve the social and territorial cohesion of deprived neighbourhoods.

The Lisbon Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention Areas (BIP/ZIP) provides the city with an integrated policy toolbox based on a co-governance process. It brings together a bottom-up participatory approach to promote social and territorial cohesion, active citizenship, self-organisation and community participation. Besides establishing local governance structures that facilitate communication and shared decision-making between the city administration and neighbourhood organisations, the strategy includes a funding programme for community partnership initiatives with a strong local impact that focus on employment, education and social cohesion.

Sustainable Development Goals

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

URBACT Good Practice Label

This project was awarded the 'URBACT Good Practice Label' in 2017.

Lisbon, Portugal

Size and population development
Lisbon’s municipal city limits contain an area measuring 39 square miles (100 square kilometres) and has a population of 545,000, its metropolitan area has approximately 2.8 million people. According to the most recent census, the rate of growth has decreased in recent years. Population density is higher within the municipal area with an average 14,100 residents per square mile (5,500 per square kilometer). Over the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, density diminishes to an average 8,200 people per square mile (3,200 per square kilometer).

Population composition
The largest group- people from Portugal- make up 90.70% of the city’s population. The largest minority groups in descending order are: Brazilians (2.75%), people from Cape Verde (0.82%) and Chinese (0.57%). Second and third generation migrants make up 9.30% of the city’s population. Lisbon has a dominant Roman Catholic base, it is estimated that anywhere from 60% to 70% of the population identify as Catholic.

Main functions
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal and one of the oldest towns in Europe. It lies on the Atlantic Ocean and River Tagus and is dominated by hills and valleys. The city is the political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal, hosting the country’s seat of government, largest port and only international airport.

Main industries / business
The major industries in Lisbon include: technology, media, tourism and hospitality, automotive, shipping, textile, footwear and leather.

Sources for city budget
National government and municipal taxation.

Political structure
The Lisbon City Council (“Câmara Municipal de Lisboa” - CML) is the executive body in the Lisbon Municipality. Its mission is to define and implement policies and to promote the development of the municipality. The CML is composed of 17 locally elected officials (1 President and 16 council members), who represent the different elected political forces.

Administrative structure
Lisbon is comprised of 24 civil parishes, neighbourhoods/barrios are not defined by their geographic boundaries and therefore have no administrative units. With regards to politics, the Lisbon City Council (“Câmara Municipal de Lisboa” - CML) is the executive body in the Lisbon Municipality. Its mission is to define and implement policies and to promote the development of the municipality in several sectors. The CML is composed of 17 locally elected officials (1 President and 16 council members), who represent the different elected political forces.

People from the municipality, citizens and other actors knew that Lisbon, as any city in the world, is not always in balance. There are fractures in the city due to social, urban or environmental issues. Therefore the main concept was to identify areas and neighbourhoods that were lacking the minimal levels of cohesion in terms of urban, social economic, and environmental condition and, lacking connection between the local citizens and the local authorities. The aim was to ignite partnerships to connect the city and the people in these areas to find answers for the future.

The Strategy  tackles urban challenges through a participatory diagnosis processes that identifies social and territorial needs in order to eradicate poverty, social exclusion, unemployment and environmental problems. The BIP/ZIP strategy empowers the community to develop an integrated intervention through a bottom-up co-governance model that assures sustainable actions in deprived territories.

The BIP/ZIP Strategy involved policies and programmes addressing social and territorial cohesion and sustainable living through a participatory framework involving the city, the community and stakeholders in the rollout of the strategy.

The first tool, BIP/ZIP Mapping, identifies the Priority Intervention Territories of the city, according to the overlapping of social, economic, urban and environmental deprivation indexes that express the fracture of the city.

The second tool, BIP/ZIP Program, funds and initiates local community projects aimed to respond to local needs, promoting local organisation partnerships and empowering the development of a sustainable urban population.

The third tool, GABIP local offices, developed a co-governance framework involving the municipality, local boroughs and all relevant stakeholders and community organisations. They promote an articulated response among the political, administrative and technical dimensions with local organisations and community.

The fourth tool, a Collaborative Platform for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD), is a bottom-up co-governance network that develops a global strategy to BIP/ZIP territories and promotes experience to enhance local partners’ skills.

Other evidence of the sustainability and horizontal integration is the recent creation in the Municipality of the new Local Development Department, which means the recognition of the local development in BIP/ZIP territories.

Another key factor to achieve a sustainable challenge is the inclusion of local communities and their stakeholders in all BIP/ZIP local development approach. This means that when the community is involved in all parts of the process (thinking, decision making, implementation, and monitoring of results), it multiplies the sustainability of the action.

This approach is sustained by meaningful actions, assuring that these initiatives promote change with real impacts in the community. This strategy is designed to accommodate the different capability and maturity levels of each community. It is action and results’ oriented, so it can be flexible and adaptable to different realities and experiences. This flexibility is the key to actions and partnerships sustainability.

The lead agency is Lisbon Municipality’s Body of Housing and Local Development.

Between 2011 and 2016, with a total fund of €9,207,754, a total of 232 projects were approved, gathering 532 entities that participated both in the execution and sustainability phases. These projects generated a total of 1,466 activities developed in BIP/ZIP territories, impacting an average of approximately 98,600 inhabitants each year.

  • Greater cooperation between decision makers and local stakeholders/partners
  • Greater incorporation of local participation as a model for integrated municipal response
  • A political consensus on the BIP/ZIP concept, methodology and results
  • The creation of a new municipal department fully dedicated to Local Development
  • More transparency and confidence in the public decision-making process
  • More confidence in the municipality
  • Increased interest in volunteering and active participation
  • Increased local partnerships/networks/cooperation to meet challenges
  • Increased local organisation capability to promote initiative/response/change
  • More efficient management of available resources (financial and non-financial);
  • A process of co-responsibility, with an extremely high level of appropriation and sense of belonging to the initiatives and results
  • A mutual process (local administration/community) of accountability of the results
  • A high rate of success measured through effectiveness and sustainability of the initiatives and actions

Cities have a common focus in promoting socio-territorial cohesion through a participatory local approach. This Strategy results in a effective, flexible and pragmatic tool to implement sustainable urban living that reinforces social cohesion. It is an empowerment tool that demonstrates territorial co-management through local initiative and participation, which means that it can be of great interest to other cities, regardless of their local context and experience.

- URBACT case study: an integrated toolbox for deprived neighbourhood, A local development strategy for neighbourhoods and areas of priority Intervention:


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URBACT Good Practice Label

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