Community Engagement for Social Inclusion


Bairro da Ajuda

The Bairro da Ajuda Community Atlas is collecting memories, stories, ideas and the wishes from residents to envision the future of this neighbourhood - through participatory actions, the "Ideas for the Decade" Laboratories, a mentoring programme and other community hub activities. Ajuda is one of the 25 local municipalities/parishes that constitute the city of Lisbon, belonging to the Western Zone of the capital, with 2.88 km² of area and 15 617 inhabitants.

The territory of Ajuda is social, economic, cultural and demographically very heterogeneous. Geographically, the territory has a difficult configuration on a hill side, with streams and discontinuities, reinforced throughout time by urban desorganisation and many private ‘walls’: a palace and half a dozen military and police quarters, churches and military hospitals - Ajuda's circulation and mobility is difficult.

Ajuda confines with the 'posh' area of Restelo/Belem on one side and has three neighbourhoods classified by Lisbon's municipality as BIP - priority intervention. Two are social housing blocks with several social re-settlements - Casalinho and 2 de Maio - and the third, Rio Seco is an aged and urbanistically chaotic neighbourhood. Gentrification, pressed by real estate speculation and tourism is threatening the popular, low-income population and the relative demographic renovation of the last decade, as young people are no longer able to find a house here. Still, Ajuda has a ‘neighbourhood/bairro spiritâ’ and popular history, but was and still is a neighbourhood neglected by local and social policies. 4Change started intervention in Ajuda in 2014.