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The Cycle of Life

Over half of all foodstuffs produced end up going to waste. The agricultural industry devours great quantities of energy, water, fertilisers and pesticides. Tropical forests get felled to make way whether for pasture lands or soya and palm oil industrial farming. Over a third of greenhouse gases may be traced to the agricultural sector and the global transport of foodstuffs. We know that the excessive consumption of meat and dairy products causes disease. Why do we continue buying from supermarkets the outputs of the industrial meat sector with its intensive animal husbandry practices, fattening them on genetically manipulated soya? Are …

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legumes do mercado municipal

You are what you eat.

The developments in the food business are absurd. Why do we buy German milk, German butter, German cheese and yoghurt, French carrots and potatoes at foreign discount shops like Lidl, Aldi, Jumbo & Co., and so many other foreign foodstuffs (including drinks) packed in plastic (made from oil), which are transported thousands of kilometres in planes and trucks throughout Europe and the world? The answer appears to be simple: because these foodstuffs are so cheap there. But is that really the case? On the one hand we want things to be cheap, on the other we want them to be …

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urbane restaurierung

New faces for urban spaces

Portugal, throughout all of its extent – rural, urban, inland, coastal – confronts the marks of its recent past. The option favouring property and construction (especially of residential properties) and the tertiary economic sector has left a deep legacy. One of the clearest and most serious involves the effective abandoning and subsequent degradation of a huge quantity of spaces and constructions. The cessation of many of the productive activities in the rural hinterland forced the total or effective disappearance of many communities. The uncontrolled and unplanned construction of new habitation in the major urban centres, and especially on their peripheries, …

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From pizzas to slow-travel

Case 1 From pizzas to slow-travel We wander the streets in which the traditional white of the facades throws back the light and the heat of a January day managing to conjure early spring. We pass a resident and various visiting international tourists, who without exception all greet us with a smile and a “Bom dia” almost as warm as the magnificent weather. We feel something genuine and find it difficult to believe how this village, less than a decade ago, lay in ruins and was down to seven inhabitants. Located in the council of Vila do Bispo, in the …

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A new ‘Old Town

Case 2 Funchal’s Old Town 28 years ago work began on restoring part of the 500 years of history of the first residential settlement in Funchal, a city symbolic of Portugal’s Era of Exploration. Throughout the previous decades, the city had expanded westwards, leaving behind to continued degradation part of its history: the Santa Maria neighbourhood. Or as it is otherwise known, the ‘Old Town’. Six years on from the discovery of Madeira (1419), the first settlements were established in the east of the bay thereby founding Funchal. The Santa Maria neighbourhood was chosen as the site for building the …

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casa das tecedeiras

Renovating the soul of stone

Case 3 Schist Village The architectural style termed vernacular makes recourse to materials and the surrounding territory’s resources as building construction materials with the resulting projects sustainable in nature, integrated into the natural landscape and demonstrating strong local or regional identities. In Portugal, one of the most notable examples are schist constructions. Despite this type of construction being found to a greater or lesser extent nationwide (with much of mainland Portugal rich in this rock), they are particularly to the fore in the Centro region, in the beirãs regions. Profoundly impacted by the migration of their populations to major urban …

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Fabrica de Alternativas

Building the alternative

Case 4 Factory for Alternatives The effects of restoring a building extend far beyond its physical facet. The project enables the recreation of social relationships, bringing life to abandoned or rundown spaces, generating wealth and dynamics, bringing beauty back to a landscape. And, in the case of the Factory for Alternatives, essentially raising awareness and teaching about different and alternative ways of community living. Located in the centre of Algés, in Lisbon, the Factory for Alternatives is a project under construction and in constant transformation and ongoing for just over three months. The initiative is backed by the Algés Popular …

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