Espinho It is located in the North Coast Region, just 15 km south of Porto, the second city of Portugal. Integrated in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, and formed by about 21 km 2 and its population around the 31,000 inhabitants. The composition by age at county level is: 13.7% of young people up to 14 years of age; 75.7% of adults (15-64 years) and 20.5% of elderly people, figures showing an aging population. The unemployment rate is about at 18.4% in 2016.
It is endowed with excellent accessibility, either by road (Espinho is very close to the Porto-Lisbon highways), or by rail (the city is crossed by the Northern Line, main line of the Country and the Vouga Line), which make the city attractive to families, businesses and for activities linked to tourism.
Today it is a modern city, where the tertiary sector occupies an important role in the municipality’s economy, whose natural characteristics (mild climate and existence of natural attractions (beach, landscape) and cultural (heritage and events) associated with the proximity of the airport of Sá Carneiro, are responsible for attracting many domestic and foreign visitors throughout the year.
Project area description / The project area that is the object of this project, is located in the southern part of the city and is called Orla Litoral Sul de Espinho (Revision of the Espinho Municipal Master Plan).
The analysis area that is the object of this project, is located in the southern part of the city and is called Orla Litoral Sul de Espinho (Revision of the Espinho Municipal Master Plan). It includes the whole territory to the south of the Piscatory Quarter, from the sea, to the west, to the Northern Railway Line, the spring. It is an area of high natural value and landscape, based on several equipment, namely military, with emphasis on a military installation of the Portuguese army, the Regiment of Engineering nº3, (RE3) that has been reducing its operation) a Abandoned Field of Shot, two abandoned military houses), but also sports, like a Golf Course, an Aerodrome. It also includes an urban settlement – “Praia de Paramos”, a lagoon – “Lagoa de Paramos”, the former building of the Aeroclube and the Train Line. In addition to these military equipments, the Barracks of Formal has been deactivated since 1977.
It is an area with innumerable easements and restrictions of public utility, whose territorial management belongs to several entities and, therefore, its revitalization should constitute an integrated process and participated. For the area is proposed the creation of the “Atlantic Park”, however the perception of the different stakeholders in the area is that there is an immense tourist potential to be exploited capable of boosting the local economy.
Project area challenge / During the work of the URBACT Local Group (ULG) meetings the main challenges were identified, listed and discussed in order to build a baseline from where possible solutions could be devised as follows:
Rehabilitation of abandoned military buildings: the area has several abandoned military facilities that need renovation projects; a partial solution will not work, and renovating one while leaving other in the current state of ruin will mined any possibility of a good ROI. Therefore it is crucial that all renovation projects run in parallel in order to create a ‘new face’ for the area all at once and this way improve the attractiveness of the area. A single renovation project will not work and will condemn any future prospects for investors in the area.
Rehabilitation of other abandoned buildings: there are other abandoned buildings in the area that will be integrated in action plan as they present good opportunities to create a complementary offer and structures that will support and valorise the area. This is case of the former restaurant of the aero club build in 1959 and later renovated in 1973 as a small hotel which has been abandoned after a fire that destroy the place in 1983. The place is in ruins since then.
Access to “Praia de Paramos” village: the access road crosses the airfield; some years ago there was an accident involving an air plane and car that was crossing the airfield at the time leading to a restriction on the use of the airfield by forbidden planes to use part of the track, limiting the size of planes that can land here.
Social inclusion of “Praia de Paramos” village: this community is waiting for a solution to keep their houses as the effects of coastal erosion puts them in danger; with a population with low income and qualifications, lacking the resources and knowledge to look for a solution, it is important to fight social exclusion and integrate the population on the future solution for the area that meets their expectations, i.e., keep their houses and take advantage of the economic development envisaged for the area.
Valorisation and Conservation of the Natural Ecosystem: The area is integrated in a protected natural landscape. Some structures are located in sensible areas as dunes which play an important role in preventing coastal erosion. Moreover the area is crossed by the “Rio Maior” river which is sometimes polluted by illegal discharges of industrial effluents endangering native fauna and flora. This will affect in particular the valorisation of the environmental assets of the area for touristic or leisure purposes.
Limited Operation of the Airfield: the pavement of the air strip and supporting facilities are in poor condition and need to be renovated but the Aero Club of Espinho, which is currently managing the infra-structure has not the resources to promote this renovation. Therefore the operational capacity of the airfield runaway is now very limited, requiring expansion of its size from the current operational 400m to 1400m in order to have capacity for bigger planes and other type of activities a new pavement to become economically viable.
Project area location