Lisbon : City administration and citizens working together to improve life in sensible urban areas

Several years ago, the City of Lisbon launched the BIP/ZIP strategy, aiming to promote social and territorial cohesion, active citizenship, self-organisation and community participation.

The starting point for developing this strategy was the acknowledgement that Lisbon, as most cities and towns in the world, was suffering from fractures due to social, urban or environmental issues. The municipality started with identifying the city’s neigbourhoods that were lacking the “minimum level of cohesion” and were suffering from a lack of communication between citizens and the local authorities.

The idea was to create partnerships between the community and the city administration to “find answers for the future”. The objective? Improving quality of life and social cohesion in Lisbon by supporting local projects and creating direct links between the issues faced by the inhabitants and local decision-makers.

A BIP/ZIP urban gardening project…

Practically, the BIP/ZIP strategy has been establishing governance structures that facilitate communication and joint decision making between the municipality and citizens, but has also been offering a financing programme for “community partnerhip projects with a high local impact”. Many projects were born from this strategy, such as intergenerational activities, a cooperation between the community and designers to recycle waste materials and produce refurbished design pieces, or a mobile caravan offering Internet, a library and administration services. Cultural centres were created thanks to the programme, offering cultural, educational and health services to the community.

“The most important dimension of BIP/ZIP is the confidence and shared responsibility between the municipality and the community. We have a direct communication link, we are sitting at the same table working together, and this creates special relationships.*”

*Excerpt from an interview with Miguel Brito, Lisbon municipality. Source:
Lisbon’s Energy Agency (Lisboa e-nova) has been a member of Energy Cities since 2016. Discover our members’ best practices in our cities’ actions database!

© photos Luca Galuzzi, Bip:Zip


Publication date

September 26, 2017