Atlantic Cities Best Practices: Portuguese Cities

Atlantic Cities has identified several innovative Good Practices of Portuguese Cities in the context of Covid-19, in the scope of the ecoRIS3 project.

Within the EcoRIS3 project, the Atlantic Cities’ mission was to identify the Good Practices of its member cities facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The final objective was to share these Best Practices with the other partners of the project as well as with potential stakeholders.

Atlantic Cities, in its report “How cities outside the partnership adapted to Covid-19” (February 2022), presents the main good practices in terms of recovery of some of its member cities. This report can be found in the EcoRIS3 website library via this link. The article about this report can also be read in the EcoRIS3 newsletter here or on the EcoRIS3 website.

In this framework, Atlantic Cities presents in more detail the main good practices of the Portuguese cities of Viana do Castelo, Lisbon and Faro.

Image 1:  View over Viana do Castelo (Source: Arménio Belo / Viana do Castelo City Council)

Regarding the city of Viana do Castelo, since 2020, several economic measures have been implemented to combat COVID-19. The City Council has implemented a wide range of mitigation and incremental actions and measures for the various sectors of economic activity to boost activities and guarantee income for economic agents, employees, and families.

The most relevant initiative undertaken by the City Council was the creation of the portal “Work In Viana”. This platform was launched in 2022 and provides information about companies, job opportunities, as well as news and information about schools, courses and training in the city. It also provides data for the statistical analysis of employment success rates in the city.

The “Work in Viana” platform emerges from the strength which the digital transition has gained during the pandemic state, taking advantage of the technological resources to generate services closer to the citizens, therefore investing in its growth is vital for a digital and inclusive growth of Viana do Castelo.

Image 2:  Public presentation of the digital portal “Work in Viana” by the Mayor of Viana do Castelo City Council, in February 2022 (Source: Arménio Belo / Viana do Castelo City Council)

The City Council has also carried out a set of other actions and measures to mitigate and improve the health crisis, such as:

  • Extension and enlargement of the “+ Viana à Esplanada Programme to provide operating conditions and ensure the sustainability and economic viability of micro and small businesses in the catering, drinking, and pastry sectors.
  • Revitalization of the municipality historical center through free parking and close roads, making them pedestrian streets and allowing comercial business to have outside areas more useful, ensuring social distance.
  • Incentive Regulation for 2022: various tax reductions and exemptions in the econimc, habitation and social sectors.
  • Programe “Ativar Desporto” to encourage and support the spports clubs, the same happened in the cultural and social sector with the reinforcement of the municipal support program for this associations.

The measures adopted by the City Council to reduce pandemic crisis effects on the community persist due to constraints imposed by Portugal and Europe. The economical supports provided to the municipality families aim for the well-being and to ensure the economic sustainability and viability of the local businesses due to the critical period we are facing and the crisis that is foreseen.

The acceptance of the measure “+ Viana à Esplanada” has triggered a new set of infrastructures and resources that modify the shape of the public space and the way that the population interacts with the city taking more advantage of the open-air space.

This new paradigm has triggered a better use of the public space with the opening of new terraces and coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants, and also new horizons to the local business and interaction of the population with it.

For more information about the good practices of Viana do Castelo, please contact Mr Tiago Rego by e-mail at

Image 3:  View over Lisbon city centre (Source: Armindo Ribeiro / Lisbon City Council)

Concerning the city of Lisbon, the City Council has carried out several exceptional economic and social measures, since 2020, to be able to respond on time to the coronavirus crisis.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the City Council, in partnership with Zask, launched the portal “Mercado Made of Lisboa” to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the municipality. The pandemic has forced companies to adapt to the new reality and face current challenges like digital transformation or realigning business models, among many other subjects.

The “Mercado Made of Lisboa” initiative had the mission to connect companies looking for such solutions and startups capable of answering them and finding new sources of business. This portal was suspended and limited to the pandemic’s acute and initial period.

The City Council also promoted the “Lisboa Empreende +” (LE+) programme to support the entrepreneurial fabric of the city of Lisbon and support the emergence of new businesses.

The LE+ offers, free of charge, together with a wide group of partners, specialised support to help companies to reinforce internal competencies at the management level (e.g. staff resources, digitalisation, communication, marketing, operational areas, etc.) to get through the current crisis and start preparing the economic recovery in the post-COVID19 period. More information from the LE+ programme is available here.

For additional information on Lisbon City’s good practices, please contact Ms Vanda Dinis by e-mail at

Image 4:  Historic city centre of Faro (Source: Faro City Council)

Regarding the city of Faro, since 2020, the City Council has also created a set of exceptional support measures to be able to respond on time to the various requests from local and national authorities and to contain the economic and social damage that the crisis imposed on the municipality, its families, companies, and associative movement.

The key measures implemented by the City Council were:

  • Initiative “Algarve + digital“, acceleration of the implementation of online procedures to obtain licenses
  • Initiative “Simplex 2“, acceleration of the implementation of dematerialization of administrative procedures in general
  • Implementation of the Wi-fi network in the entire Historic Centre of Faro
  • Creation of a municipal regulation to support private renting, seeking to minimize the effects of the crisis on the economy of families with fewer resources
  • Municipal Regulation on Support for the Rehabilitation/Beneficiation of the Degraded Housing of Disadvantaged Social Strata
  • Reinforcement of the municipal support program for associations
  • Various tax reductions and exemptions
  • Among other measures to stimulate the economy

For information about best practices in Faro, please contact Ms Cristina Viegas by e-mail at

Image 5: Municipal Museum of Faro (Source: Faro City Council)

In conclusion, Atlantic Cities found that the Portuguese cities of Viana do Castelo, Lisbon and Faro are exceptional examples of mitigation and adaptation to the global health and economic crisis. These cities are success cases in terms of adaptation of the Atlantic Arc Cities to Covid-19. Indeed, these cities have undoubtedly worked to become more pleasant, safer, greener, and more resilient.

For further information on Atlantic Cities’ best practices, you can also contact the Atlantic Cities team by e-mail at