"A real urban revolution". This is how the mayor of Porto today defined, at the City Hall, the Campanhã Urbanization Plan. In the presence of the Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, who today had his first public official appearance after taking office, and Joan Busquets, renowned Catalan architect responsible for the project, Rui Moreira acknowledged that the High-speed Railway project associated to the plan will create a deep transformation in the eastern part of the city.
“[The Campanhã Urbanization Plan] will, in fact, result in a deep transformation of the urban space by developing a new hub in the eastern area of Porto,” said the mayor, declaring that “the land surrounding Campanhã Station will be unrecognizable in the medium and long term due to the broad urban intervention spurred on by the High-speed railway line.”
“Despite the social and territorial cohesion issues, Campanhã is the civil parish with the most development potential in the city of Porto,” he added. Therefore, this project will eliminate physical barriers to mobility, improve accessibility, and establish links between green areas. “[Campanhã] will become more attractive for public and private investment in housing, commerce, services, and start-ups, cultural initiatives, or environmental projects,” the mayor of Porto acknowledged.
Masterplan defines strategic lines
Rui Moreira, who, in addition to the Minister of Infrastructure, was also accompanied by the councilor for Urbanism and Public Space, Pedro Baganha, and the Vice President of Infraestruturas de Portugal, Carlos Fernandes, recalled that a masterplan was developed in 2018 that defines the Municipality's strategic lines of action in the eastern area of the city.
“We have a comprehensive, multifaceted municipal intervention programme underway in Campanhã that has a strong social component. Mobility, housing, education, health, culture, sport, and the environment are some of the areas covered by this programme, "said Rui Moreira to the councilors of the municipal administration, the president of the Municipal Assembly, and other guests, specifically the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Frederico Francisco, representatives of Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), STCP, among others.
In the municipal intervention, it is important to refer to the conclusion of the intermodal terminal, the requalification of schools and sports equipment, the improvement of municipal neighbourhoods, the increase of the cultural offer, and the expansion of the Oriental Park. The aim is also to build a PSP police station and a health centre, without forgetting, as the mayor of Porto reminded those present, "the ambitious project for the previous Industrial Slaughterhouse, with areas ranging from business incubation to artistic creation.".
One must also remember the construction of the D. António Francisco dos Santos Bridge, which will connect Oliveira do Douro, on the Gaia side, to Campanhã, on the Porto side. "As I have already mentioned, it will be necessary to coordinate the new crossing with the High-speed Railway project so as to safeguard the interests of the city and Campanhã," said the mayor.
“Municipal intervention is much more than urban requalification, being, above all, an operation that promotes the intersection and synergies between different areas pivotal to the quality of urban life,” said Rui Moreira, adding: “In short, Campanhã is a land of the future. It won't be on the sidelines of the rest of the city anymore. And the railway line, which crosses the civil parish, will stop being a barrier to become a horizon of change. A new Porto is being born in the East.”.
“Let's create a city around Campanhã Station”
In his first public official appearance as Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba pledged that "a city will be created around Campanhã Station". “On both sides of the railway line, a new hub with different uses and services, far beyond the mere transport interface,” he said.
Therefore, said João Galamba, "the Campanhã Station will be intermodal, highly functional, and comfortable for those who go there", ensuring, at the same time, that "the High-speed Railway project, whose completion will allow for the requalification of the Campanhã area, will be the largest railway transformation in Portugal in the last century".
The new Minister of Infrastructure stressed that the investment in the railway will continue "without any hesitation or change of course", corroborating the mayor of Porto's opinion, that the high-speed railway project is, "in itself, a real revolution".
“More and better infrastructure results in greater social cohesion, a better quality of life for populations, increased commerce, and greater socioeconomic development in the country,” concluded João Galamba.
“First minute” of the plan
For the councilor of Urbanism and Public Space, this was "the first minute" of the Campanhã Urbanization Plan. "It is time to turn the page; the development paradigm of this land has changed with a new vision for the future of this area," said Pedro Baganha, adding that the plan will create a "’small Municipal Master Plan for the Bonfim and Campanhã areas".
“We are talking about turning a problem area of the city into a city of opportunities,” he added.
The vice-president of Infraestruturas de Portugal, Carlos Fernandes, commented on the high-speed railway guidelines, a project presented at a public ceremony at Campanhã Station in September last year. The new Porto-Lisbon high-speed railway line, which aims to connect the country’s two main cities in just one hour and 15 minutes in a non-stop direct service, will be built in three phases, with double track and Iberian gauge.
“Campanhã Station will become one of the main railway hubs in the country, if not the main railway hub in the country,” revealed Carlos Fernandes, adding: “That is, 200 stations will be connected to Campanhã by direct train services, either to the south, north, Portugal, or Spain.”
Joan Busquets was responsible for presenting the guidelines of the Campanhã Urbanization Plan. For the Catalan architect, it is a challenge for the whole city: “This belief that there is a powerful notion of using public transport and creating hubs, as you already have here in Porto, is essential.” “Campanhã will be a place that will have many well implemented mobilities. It will be a hub that will work with other kinds of advantages, in a kind of hybrid ring. ” he concluded.