Aiming to stimulate the economy and to revitalise commerce, Baixa and Quarteirão de Bombarda are being transformed in “Digital Commerce Neighbourhoods”. An investment of 3.3 million euros (1.9 million came from the Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência (PRR)) will be executed until the end of 2025 and focuses on digital transition, urbanism, and the economy. On Wednesday, the minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs visited stores and neighbourhoods that reflect the investment and activities that have already been made while also learning about the Municipality of Porto’s future projects for this two areas.
António Costa Silva walked through the streets of Baixa with the vice-mayor of Porto City Hall and councillor for Innovation and Digital Transition, Filipe Araújo, the councillor for Finances, Economic Activities and Inspection, Economy, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Ricardo Valente, the councillor for Urban Planning and Public Space, Pedro Baganha, and the councillor for Tourism and Internationalisation, Catarina Santos Cunha. Together, they showed, in loco, the continuous work that has been made, with municipal investment, to create digital tools that serve the city in the renewal of the public space and professional training for local businesspeople.
The “Digital Commerce Neighbourhoods” project intends to value street trading, helping merchants managing their businesses with resources for efficient methods, raising visibility for their products and services and reaching more clients. For the consumer, it focuses on offering more commodity and agility, as well as access to combined information about the neighbourhood’s offers.
In total, the approved 77.5 million euros will allow to stimulate 95 neighbourhoods and 25 thousand commercial establishments all over the country. Note that the North region has the highest amount of approved funding (24.9 million euros).
Digital transition at the service of economic stimulation
In Porto, Baixa Digital promotes the regeneration of the corporate ecosystem and digital transition, as well as revitalising the public space and prosecution of carbon neutrality. During the minister of Economy’s visit, that also saw the intervention being done on Rua de Alexandre Braga, Pedro Baganha and Filipe Araújo explained the Municipality’s plans to reinvent Rua 31 de Janeiro, that will consist of using the public space to create stopping points in detriment to parking areas and the promotion of a digital gallery, in partnership with Maus Hábitos to bring culture to that area.
With a global investment superior to 1.8 million euros (1.1 million come from PPR), Baixa Digital, alongside the campaigns in progress, such as “Shop in Porto” or training for merchants, will have technology and other features, in service of promoting and using green energy and a dynamic management of resources. The project, implemented by Porto Digital, includes creating a “Neighbourhood Manager”, who will be responsible of ensuring the execution of these campaigns, supporting merchants, and monitoring collected data.
A manager for Bombarda Digital will also be elected. In this area, the investment circles around 1.4 million euros (more than 876 million eligible by PPR) and the plans are to act on the commercial axis, promoting digital transition, but also in the neighbourhood’s identity, promoting its comfort through intelligent navigation, urban furnishing or smooth mobility.
To this axis, the projection of Bombarda as an “Impactful Neighbourhood” through the innovation and internationalisation of an avant-garde, artistic and cultural area. Lastly, an integrated management of this “Intelligent Neighbourhood”, with an analysis of traffic, of the effects of seasonality or the impact of events. This is an investment to communicate an identity, to create a platform for electronic trade, with the help of augmented reality in digital kiosks or with doting the neighbourhood with new generation optical fibre.
Digital transition ensures the future of cities and local economy
António Costa Silva’s and the secretaries of State for Tourism, Commerce and Services, Nuno Fazenda, and of Planning, Eduardo Pinheiro, followed the opening ceremony of “Digital Commerce Neighbourhoods”, in Palácio da Bolsa. During the opening session, the mayor of Porto City Hall, challenged the country to “aim for a true digital transition, which implies a profound altering of processes, skills, and business models for companies”.
Confident that “digital transition is an opportunity for companies to boost their productivity and competitiveness”, Rui Moreira highlights that “the future of our villages and cities is conditioned by the ability of local companies to incorporate technology in their operations and strategies”.
Regarding the projects approved in Porto, the politician confirms he is “certain that we can contribute to boost local economy while simultaneously promoting the adoption of more intelligent, sustainable and inclusive urban development models”.
With the model for “Digital Commerce Neighbourhoods”, the mayor of Porto City Hall believes that “it is possible to gather resources and solutions to digitally leverage local economic activities, while promoting territorial cohesion and quality of life”.
In turn, the minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs considers this “can be a transformative investment” since, he highlights, “digitalisation is one of the biggest leverage tools in economy worldwide”. “The digital space multiplies the economy”, António Costa ensures, adding that this yearned for transformation “starts with the transformation of the mind”.