Friday, 18 May 2012

Ideas for Lisbon

While walking along Rua Augusta on Wednesday I saw a massive operation going on at MUDE, Portugal's Museum of Design and Fashion: a number of people atop cherry-pickers applying thousands of Post-Its to the building's large protruding sign. My first thought was, 'ah, those designers and their Post-Its', thinking of one of the industry's popular brain-storming tools. As it turns out, MUDE is working with Lisbon's city council on something of a very large-scale brainstorming exercise. Being officially opened on Wednesday of next week by the city's mayor, these Post-Its (55,000 in total) are in place for the people of Lisbon to contribute their ideas for the future of the city. Entitled 'Ideias para Lisboa/Ideas for Lisbon', this project aims to inspire active citizenship and more open communication with the city council, who are committing €2.5 million this year to the implementation of citizens' ideas.

Ideias para Lisboa gives the people of the city an opportunity to speak their mind on the place where they live and work, and the council who looks after it. They can do so in a prominent space in the city (MUDE is situated on one of Lisbon's busiest shopping streets, leading onto the iconic Praça do Comércio), so hopefully the location of the project encourages a strong and meaningful engagement from the public. And hopefully a strong engagement from the public in a very prominent place ensures the city council listens to that public, takes note of their ideas and Lisbon sees positive change in its services, spaces and more in the future. It's no coincidence that the location for Ideias para Lisboa is MUDE, the Museum of Design and Fashion set to celebrate its third anniversary: 'mude' is the Portuguese word for 'change'.