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Locals Approach Association (LOCALS) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote Local Development actions based on Participatory Projects in Lisbon.

Locals Approach Association.png

General introduction

The LOCALS Association is a multidisciplinary group that promotes sustainable territorial, environmental, landscape, cultural and socio-economic development - through the implementation of locally based ideas for the qualification, dynamism and valorization of people and the territory in its multiple dimensions and scales. The LOCALS association's mission is based on three pillars of intervention.

  • Transformation (Regeneration)

Thinking globally in a vision of sustainable development of the natural environment, society and the individual, is the foundation for local action, which aims to minimize problems and improve contexts on the macro or micro scale.

  • Knowledge (Information)

It is based on reciprocal learning that it is intended to empower people, qualify territories and enrich processes. Knowing local practices and exchanging network experiences with other national and international groups, debating ideas, monitoring and recording initiatives, are actions and intentions in which sharing is the common spirit.

  • Participation (integration)

By establishing close relationships, integrating and involving stakeholders in the processes through the design of Participation, the association intends to add value, strengthen, value and dynamize the places and contexts in which it intervenes.

Main insights on/for sustainable just cities


Positioned between an old palace, the cities green lung Monsanto park and part of the cities university complex with fantastic views of the river Tejo, the “Bairro 2 de Maio” (B2M) community should be a much desired neighbourhood to live in, it’s not. When the “Carnation Revolution” happened in 1974, the still unfinished housing blocks earmarked for workers of the dictatorship were occupied by poor families from Ajuda, a parish in Lisbon, and its environs on the 2nd of May. Subsequently it was very disconnected from its surroundings.

Project development

In 2011 students from the neighbouring architecture school led a project to improve conditions for residents and develop relationships with the Ajuda neighbourhood. BipZip funding led to the setting up the LOCALS project by Gonçalo Folgado[1], which led to the renovation of an abandoned space to create the Casa Para Todos (house for everyone), the setting up of the Feira do Gallo (Roosters fair) local neighbourhood festival in 2016 and the Muita Fruta (Much fruit) project to create an orchard city, by using all the unused fruit from city trees. In 2016 the Ajuda group set up the Forum Urbano (Urban Forum)(https://forumurbano.pt/) to map and archive all the municipal BipZip[2] [3] projects from 2011 to 2016.

Other groups have formed from LOCALS, to support the local community of B2M, including Amigos do B2M (Friends of B2M), which developed many projects including self-run community gardens. In February 2020 with an academic / activist project Incubadora Popular D'Ajuda (Popular Incubator of Ajuda), fruit trees were planted in the somewhat abandoned green areas that divide blocks. The community has its social problems, but deep democracy sees citizens make decisions about what they desire in their territory. January 2020’s spatial implementation vote followed much debate concerning if and how police were to be welcomed back into the community. This led to more planting of fruit trees, badly needed maintenance work happening on buildings and public space in the housing area. The project is being supported by the Lisbon City Council (CML).

Amigos do B2M (Friends of B2M)

The Associação Amigos do B2M - Bairro Alto da Ajuda (AB2M) is a non-profit association, officially born on April 12, 2017, that works in the heart of the "2 de Maio" neighbourhod (B2M), since May 2016, with the most vulnerable children and youth from there. Initially, informal support was provided through CML's bip-zip programs, but after the end of the last project, a group of friends continued to support the children's and youth of B2M, only with donations received from friends of the cause, who in common they share the same desire: to improve the future quality of social and economic life of the younger and more fragile generations in the neighbourhood.

The Association's activity is aimed at children and young people in Bairro 2 de Maio, aged between 6 and 18 years old. They guarantee the reception, between 5pm and 7 pm, from Monday to Friday, reaching approximately 35 young people and children daily.

They have filled the void that the educational system presents to different children and young people. When AB2M say different, they refer to social differences. The group of children and adolescents who frequent their activities come from families with low levels of education and, consequently, low incomes, which prevent them from providing extracurricular activities to their children.

Casa Para Todos (house for everyone)

Infos coming soon

Feira do Gallo (Roosters fair)

Feira do Galo – Projecto D´Ajuda.jpg

The Feira do Gallo (Roosters fair) began in 2016, untill it was disrupted by COVID in 2020.

The D’Ajuda Project held the first edition of Feira do Galo on 6 and 7 May 2016. This fair's main objective was the promotion of local economic, artistic and gastronomic activities, thus valuing the intangible heritage of d'Ajuda and consequently its people. This appreciation was boosted by thematic exhibitions, roundtable discussions, performances by informal groups from the parish and invited artists, mural paintings and by the presentation of the socio-territorial brand D'Ajuda, as well as some services provided by residents and informal groups, that could act as catalysts for substantial improvements at both parish and city scales. In this way, the Fair attempted to include the presence of several exhibitors representing the commercial fabric, the parish, as well as local and regional institutions alongside a varied entertainment program that includes musical shows, the opportunity for the passerby to participate in activities already promoted by the local actors, the possibility of expressing ideas for the parish in a physical medium, live interviews with personalities, tours with local guides passing through iconic areas of Ajuda and also moments of relaxation and conviviality among all.

This fair's main objectives:

  • 1-Raising awareness of the theme of Local Development
  • 2-Valorization of the resources of the Freguesia da Ajuda
  • 3-Launch of Services promoted by residents and informal groups

Forum Urbano (Urban Forum)

Promoted by Locals Approach in partnership with FA-UL and UAL, the Urban Forum consists of the creation of a digital platform, an itinerant exhibition, moments of joint discussion, workshops, which in the end hopes to generate a local development kit.

Incubadora Popular D'Ajuda (Popular Incubator of Ajuda)

Promoted by the Associação Amigos do B2M, Junta de Freguesia da Ajuda (civil parish, local neighbourhood government) and 4Change, they aim to facilitate the necessary tools for the creation of civic and / or economic initiatives in Bairro Alto da Ajuda.

Suggested key readings & links



Forum Urbano

Popular Incubator of Ajuda

Link to other Wiki-pages

Further reading


Video Reports

Social Media Reports


  1. Gonçalo Folgado: Empowering communities with participation. (Video by: TED talk at Lisbon University “TEDxULisboa”, June 2020, in English, from 30.26, in English) Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-3AYo8bBXA&t=1826s
  2. URBACT: BIP/ZIP – Promoting partnerships in sensitive urban areas | Interview. May 2019. Available at: https://urbact.eu/bipzip-%E2%80%93-promoting-partnerships-sensitive-urban-areas-interview
  3. Cooperative City Magazine: BIP/ZIP – Promoting partnerships in sensitive urban areas. Interview with Miguel Brito, Municipality of Lisbon. January 2017. Available at: https://cooperativecity.org/2017/05/07/bipzip/