The city of Lisbon, located in the central zone of Portugal, with 958 km2 of the area and with about 2 666 000 inhabitants, defines, therefore, one of the most urbanized centres of the country. As most of all Portuguese coast, is rich by its approach to the sea, however, the evolution of industrialization has brought a port scenario throughout its marginal, making it impossible for the “users” of the city to use the shore. Thereafter, the municipality promoted its requalification and regeneration, investing until nowadays in its riverside area, many of these projects are now in execution for the central and historical zone of the city.
One of the most ambitious and pioneering plans in the city of Lisbon appeared in the late 1990s as an opportunity to re-plan the riverfront. The project for World Exposition in Lisbon was the first and most recognized Portuguese experience of integrated urban space management.
The opportunity to create this project began with the application of Lisbon for the organization of the last World Exhibition of the 20th century, to EXPO ’98. After taking the decision to move forward with the project, the intervention site was defined in the eastern zone of Lisbon, a place with privileged contact with the river. The old Olivais Docks, a zone transformed over the years into a very degraded industrial land, an area that was increasing degradation. The area of 50 hectares where today is the site was, at the end of the eighties, a field of containers, slaughterhouses and polluting industries. The intervention made possible the regeneration of this huge territorial area, depleted and with little accessibility, transformed into an urban nucleus, now called Nations Park, which defines an integrated approach to urban space design.
Completely built from scratch, the Expo revolutionized this part of the city and influenced the strategies of urban requalification of the Portuguese scenery. It can be said that Parque das Nações is an example of a successful requalification of an urban space. The EXPO’98 attracted about 11 million visitors to the Portuguese capital. Part of its success was due to the cultural, architectural and urban vitality and to the implementation of urban infrastructures of urban service, technologically advanced and innovative at the time, that became inseparable from the project of public space and the quality of the urban environment. At the same time, large public works were built in Lisbon, among them the Vasco da Gama Bridge, a new metro line and a rail-road interface, Gare do Oriente.