Volumes 3&4 – 2011/12 – Tourism Issue (TR01)

A Expansão (Sub)Urbana no Porto Romântico – O Caso da Freguesia do Bonfim

Jorge Ricardo Pinto  1

1 ISCET – High Institute of Business and Tourism Sciences, Porto, Portugal

To cite this text:

Pinto, J. R. (2012), A Expansão (Sub)Urbana no Porto Romântico – O Caso da Freguesia do Bonfim, Percursos & Ideias, Vol. 3&4, pp. 3-20.

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From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, the liberal city of Porto witnessed the mass arrival of northern people fleeing the enormous problems of Portuguese rurality at the time, where hunger and poverty continued to rage out of control. In less than half a century, the census of 1864 and 1890 show that the city’s population has increased so much, that it was required to solve the huge housing problem. Due to the excess of labour supply and the inflation, wages were low and so the residential solution was the construction of islands: long rows with tiny houses without drinking water or cross-ventilation, built side by side at the back of the houses and grounds of the bourgeois. Designed in the first half of the nineteenth century they would be occupied in the second half of the century due to a turbulent start-century, cholera epidemics, French invasions and the Siege of Porto. Trying to escape epidemiological threats and, in an attempt to protect themselves from the undernourished population, imbued with “dangerous” socialist ideas, the wealthier took refugee in urban mansions built in the eighteenth century new routes of Almada origin, or in urbanisations constructed in the surroundings of the city or even in old farms in the centre that had escape urbanisation. At the time, transport revolution brought complexity to city’s internal structure, particularly through the implementation and extension of rail transport at different scales. The arrival of the train to Campanhã station, among other territorial impacts, allowed the migration population from Douro, Minho, Beiras and Galicia to Porto faster and easier. The development of the transport net metamorphosed the pre-industrial social mixture of the centre in a city with two defined faces: the city of production with factories, small industries and poor residential quarters and the city of consumption upper-class mansions and leisure facilities (such as parks, gardens and elegant beaches) exist. This paper aims to understand the (sub) urbanisation process of Porto, particularly in the parish of Bonfim, and the fundamental territorial patterns development. It will try to understand the causes and consequences of social residential segregation in the city (in Porto as in the major urban centres of the western world) and analyse the fluctuations in time and space of the city’s physical advances and retreats. The methodology used in this paper was based on three sources’ data survey: parish baptism records, plants and cartographic records of public building project, requirements and licenses of private building projects submitted to the City Hall of Porto.


Suburbanisation, 19th century, Social geography, Urban morphology, Porto citizens’ studies.