The right to the City

The struggle for survival of Cova da Moura


  • Danny Wildemeersch University of Leuven
  • Joana Pestana Lages University of Lisbon



Dissensus, learning communities, participatory planning, relational space, the right to the city


The case discusses the ongoing debate in the Greater Lisbon Area concerning the recognition of settlements that have been established during the previous decades by immigrants, mainly from former Portuguese colonies, in Lisbon and its surroundings. The case of Cova da Moura, one of these illegal settlements has a central place in the article. In that neighbourhood, a participatory experiment was put up, aimed at rearranging an open space for common use by the inhabitants. The result of the initiative was not as positive as expected. In this paper, the question whether the experiment was a failure or not, takes a central place. While looking for an answer, different theories are used as lenses for interpretation: the ‘right to the city’ discourse, the understanding of dissent and the framing of policy initiatives as learning processes.


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Author Biography

Danny Wildemeersch, University of Leuven

professor emeritus Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

KU Leuven - Belgium


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How to Cite

Wildemeersch, D., & Pestana Lages, J. (2018). The right to the City: The struggle for survival of Cova da Moura. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 9(2), 193–210.

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