Lisbon After the Crisis: From Credit‐fuelled Suburbanization to Tourist‐driven Gentrification


This article examines Lisbon’s post‐crisis transition from a once dominant process of suburban expansion enabled by abundant credit to one of ongoing gentrification of its historic centre. In my research, I draw on quantitative and qualitative data to illustrate the remarkable growth of the metropolitan area’s population and dwelling stock until the global financial crisis—which affected the Portuguese economy in the course of a process of financialization that relied heavily on the housing industry—and the intensity of urban rehabilitation in subsequent years. However, there is evidence that the latter has not halted nor reduced the loss of long‐term residents in the historic centre, as tourists and other international gentrifiers occupy the upgraded dwelling stock amid an escalation of house prices and rents. The specific contribution of this research lies in the link that it establishes between Lisbon’s ongoing process of inner‐city gentrification and the lack of suburban expansion after 2007. By showing that the credit crunch triggered a shift in the geographic location of real‐estate capital that materialized in a new urban development model, this research adds an empirical layer to the study of the spatial effects of the crisis and contributes to the literature on the subsequent restructuring of southern European housing markets.