PER (Programas especiais de rehabilitação)

The fail of the SAAL initiatives heralded an era of rampant real estate speculation and absence of social housing programs from the governmental side. Only in the 90s’ the government started to take action, aiming to eradicate all slums from the surface of Lisbon and Porto and beautify the cities. “Lisboa Capital de Cultura 1994” and “Exposiçao mundial 1998” have accelerated the aspirations of eradicating all slums from the urban surface of Lisbon.  At the one hand the PER was a way to eliminate the deficiencies of living of those that were living in ramshackle huts. On the other hand PER was a way to clean the cities at a time where the numbers of existing ramshackle huts in the metropolitan eras of Lisbon and Porto was estimated to lie between 16 and 20 thousand. (Also check the master thesis of Ana Rita Lopes to know more about the PER social rehousing programs) The rapid conduct of the rehousing has neglected the importance of collective equipments and public places that promote leisure and well being.  The conduct of the rehousing program resembles an “architectural megalomania” that has aimed to accommodate as many families as possible, in order to hide and reduce urban backwardness of housing condition and the social consequences triggered by poverty. However the “monofunctional use” ((Guerra, 1994; Pinto, 1994 in Augusto, 2000:3) of the new social neighborhoods has finally lead to the segregation and sometimes even aggravated social exclusion of those habitants. Nowadays the housing blocks of the USER territory  are a spatially concentrated area whose appearance is dominated by architectural monotony and the absence of aesthetic features. The USER territory is a “space produit”(Lefebvre), that has lost every kind of style with which people could identify. Hence the past still constitutes a major identification factor for the people from curraleira and their descendants. (Check the radio program recorded by Clube about antiga curraleira.)