Lisbon unrecognisable from Expo98

 In News

The former commissioner of Expo98 – the last world fair of the 20th century – António Mega Ferreira said that Expo98 was the beginning of a process in which Lisbon changed dramatically within 20 years.

Addressing business leaders at a luncheon organised by the International Club of Portugal (ICPT), he said that the world fair was responsible for regenerating the whole of East Lisbon and injecting new life into rundown neighbourhoods such as Marvila, Xabregas and Beato (now a major start-up hub).

“It injected new life into the surrounding areas and those who came to Lisbon before Expo98 and return now would see the capital completely changed and would not recognise it,” he said.

Mega Ferreira said that the change occurred before the tourism boom and added that the world fair which created a new area of Lisbon with shops, offices, restaurants, cafés, bars, gardens, a shopping centre, station and metro station as well as amenities including an arena and casino and “created a notion of public space” which was replicated all over the country.

“People liked what they saw and wanted to copy the idea,” he said, adding, “nothing gives one greater pleasure than to create something new.”