Cascais – Portugal’s new smart city

 In City

Since taking the helm at Cascais Council in 2011, Mayor Carlos Carreiras has adopted a forward-looking approach to developing and managing Portugal’s famous Cascais and Estoril Riviera. The plan? Attracting young people into the borough who will drive the region’s smart city of the future

The new urban class
On taking office, one of the first things that Cascais mayor Carlos ­Carreiras did was form a team of young professionals and give them a challenge: “What do other councils in other countries do that we don’t? What do we do well, what don’t we do well, and what do we need to correct?”
The conclusion was that Cascais, which includes Estoril and Carcavelos, was faced with two roads. The first, ­followed the theory of the three P’s ­(people, people, people); in essence, massification. The second is the theory of the C’s (creativity, competition, competence and connectivity).
“We did not present the first as policy at the elections. We didn’t opt for massification and create offer in terms of housing. The second, which would include companies and entities providing professional training, was the chosen ­option,” he explains.
In this, Carreiras has taken his inspiration from American writer and Toronto university professor Richard Florida, ­author of the best-selling books ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ and ‘The Flight of the Creative Class’ and who is considered one of the world’s leading urbanists. He famously said: “Our great urban centres can no longer look to national governments for top-down solutions.”
Florida noted that territories that ­developed the most and in the best ways were the ones that were able to ­attract, fix and develop talent, techno­logy and tolerance.
Carreiras explains: “We had to define a strategy and we realised that we should not be a low-cost product, offering low prices which would not go on to create a value chain that would be elastic enough to motivate that development.
“So, we have to focus on what are our differentiating and value-adding factors. These differences are easily identified if we respect our identity. They are the ­factors that led us to be what we are from geographical, social, cultural and economic points of view. We have our own specific characteristics and these need to be developed and leveraged.”

A cosmopolitan international community
The Cascais mayor stresses that the borough has always welcomed peoples from other cultures, nationalities and ­religions. “Communities have always created a cosmopolitan environment in the area since the second world war when several royal families were exiled here. The Jews that settled here fleeing from Nazism also helped us to reinforce our identity,” he explains.
“We are very open and tolerant. We should encourage this inclusion within a logic of territorial and social cohesion, but also from a point of view of attracting investment.
“Geographically, we are one of the few places in the world with a natural park right next to an ocean, not to mention being just 45 minutes by rail or car from a capital city – Lisbon. This means we are better in this respect than Madrid. We have to appreciate these ­distinctive factors that we have of sea and ‘serra’,” he says.

Nova SBE
The largest and most significant urban development in Cascais borough in recent years and one that will ­undoubtedly have a wide-ranging and far-reaching impact going forward is the development of the new business and economics university Nova SBE at Carcavelos.
Carlos Carreiras sees the project as a golden opportunity to attract young ­people, investment and high-technology companies to the area. In fact, the ­project which opened in 2018 was built on tracts of land conceded by Cascais Council.
“We want to welcome these university students and aim for 20,000 by 2020 (the borough now has 6,000 students with a current capacity for 9,000),” he says.
“Cascais has a number of characteristics to attract overseas citizens, but these are arriving at an age when they are not productive but are consumers. We have a lot of mature and elderly residents in ­Cascais and these young people will boost the economy in the short-term. The idea is that some will stay and help invest in, and invigorate, the economy by bringing skills, know-how and innovation.”
With the NATO Higher Technology School due to open this year and the ­existing Cascais Hotel and Tourism School, the council wants to leverage these and attract other faculties to the area. “When you put companies, universities and students together, you get growth potential,” adds the mayor.
The council equally is working to ­attract large Portuguese and multinational companies through relocation since it benefits from office price discrepancies, it being cheaper to rent in Cascais than in Lisbon. Carreiras says some successes will be announced in 2019.

A centre for aviation and aeronautics
Cascais has an airport at Tires in which the mayor sees an investment ­opportunity in terms of airline pilot ­training, aeronautics and creating a hub for executive jets. “It is estimated that 500,000 pilots will be needed over the next 10 years (25,000 each year). We have a project in mind for a pilots’ training centre using simulators. A simulator can simulate 24 hours in the air. A plane can’t,” he says.
“If we can get certain functions that are currently occupying space at Lisbon airport and move them to Tires, particularly executive aviation, we could create an executive focus airport.”

Autodrome plans
Cascais has never really capitalised on the potential of its motor racing track, the Estoril Autodrome, partly because it has been waiting on a solution from the government for years.
In 2015, Cascais Council tried to buy the company that owned the autodrome but was blocked by the Court of Auditors. “We don’t have the capacity in Portugal for Formula 1. The fees make it impossible. But there are alternative products in terms of motorised sports. Cascais could become a centre for ­classic car rallies,” says Carreiras.
The municipality already hosts ­Estoril Classics Week, which runs in October and is organised by Cascais Tourism Association.
Another possible project is a Hotel for Classic Cars and their owners – in other words, the owner of the classic car has a place where they can leave their car and use it, knowing it will always be available and with maintenance and service guaranteed. This kind of classic car enthusiast hotel and repository is common in the US where owners can enjoy their vehicles while they are away on holiday and the service could equally be used to store golf karts, boats, and campers out of the heat and under lock and key until their owners can retrieve them. “This is one of the goals we haven’t achieved,” says the mayor.

Horses for courses
An area the council is exploring is upmarket stabling for competition horses. “We have space here for a large hotel for competition horses,” says the mayor. In Burgos, Spain, there is the Green Gates Resort for Horses, which deals with sports horses where the focus is on wintering or summering stables, inter­national transit for horses, accommodation and facilities for drivers and grooms transiting to and from Portugal, north west and southern Spain and mid-northern France and which also includes facilities for vets, farriers and trainers.
“There are championship horses worth millions that come from countries that are either very cold or very hot and which need climates that are more ­temperate. There is an opportunity here,” says Carreiras.

Smart city
Carlos Carreiras is a proponent of the smart city concept. “A city can only be ­intelligent if it is made for and by people and this is a concept that is fundamental and transversal in the various policies of public municipalities,” he says.
The city has made it its mission to “test innovative solutions capable of being scaled”. Over the past few years, the city has implemented a large portfolio of technology-based improvements ranging from energy-efficient buildings to remote parking payments.
The mayor points out that its project CityPoints Cascais was distinguished by the United Nations as the Best ­Governance Applied Innovation Project in 2017. The project developed seven mobile applications that facilitate the lives of its citizens.
In 2017, CityPoints Cascais was distinguished again at the World Summit Awards in the category ‘Government and Citizen Engagement’. A rewards programme, CityPoints Cascais encourages good citizenship practices via an app that allows citizens to earn points to get ­products and services.
“More than 80% of Cascais Council Urban Projects are paperless or free of physical components and we have the largest participated budget in Portugal.”
But the mobility domain in Cascais is where the city has made real progress. MobiCascais launched in 2016 and ­integrated public and private players into one collaborative ecosystem, giving users access to every mobility-connected ­service in Cascais by paying a daily, weekly, monthly or even annual fee. These integrated services include bike sharing, scooter sharing, smart parking, taxi rides, transport on request, carpooling, electric vehicle infrastructure and bus and train information can be availed through a seamless card that users can connect to through an app or web-portal and which could save citizens 10-27% of mobility costs.

Luxury property developments
Carlos Carreiras stresses that it wants to maintain the borough’s reputation as an exclusive luxury resort. To this end, a number of high-quality projects are or have been underway recently. One of the most important is the joint Chinese-Portuguese investment at Quinta da Marinha -Bloom Marinha. This €100 million development is on the only ­remaining plot of land originally made available by Cascais Council at Quinta da Marinha in front of the Quinta da Marinha and Sheraton hotels.
The development entails 88 luxury townhouses (74 one-floor and 14 semi-detached with two floors, all with garden and private pool and prices between €700,000 and €2 million) set in 14 hectares in what is one of the largest ­recent investments in Cascais in terms of size and value.
“It is currently the largest project ­underway in Cascais as a closed condominium estate,” says Adriano Callé Lucas of atelier CPU, which is working with the Italian atelier BEST. Developed by Zaphira Capital, founded by Adriano Lucas and André Alves Ribeiro, and ­Reformosa, a Chinese developer which has various other developments underway in Lisbon, the resulting property ­development company Bloom Marinha discovered the land in 2015 when it ­belonged to the bank BPI. There had been plans to develop a project on the site since 2009 which, because of the crisis, never advanced.
A second project involved the former Praça de Touros site in Cascais, which was converted into luxury housing in a project called ONE Living by architects Frederico Valsassina, developed by ­Teixeira Duarte and sold by Porta da Frente Christie’s. The project comprises 84 units on 10,000sqm of leisure and ­social areas surrounded by green spaces. It is aimed largely at international ­investors. Over 50 apartments are either sold or reserved.

Middle east investment?
Portugal is under the radar for investments from the middle east, more specifically the Sultanate of Oman, ­according to Carlos Carreiras who had round-table talks with some financial representatives of the sultanate in ­December.
And while last year the Cascais Participative Budget approved 24 projects worth €5.8 million, the municipality is currently exploring a number of other ­investment projects worth considerably more, which could receive funding from such investors.


The renaissance of Portugal’s Cascais and Estoril Riviera
Portugal’s chic seaside town of Cascais on the golden Estoril coast near Lisbon is booming with major redevelopment projects in sectors from residential tourism, luxury homes, new hotels, universities and state-of-the-art offices and an innovation centre. With international awards for Smart and Mobile City innovations, plans for a refurbished boating marina and an exciting new international business school campus – Nova SBE – in Carcavelos inaugurated last year, Portugal’s Estoril Riviera, the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale and former playground for exiled kings in the 1930s is enjoying a renaissance which promises to usher in a new and golden era.

The Hotel Cidadela
From developer Reformosa, this redevelopment project will demolish the existing hotel and build high-quality apartments.

Old Cascais Hospital
This site will become the new Cascais Health Centre and the first ­private medical academy in Portugal in a collaboration with university Católica. The €3.4 million site involves investment from the ­owners of Hospital da Luz and the health insurance company ­Multicare-owned Chinese fund Fosun.

Vila Montrose
A luxury project around a historic challet in Monte Estoril will ­become a residential condominium on a 5,000 m2 site with 24 ­exclusive properties.

Quinta de São Gonçalo
On land owned by the fund Explorer, this project features a residential component and a wine museum with a visitors centre.

Nova SBE – University halls of residence
Halls of Residence catering to 6,000 business studies students, the new campus will have 123 while a further 620 are planned in the Lombos area with a further 400 for the Legrand factory site currently being refurbished.

Hotel projects
Quinta dos Ingleses by Nova SBE has been earmarked for a new hotel supporting the university campus for visitors to congresses, seminars, conferences and other events at the university.

St. Julians
At Carcavelos Sul another hotel as well as the refurbishment of St. Julian’s international school and a large new green park.

Praia Mar and Riviera
New and existing hotel projects on the José de Almeida Ortho­paedic Hospital site.

Specialist hospital
The José de Almeida Orthopaedic Hospital will be redeveloped by José Mello Saúde into a large rehabilitation unit in partnership with charity Misericórdia.

Cascais Innovation Park
A new technology and innovation park for São Gonçalo with offices and spaces for startups to complement and synergise with the Nova SBE business school.

São Domingos de Rana
Abandoned industrial premises turned into co-working spaces to form a continuous business cluster from Lagoa Park at Quinta da Fonte to Tagus Park.

European HQ for Nestlé
The old Legrand factory will become a €50 million business park ­project around the new European HQ for Nestlé employing 1,200. Companies mooted to move here include Sonae, Bricodis and McDo­nalds. The project includes shops, student halls and a sports centre.
Legrand Elétrica will remain in the borough of Cascais at a new premises.

Jumbo redevelopment
On the Cascais Jumbo supermarket site a new cohesive project will arise including a large open green park and private condominiums and shops.

Luxury Marina
This new marina and hotel project from an international chain ­includes a new shopping centre all billed as ‘glamorous, cosmopolitan and luxurious’.

Edíficio São Pedro & Bauhaus Disco
The abandoned NAU hotel in Cascais will be converted apartments, shops and services. In Monte Estoril the former Bauhaus Disco will be demolished and become a residential project and hotel.

Cascais Contemporary and Urban Art Museum
A 3,000 m2 site will become the new Museu de Art Urbana e ­Contemporânea de Cascais (Cascais Contemporary Art Museum) as well as a classic car museum. Developed by Duarte Cancela of Abreu and ACP Classic.

Lego Education Centre
Toy manufacturer Lego is developing a Lego Education Centre and store on a 1000 m2 site formerly occupied by the São José building in Cascais.

Marinha Prime
Marinha Prime involves 70 villas and apartments from Portuguese construction company Noronha Sanches in partnership with Habitat Invest and in partnership with Duarte Cancela of Abreu and ACP ­Classic. The luxury project designed by Promontório comprises 11 ­villas and 44 apartments focused on the residential and tourism ­market and to be completed by 2020.

Pride of Estoril
Lebanese property developers Pride Invests has created a gated ­community comprising three blocks of 120 luxury apartments aimed at the Golden Visa market at Quinta Patino.

Other plans and projects
Other projects that will help transform Cascais over the coming years include a new El Corte Inglés department store at Sassoeiras, a new HQ for Cascais Theatre (Teatro de Cascais – TEC) and the Cascais ­Theatre School (Escola de Teatro de Cascais).