Saturday, July 3, 2010



2010 ranking: 25

2009 ranking: 25

2008 ranking: 24

Amid low crime rates, sunny Lisbon continues its cultural boom.

Concerts and theatre performances are up by double digits as venues such as Nimas, a converted cinema, attract indie acts. In the Baixa district, a year-old fashion and design museum anchors an urban renewal project around Praca do Comercio to shift traffic and refurbish historic buildings.

Residents, however, seem less enthusiastic about the need for a new coach museum, preferring instead that authorities invest in public transport, cycling schemes and overhauling housing policy – Lisbon’s population has dropped by 20,000 in the past two years. Part of the blame is due to outdated rental laws that have kept prices at untenable levels, making it hard to cover the cost of upkeep – the city centre is dotted with deserted buildings in need of some TLC.

Population: 489,562; greater metropolitan area, 2.03 million

International flights: 22 intercontinental; 51 European destinations

Crime: murders, 4; domestic break-ins, 1,256

Sunshine: 2,780 hours in 2009

Tolerance: same-sex marriage signed into law late this spring

State education: residents favour private educational facilities: 194 private pre-schools vs 94 public; 47 private secondary schools in Lisbon vs 33 public

Drinking and shopping: bars in Bairro Alto and many riverside districts serve alcohol after 01.00. Supermarkets open on Sundays

Public transport: subway extension to airport to be completed next year (15 minute ride to downtown)

Architecture: permits for innovative builds are allowed but it’s a slow process

Green space: 28 sq m per resident

How easy is it to start a business? Registering a one-man firm or PLC takes a few hours and costs euros 360 with Empressa na Hora (On the Sport Firm) programme

Chain test: Zara, 9; Starbucks, 1

Key upcoming developments: urban re-generation of Baixa district on waterfront

Monocle fix: stop giving out permits to build shopping malls

in MONOCLE, July/August 2010

Foto: Rua do Arsenal

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