The City, The Suburb and The Rest. The Earth


  • Alexandre Alves Costa DARQ, UC / FAUP (Emeritus)



This article examines the urban condition created by a new habitat that emerged in Portugal in the last decades: the suburb. In sharp opposition to the stasis of the historic centre, this article offers an optimistic gaze into the suburbs as a space where new opportunities for inclusion and co-existence could come about. The suburbs are portrayed as the real monument of the twentieth century, a human creation that should be maintained and preserved as such, in an age where the global virtual city will become the new locus for exchange and intercourse. This article also examines the dangers of removing the historic centres from the wider reality of the expanding city. Its survival condition is to contaminate the suburb instead of the other way around. The instrumentality of design - informed by politics -, is addressed as a key contribution to project the articulation of the diffuse limits of the [European] city, the suburbs and the rest.


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Author Biography

Alexandre Alves Costa, DARQ, UC / FAUP (Emeritus)

Alexandre Alves Costa graduated as an Architect from Porto School of Fine Arts, after which he trained at the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering with Nuno Portas, having obtained the diploma as an architect in 1966. Since 1970, Alexandre Alves Costa practices as a free-lance architect. In 1972, he began his university teaching career in the fields of Project and History of Portuguese Architecture. In the post 25 April 1974 period, he was part of the Coordinating Committee of SAAL/North sector. He was an adviser to the official Portuguese delegation to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlement - habitat, Vancouver, Canada (1976). He was Chairman of the Governing Board and Chairman of the Scientific Board of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Porto, and was in charge of its 1st Doctoral Programme in Architecture. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Porto. At the University of Coimbra and University of Minho, in 1988 and 1997, respectively, he was a member of the interim committees of the Architecture courses. He was the recipient of AICA Award 2008. Alves Costa has lectured worldwide (Spain, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Morocco, Angola, China and Canada), on topics related with teaching, criticism and history of architecture. He has authored works published in journals (Lótus International, 9H, Domus, Wonen Tabk, Casabella, Architecti, Jornal Arquitectos, Monumentos, and Estudos/Património). His articles were compiled in three books:  Candidatura ao Prémio Jean Tschumi (2005), Introdução ao Estudo da Arquitetura Portuguesa e Outros Textos (2007) and Textos Datados (2007).