A House for the Portuguese People

Special Report: Working-Class Homeownership
Porto's Affordable Housing Program: Start and Development of a Neighborhood (1938–1974)
By Virgílio Borges Pereira, João Queirós

English

This paper offers an analysis of the process of development of Portugal’s first major state housing policy in the first half of the 20th century: the Affordable Housing Program (Programa das casas económicas) was , the regime’s (Estado Novo) answer to the housing crisis the country’s main cities faced at that time. Organized in 1933 around the ideal of homeownership of single-family houses in the city periphery, the Affordable Housing Program was presented as the definitive state answer to “the housing problems faced by the Portuguese people,” but was never able to accomplish its grand ambitions. Through the analysis of legislation, archives, and memories of old residents, this paper reconstitutes the processes of social selection, spatial segregation, and moral control that organized everyday life in the largest neighborhood of affordable housing in the city of Porto, in the neighborhood of Amial, built in 1938 and expanded in 1958.
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