COMMUNITY MEETING IN THE ALGARVE
by Xana Piteira from Orla Design.
Algarve is a region in south Portugal which has been deeply transformed throughout the last decades. From farmer and fishermen villages where life was simple and livelihoods based on land and sea, it is now a tourist paradise for those looking for sunshine, beaches and good traditional food. Concrete buildings took over the coast to give place to hotels, beach facilities and all kinds of restaurants and bars.
As we developed our interviews with local community catalysts and asked them to choose a place related to their identity in the community, we saw ourselves inside the storyline of this landscape and it’s people. Interweaved on all these beach cliffs, old village buildings, agricultural fields and neglected forests there are memories of a biosphere that not long ago was much more preserved, healthy and abundant. We had the chance to hear diverse voices of those who have their concerns centered around what will be the future of this landscape and future generations. We understand that our people want to participate, be active and co-create a safer future based on local action and regeneration. There is a willingness to make community voices heard by decision makers so that some of the damage can be reversible and still provide what’s needed to meet some of the SDG targets by 2030.
It was meaningful and extremely informative for our organization to engage in this process, not only because we became very close to the issues that are most important for active citizens within the community, but also to activate a potential group of changemakers that want to get together and become involved in co-creating the future of their own landscape and it’s people. This was just the beginning.