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José Maria da Cunha Costa Viana do Castelo

“I’m very proud to join the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth Initiative. It is an excellent forum to exchange best practices and policy tools for more inclusive cities. The role of Mayors is increasingly important to improve policies that make economic growth more inclusive, one of our priority policies aiming to create more equitable and prosperous cities.”


José Maria Costa was born in Mozambique in 1963. A previous chemical engineer, he is married and has a daughter.
First elected in 2009 and reelected in 2017, he is also, CIM’s President – “Alto Minho” of the Inter-Municipal Community.
The mayor was executive Committee President of the Northwestern Peninsular Atlantic Zone (from 2012 to 2015) and now leads the
José Maria is EU Regions Committee Member, through the 2013-2017 mandate, and the 2017 – 2021 mandate during which he exerts the position of Portuguese Delegation Coordinator.
He has served as Executive Board President of the Atlantic Arc Cities Conference since 2016.

How is the
Mayor promoting
Inclusive Growth ?
Qualified and competitive network of hosting spaces and entrepreneurial incubation

This municipality strategy supports the settlement of new businesses, while strengthening the attractiveness of Viana do Castelo along with integrated regeneration urban rules and industrial cluster development support, namely renewable energies and automotive industry. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
Incubators of technology and a Technological Accelerator constitute centres of support for the creation or development of small or micro-enterprises. The Municipality supports these SMEs in the early stages of their development.

Urban rehabilitation and sustainable urban mobility

Viana do Castelo’s strategy is based on urban environmental quality as well as sustainability of the council’s natural ecosystems. The “City Strategic Plan” is constituted by incentive and tax exemption programs. The urban mobility and accessibility for all is a concern of the city’s public policies.

Sea Centre Sports and Nautical Tourism

The Viana do Castelo Sea Centre presents itself as a nautical & tourism focused beacon.

This project was awarded various prizes and mentions, such as the “Best Municipality Where to Live”, Economy Category in 2013; Sport’s Prize in 2014 “Personality of the Year” from Gala and Sport, and in 2015, the Prize “Athletice Mare” 2015 from the “Excellens Mare”’ Prizes of PwC as well as the “Good Practices”’ Prize from “Maia European Sport City”.

Wellbeing for every age

Viana do Castelo is a member of the Healthy Cities European Network, and sustainability is one of our priorities. A UNICEF, «Children Friendly City» we aim to involve minorities (vulnerable people, people suffering from motor skills difficulties, migrants) in all projects, ensuring effective integration.