“I cannot conceive of managing a city that is prosperous, but only for some. I pledged that I would govern in an inclusive manner, using the attraction of investment and access to culture as instruments of social cohesion and true democracy, empowering and networking with local stakeholders for maximum impact.”
– Mayor Rui Moreira
Rui Moreira has been the Mayor of Porto since 2013 and was re-elected for a new term on the 1st October 2017. His election gathered the interest of media worldwide, as he became the first independent candidate to be elected in a major European city, drawing a wave of support from a movement of citizens across the political spectrum. In his words, Porto is his political party. As a columnist and commentator for several newspapers and TV channels, he has been a leading advocate of Porto and Portugal´s Northern Region interests. He is the author of various books on economic, political and other contemporary issues – never fading away from controversy or from an informed and strong defence of the values and principles he believes in. As Mayor, he is committed to prudent and balanced municipal financial management, and leads the city´s management by always considering four pillars: social cohesion, culture, economy and sustainability.
According to its 2020 report on Energy and Emissions in the Municipality of Porto, AdEPorto – the Porto Energy Agency, concluded that the city’s sustained efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulted in a 36.2% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the past 15 years. Porto´s ambition is to reach a total reduction of 50% by the year 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 (compared to 2004 figures). Porto is already only using electricity from 100% renewable sources.
The City of Porto believes that ‘leading by example’ and encouraging best practices are good ways to inspire change and has several circular economy initiatives that align goods and services procurement. Porto encourages local food production (weekly organic produce fair, since 2004), food waste reduction (Wrap It Up), and reusing features of Porto’s architecture (Materials Bank, since 1987).
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Porto’s local authorities are successfully merging social distancing with environmental sustainability by incorporating pedestrian-priority zones into previously busy traffic areas. In this way, car free space has increased, allowing people to keep a safe distance from each other as well as promoting local commerce by increasing the public space available to businesses. Safety has also been improved through the introduction of reduced speed limits to motor vehicles.
Free public transport passes are available to all Porto residents under 18 years old. This initiative enables young people to use Porto’s buses, metros and urban trains completely free, and aims to encourage young people to use sustainable transport, while also saving families money.
Family Public Transport Passes are also available for purchase, allowing families to use the public transport networks across the entire region, and its 17 municipalities, for 80 euros per month. The family pass will enable families to save money and will further encourage the use of public transport, benefitting the environment and local communities. City bus stops will also have high tech improvements, providing accurate information on bus arrival times and they will be equipped with 5G compatible hardware.
The City of Porto took bold steps to provide accommodation for the middle class members of society through the implementation of the “Porto com Sentido” programme. The project incorporates new types of properties into the city’s rental market, so the pressure on households can be reduced. In order to do so, the municipality will invest 4.3 million euros by the end of 2022 to provide 1000 leases with durations between 3 and 5 years. Housing affordability will be enforced, with municipal authorities performing strict control on prices so they remain well below the average price of rental accommodations.
Porto’s local government works with expert partners and citizens eager to contribute to city planning. In February 2020 a Hackathon Porto Circular was held to bring together tech-savvy young people to find circular economy solutions addressing urban problems. Creative and solid proposals, ideas, plans and products were presented and provided officials with valuable and much-needed advice, solutions and blueprints that will be used in the future. Several other public participation projects are in progress within the city.