Guimaraes,Portugal The Story of Urban Renewal and Community Transformation


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Driving Innovation in Guimaraes: Smart Solutions for Today's Challenges

Contributions and Roles of Guimaraes, Portugal in the Eurocities Network

Innovation and Sustainability

Guimaraes is committed to sustainability and innovation, playing a pivotal role within the Eurocities network. As part of its goals, the city aims to reduce CO2 emissions substantially and promote green technology initiatives.

Reducing CO2 Emissions

The city has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting public transportation, enhancing energy efficiency in buildings, and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources.

Promoting Green Technology

Guimaraes fosters innovation in green technology through partnerships with research institutions and businesses. This includes initiatives such as the development of smart grids and the use of environmentally-friendly materials in construction.

Smart City Initiatives

Guimaraes leverages technology to enhance the quality of urban life. The city’s smart city initiatives focus on areas such as water management, healthcare, and transportation.

Improvement of Urban Life

Through smart sensors and IoT, Guimaraes efficiently manages resources, monitors environmental factors, and ensures the well-being of its citizens by providing smarter, more responsive public services.

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Water Quality Monitoring: Utilizing sensors to continuously monitor the quality of waterways and ensure safe, clean water for residents.
  • Smart Healthcare Solutions: Implementing telemedicine and e-health services to improve accessibility and efficiency in healthcare.
  • Smart Transportation Systems: Deploying smart traffic management systems to reduce congestion and promote the use of public transportation and bicycles.

Cultural and Social Projects

Guimaraes is deeply involved in cultural and social projects, aiming to enrich the community and support vulnerable groups.

Support for Vulnerable Groups

The city provides comprehensive programs that offer social support, inclusive education, and employment opportunities to ensure no one is left behind.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Inclusive Cultural Festivals: Hosting annual festivals that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity.
  • Community Art Projects: Engaging local artists and residents in public art projects that enhance the cultural landscape.
  • Social Integration Programs: Providing language and vocational training to immigrants and minority communities to aid their integration.

Urban Planning and Development

Guimaraes engages in significant urban development projects focused on enhancing livability and addressing climate change.

Enhancing Livability

Through strategic urban planning, the city aims to create a more livable environment by expanding green spaces, improving public services, and ensuring sustainable growth.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Eco-Neighborhoods: Developing new residential areas with a focus on sustainability and community living.
  • Historic Center Revitalization: Preserving and revitalizing the historic downtown area to attract tourism and support local businesses.
  • Green Corridor Project: Creating a network of parks and green spaces to promote biodiversity and provide recreational areas for citizens.

Youth and Education

Guimaraes places great emphasis on creating vibrant environments for students and young professionals, ensuring they have access to top-notch education and career opportunities.

Support for Students and Young Professionals

The city’s initiatives include fostering collaboration between educational institutions and industries, as well as providing dedicated spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • University Partnerships: Collaborating with local universities to offer innovative programs and research opportunities.
  • Startup Incubation Centers: Establishing centers where young entrepreneurs can develop their business ideas with support from mentors and investors.
  • STEM Education Programs for Schools: Promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to prepare youth for future challenges.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Guimaraes gains various benefits from participating in the Eurocities network, including:

  • Exchange of Best Practices: Learning from other cities’ experiences and adopting innovative solutions to local challenges.
  • Funding Opportunities: Accessing EU funding for urban development projects and collaborative research.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Building strong partnerships with cities across Europe to tackle common issues and drive progress.

City Description: Guimarães, Portugal


Guimarães is located in the northwestern region of Portugal, within the district of Braga. It is situated approximately 55 kilometers northeast of Porto. The city is nestled in a hilly landscape, with the prominent Serra da Penha mountain adding to its scenic beauty. Guimarães is also part of the Ave Subregion, known for its rich cultural heritage and historical significance.


The population of Guimarães is estimated to be around 158,000 residents. The city has a diverse demographic profile, with a mix of younger individuals and older generations. The population density is moderate compared to other cities in Portugal, offering a balanced urban environment.

Economic Overview

Guimarães boasts a strong economy driven by key industries such as textile manufacturing, footwear production, and metalworking. The city is also known for its growing tourism sector, bolstered by its historical and cultural attractions. Guimarães contributes significantly to the GDP of its region, which is approximately €4.5 billion. The presence of several industrial parks and business incubators supports the local economy by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Historical Significance

Guimarães holds a special place in Portuguese history, often referred to as the “birthplace of Portugal.” The city played a crucial role in the early formation of the Portuguese nation, with the Battle of São Mamede in 1128 marking a pivotal moment in securing the independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of León. The historic center of Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is adorned with well-preserved medieval buildings, churches, and castles that reflect its storied past.

Cultural Attractions

  • Guimarães Castle: An iconic medieval castle dating back to the 10th century, offering panoramic views of the city.
  • Palace of the Dukes of Braganza: A stunning Gothic-style palace that once served as the residence of the Dukes of Braganza.
  • Largo da Oliveira: A historic square featuring beautiful architecture and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira.
  • Centro Cultural Vila Flor: A modern cultural center hosting various events, exhibitions, and performances.
  • Gualtar Science Park: An innovative space dedicated to scientific research and technological development.

Education System

Guimarães offers a comprehensive education system with institutions covering primary, secondary, and higher education levels:

  • Primary and Secondary Education: Numerous public and private schools provide quality education to children and teenagers.
  • University of Minho: One of Portugal’s leading universities, with a significant campus in Guimarães offering various undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Transportation Infrastructure

Guimarães has a well-developed transportation network:

  • Public Transit: The city’s public transportation system includes buses and a network of regional trains connecting Guimarães to other cities like Porto and Braga.
  • Airports: The nearest major airport is Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto, about a 45-minute drive from Guimarães.
  • Road Network: The city is well-connected by highways and roads, facilitating easy travel to neighboring regions.

Urban Development Projects

Guimarães is continuously investing in urban development projects aimed at enhancing sustainability and quality of life:

  • Green Spaces Initiative: The city is expanding its parks and recreational areas to provide more green spaces for residents.
  • Smart City Project: Implementation of smart technologies to improve urban management, traffic flow, and energy efficiency.

Environmental Initiatives

Guimarães is committed to environmental sustainability through several initiatives:

  • Waste Reduction Programs: Efforts to reduce waste generation and promote recycling across the city.
  • Renewable Energy Projects: Investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
  • Water Conservation: Programs aimed at preserving water resources and improving water management.

Quality of Living

Guimarães offers a high quality of living, characterized by its excellent healthcare facilities, low crime rates, and a variety of amenities for residents. The city boasts a robust healthcare system with modern hospitals and clinics, ensuring accessible medical care. Safety is a top priority, contributing to a secure environment for families and individuals. Additionally, the city’s cultural and recreational offerings enhance the overall living experience.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Guimarães consistently ranks high in livability indexes due to its historical significance, green spaces, and community-oriented atmosphere.
  • Health Index: The city scores well on health indexes, reflecting the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Guimarães is noted for its commitment to environmental sustainability, earning favorable scores for its efforts in conservation and renewable energy.

Mayor Profile: Domingos Bragança

Current Position

Domingos Bragança serves as the mayor of Guimarães, Portugal. He is known for his dedication to the sustainable development of the city and his progressive vision for its future.

Political Affiliation

Domingos Bragança is affiliated with the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista) of Portugal.


  • Degree: Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering
  • Institution: University of Porto, Portugal
  • Degree: Master’s in Political Science
  • Institution: University of Minho, Portugal

Professional Background

Prior to becoming the mayor of Guimarães, Domingos Bragança had a distinguished career that combined both public service and private sector experience:

  • Local Government Positions: Served as Deputy Mayor of Guimarães, where he was responsible for urban planning and infrastructure development.
  • Private Sector: Worked as an engineer and project manager at a leading Portuguese engineering firm.

Achievements as Mayor

As mayor, Domingos Bragança has spearheaded numerous initiatives and projects aimed at improving the quality of life in Guimarães:

  • Sustainability: Launched the “EcoGuimarães” project, promoting green energy solutions and waste reduction programs.
  • Urban Development: Overhauled the city’s public transportation system to reduce congestion and improve accessibility.
  • Technological Advancements: Introduced smart city technologies, including citywide Wi-Fi and digital kiosks for public information.

Vision for the Future

Domingos Bragança is committed to making Guimarães a model smart city. His future plans include:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Expanding the use of IoT (Internet of Things) for better traffic management and public safety.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 through renewable energy projects and green building practices.
  • Community Engagement: Enhancing participatory governance by involving citizens in decision-making processes through digital platforms.

Personal Life

Outside his official duties, Domingos Bragança is a devoted family man and an avid supporter of various community initiatives. His hobbies and interests include:

  • Hobbies: Hiking, reading historical novels, and playing chess.
  • Community Commitment: Active in local charities and environmental conservation projects.

Awards and Honors

Domingos Bragança has received several awards recognizing his contributions to the city and his effective leadership, including:

  • Order of Merit: Awarded the Order of Merit by the President of Portugal for his services to local governance.
  • Green Leadership Award: Recognized for his outstanding efforts in promoting environmental sustainability in Guimarães.

Guimarães: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Quality of Life


Guimarães, Portugal, is renowned for its high quality of life, recording a safety index of 68.52, making it a notably secure city to reside in. Residents and visitors alike can feel relatively at ease strolling through the city’s historic streets.


The city boasts a healthcare quality index of 63.54, indicative of excellent services in both public and private sectors. Guimarães provides comprehensive healthcare services, ensuring that both residents and expatriates have access to high-quality medical care whenever needed.


Guimarães is ecologically conscious, reflected in its commendably low pollution index of 34.67. The city’s commitment to environmental sustainability is visible in its clean streets, well-maintained green spaces, and frequent community-driven clean-up initiatives.


The city’s transportation index is 35.21, with a public transport system that is largely reliable, efficient, and budget-friendly. Buses are the primary mode of public transport, offering extensive coverage throughout the city and neighboring areas. The affordability and punctuality of the transport system make daily commutes and tours of the city seamless.


Home to the esteemed University of Minho, Guimarães is recognized for its remarkable contributions to research and education. The institution is known for its high academic standards and innovative research programs, making it an attractive hub for students from various parts of the world.

Cost of Living


The cost of housing in Guimarães is relatively affordable. The average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is €368.75, allowing residents to enjoy urban living without overwhelming financial strain. This makes it an attractive option for young professionals and students alike.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person: €150
  • Average cost of dining out: €7 per meal

Guimarães offers a budget-friendly lifestyle when it comes to daily necessities and eating out. Whether shopping for fresh produce at local markets or enjoying a meal at a cozy café, residents can manage living expenses effectively.


Monthly utility costs for an 85m2 apartment approximately amount to €92.21. This includes essential services such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage collection, making it feasible for residents to manage their household expenditures.


The cost of a monthly public transport pass is only €35, further facilitating easy commutation without financial burden. The affordable transport system enhances connectivity within the city, promoting both convenience and mobility.


Leisure activities in Guimarães are comparably affordable and accessible. Monthly fitness club memberships average at €23.17, encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle. Additionally, cinema tickets cost around €6, allowing residents to enjoy recreational activities without breaking the bank.

Guimarães in the Eurocities Network

As a member of the Eurocities network, Guimarães leverages its position to facilitate energy efficiency projects and cultural exchange programs, contributing to its vibrant lifestyle and sustainable way of living. Through these partnerships and initiatives, the city not only enhances the quality of life for its residents but also promotes long-term environmental sustainability and cultural enrichment, echoing its historical significance and contemporary ambitions.

Overall, Guimarães offers a harmonious blend of historical charm, modern amenities, and economic feasibility, making it an ideal place to live, work, and study. The city’s proactive participation in the Eurocities network further accentuates its commitment to becoming a model of sustainable urban living in Europe.

Source: Numbeo

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