Valongo,Portugal The Story of Urban Renewal and Community Transformation


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Innovation in Valongo: Smart Solutions for Urban Challenges

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Spotlight on Valongo, Portugal

Innovation and Sustainability

Commitment to Sustainability

Valongo is committed to sustainability by implementing strategies that reduce CO2 emissions and promote green technology. Initiatives such as developing green spaces and introducing eco-friendly public transportation are central to their goals.

Innovation Goals

The city also focuses on introducing innovative solutions to urban challenges, from smart energy grids to waste management systems that minimize environmental impact.

Smart City Initiatives

Leveraging Technology for Urban Improvement

Valongo leverages technology to improve various aspects of urban life. Advanced data analytics and IoT (Internet of Things) applications help manage everything from traffic flow to public safety.

Official City Website:

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Smart Waste Management: Utilizing sensors and data analytics to optimize waste collection routes and reduce operational costs.
  • Intelligent Lighting: Installation of energy-efficient streetlights that adjust brightness based on real-time conditions.
  • Water Quality Monitoring: Deploying sensors in waterways to continuously monitor pollution levels and ensure safe drinking water.
  • e-Health Services: Enhancing healthcare by integrating telemedicine solutions and electronic health records.

Cultural and Social Projects

Engagement in Cultural and Social Initiatives

Valongo is proactive in engaging in cultural and social projects that promote inclusivity and support vulnerable groups. The city hosts various cultural events and festivals that echo its rich heritage and diversity.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Community Arts Programs: Workshops and exhibitions promoting local artists and artisans.
  • Support for Vulnerable Groups: Initiatives such as housing programs for the homeless and social services for the elderly.
  • Multicultural Festivals: Annual events celebrating the different cultures and communities within Valongo.
  • Youth Centers: Providing safe spaces for young people to engage in cultural and recreational activities.

Urban Planning and Development

Enhancing Livability and Addressing Climate Change

Valongo engages in significant urban development projects aimed at making the city more livable and resilient to climate change. This includes modernizing infrastructure and creating eco-friendly public spaces.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Green Urban Spaces: Development of parks and gardens to enhance air quality and provide recreational areas.
  • Public Transport Expansion: Introduction of electric buses and expansion of bicycle lanes to reduce reliance on cars.
  • Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Building flood defenses and optimizing drainage systems to better manage extreme weather events.
  • Smart Housing Projects: Developing energy-efficient residential complexes with smart home technologies.

Youth and Education

Creating a Vibrant Environment for Students and Young Professionals

Valongo places a strong emphasis on fostering a vibrant community for students and young professionals. This includes offering educational programs and creating job opportunities within the city.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • STEM Education Programs: Initiatives to encourage students to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Internship Opportunities: Partnerships with local businesses to provide internships and apprenticeships for young professionals.
  • Modernized School Facilities: Upgrading educational infrastructure to provide safe and conducive learning environments.
  • Entrepreneurship Workshops: Programs aimed at helping young people start their own businesses and innovate within the local economy.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

By being part of the Eurocities network, Valongo gains numerous benefits that enhance its development and quality of life for its residents:

  • Access to a wide network of expertise and best practices from other European cities.
  • Opportunities for funding and collaboration on large-scale projects.
  • Enhanced visibility and influence within the European political landscape.
  • Support for local initiatives and policies aimed at sustainable urban growth.

City Description: Valongo, Portugal


Valongo is a municipality situated in the northern region of Portugal, near the bustling city of Porto. Nestled between the Douro River in the south and the lush Serra de Santa Justa mountains to the north, Valongo enjoys a diverse topography that includes both urban and natural landscapes.


As of the latest census, Valongo has a population of approximately 96,000 residents. The demographic makeup is predominantly Portuguese, with a small but growing community of expatriates and immigrants contributing to the city’s cultural diversity.

Economic Overview

Valongo’s economy is driven by manufacturing, particularly in the footwear and cork industries. The city’s GDP is buoyed by small and medium enterprises that specialize in these sectors. Additionally, Valongo benefits from its proximity to Porto, enabling cross-city commerce and employment opportunities.

Historical Significance

Valongo has a rich history dating back to Roman times, evidenced by its ancient mining sites for gold and other minerals. In the Middle Ages, the area became known for its monasteries and religious influence. The city’s name is believed to derive from the Latin “Vallis Longa,” meaning “long valley.”

During the industrial revolution, Valongo emerged as an important center for milling and textiles, setting the stage for its contemporary economic structure.

Cultural Attractions

  • Santa Justa Church: A historic church known for its stunning baroque architecture.
  • Valongo Municipal Museum: Displays a range of exhibits from archaeological finds to local artisan displays.
  • Bugiada e Mouriscada Festival: An annual traditional festival that celebrates local folklore.
  • Santa Eulália Roman Mines: An archaeological site showcasing ancient Roman mining techniques.

Education System

Primary and Secondary Education

Valongo has a comprehensive network of primary and secondary schools managed by the local municipality. These schools offer quality education adhering to the national curriculum, with a focus on both academic and extracurricular development.

Higher Education

While Valongo does not host any universities, it benefits from its proximity to Porto, which houses several prestigious institutions such as the University of Porto and Porto Business School. Many students commute daily to these centers for tertiary education.

Transportation Infrastructure

Valongo is well-connected through a robust transportation network:

  • Public Transit: The city is served by a network of buses and is integrated into Porto’s metro system, making commuting relatively seamless.
  • Airports: Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto is just a short drive away, providing international and domestic flights.
  • Roads and Highways: Valongo is conveniently connected by the A4 and A41 motorways, ensuring easy access to neighboring cities and regions.

Urban Development Projects

Valongo has initiated several significant urban development projects aimed at enhancing livability and sustainability:

  • Green Spaces Initiative: Developing additional parks and recreational areas to promote outdoor activities and improve air quality.
  • Smart City Solutions: Implementing smart traffic management systems to reduce congestion and improve public transport efficiency.
  • Affordable Housing Projects: Building new residential complexes to meet the growing demand for housing.

Environmental Initiatives

Valongo is committed to environmental sustainability through various initiatives:

  • Recycling Programs: Robust citywide recycling programs and waste reduction efforts.
  • Renewable Energy: Investment in solar and wind energy projects to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
  • Conservation Projects: Protecting local wildlife and natural habitats, particularly in the Serra de Santa Justa area.

Quality of Living

Valongo offers a high quality of living with accessible healthcare services, low crime rates, and a variety of amenities. The city has multiple healthcare centers and hospitals, ensuring residents receive adequate medical attention. Public safety is managed by an efficient local police force, contributing to the city’s reputation for being a safe place to live.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Valongo consistently ranks high in livability indexes, thanks to its balanced lifestyle, economic stability, and environmental initiatives.
  • Health Index: With several healthcare facilities and a focus on public health, the city scores well on health indexes.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Valongo’s commitment to green initiatives and sustainability projects earns it a commendable score in environmental quality assessments.

Profile of Mayor José Manuel Ribeiro

Current Position

Mayor of Valongo, Portugal

Political Affiliation

José Manuel Ribeiro is affiliated with the Socialist Party of Portugal.


  • Master’s Degree in Public Administration – University of Porto
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science – University of Porto

Professional Background

Before becoming the mayor of Valongo, José Manuel Ribeiro had an extensive career in both local government and the private sector. Key positions and experience include:

  • Deputy Mayor of Valongo (2005-2013)
  • City Councillor for Urban Planning and Environment (1998-2005)
  • Consultant for Urban Development Projects in the private sector

Achievements as Mayor

As Mayor of Valongo, José Manuel Ribeiro has spearheaded various initiatives and projects with a significant focus on sustainability, urban development, and technological advancements, including:

  • Sustainable Mobility Plan: Implemented a comprehensive plan to promote cycling, public transportation, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure across the city.
  • Green Spaces Expansion: Developed new parks and recreational areas to increase the green space available to residents, enhancing community well-being and environmental quality.
  • Smart City Initiatives: Launched projects to integrate smart technologies for better waste management, energy efficiency, and traffic flow.
  • Urban Renewal Projects: Overseeing the revitalization of older neighborhoods to improve living conditions and attract new businesses.

Vision for the Future

Mayor José Manuel Ribeiro envisions a future for Valongo that embraces modernity while preserving the city’s heritage. Key elements of his vision include:

  • Smart City Development: Expanding the city’s digital infrastructure to improve public services and civic engagement.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Continuing efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint through renewable energy projects, improved waste recycling programs, and conservation initiatives.
  • Community Engagement: Ensuring that citizens are actively involved in decision-making processes through open forums, participatory budgeting, and transparent governance.

Personal Life

José Manuel Ribeiro is not only dedicated to his professional responsibilities but also maintains a fulfilling personal life. His hobbies and interests include:

  • Participating in local community events and volunteering for environmental clean-up initiatives.
  • Enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.
  • Reading extensively on topics related to urban planning and sustainable development.

Awards and Honors

José Manuel Ribeiro has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to Valongo and his leadership in various fields:

  • Portuguese Urban Planning Award (2015): For excellence in urban renewal projects.
  • Environmental Leadership Award (2018): Acknowledging his efforts in promoting sustainability and green initiatives in Valongo.
  • Innovation in Governance Award (2021): For implementing cutting-edge smart city solutions.

Valongo, Norte, Portugal: A Promising City of Superior Quality and Affordable Living

Quality of Life


Valongo stands out for its peaceful environment, reflected in a high safety index of 71.69. This index indicates that residents of Valongo enjoy a secure and calm living experience, with crime levels remaining low and a significant feeling of safety within the community.


With a healthcare quality index of 69.22, Valongo boasts a solid network of health services. The city’s healthcare system is reliable, offering both public and private options to meet the needs of its inhabitants. Access to competent medical professionals and well-equipped facilities ensures that residents receive quality care.


The pollution index in Valongo is moderately low at 41.04, showcasing the city’s commendable cleanliness. Efforts to maintain a clean and healthy environment are evident, contributing to the overall quality of life and well-being of its residents.


Valongo features a robust transportation system, which is evident from its transport index of 34.83. The public transportation network is efficient and user-friendly, benefiting both locals and tourists. Regular bus and train services facilitate easy commutes, enhancing the city’s connectivity.


Valongo’s educational landscape is marked by reputable institutions such as Valongo Basic School. The city ensures quality education, providing a robust learning environment that nurtures academic excellence and skill development among students.

Cost of Living


In Valongo, housing is notably affordable. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately €350.40 per month, making it an attractive option for both locals and newcomers seeking budget-friendly accommodations.

Groceries and Dining

The monthly grocery cost for a single person in Valongo averages €188.08. Dining out is also reasonably priced, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around €20.00. This affordability allows residents to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without financial strain.


The monthly utility costs, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an 85m2 apartment, amount to about €100.20. This cost-effectiveness further contributes to the overall affordability of living in Valongo.


The cost of a monthly public transport pass in Valongo is €35.00, making commuting by public transportation both economical and convenient. Residents benefit from an efficient transport system without high expenses.


Recreational activities in Valongo are affordable, with a fitness club membership costing around €31.63 per month, and cinema tickets priced at €6.50. These reasonable costs allow residents to partake in leisure activities and maintain an active social life.

Perspective within the Eurocities Network

Within the Eurocities network, Valongo is rapidly progressing in its development as a sustainable, inclusive, and vibrant urban community. The city’s efforts focus on improving quality of life, promoting social inclusion, and fostering economic growth. Valongo’s commitment to these goals positions it as a promising and forward-thinking member of the Eurocities network, contributing to the broader vision of urban excellence across Europe.

Source: Numbeo

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