oitoo's walks


oitoo’s walks, Porto 2018


“No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk.” 

Jane Jacobs 'Downtown is for people', (Fortune Classic, 1958)

As one can learn from renowned North American urbanist Jane Jacobs’s book “Life and Death of American Cities” (1961), there are several factors that provide the needed conditions for a “healthy” city: a proper functional mix in the neigbourhood; attention and awareness to vacant buildings and spaces; variety of commercial activities; density of resident population and, of course, their engagement and participation in public life - the exercise of their citizenship, among others.

 Jacobs firmly believed on the need to create conditions for people to carry out their small projects and initiatives, individually or in a shared manner, within the urban framework. The breaking of neighbourhood relations compromises the building of an enduring public platform able to support this sort of initiatives that, while small in scope, have an extraordinary importance for the health and build –up of communities. These work as an eco-system, as every person is linked to the next through a physical network of connections that is both specific and complex, hard to reduce to a simple spreadsheet of numbers and statistics.

 Only through observation is it possible to perceive this complexity.

 With this in mind, oitoo has organized, with the sponsorship of the Association of Portuguese Architects (OASRN), a series of walks in the northeastern neighbourhoods of Porto: oitoo’s walks.

 By observing the city, we hope to encourage the participants’ interest and direct their gaze to the seemingly mundane aspects of these areas. We hope to help in the process of re-building neighbourhood ties and the sense of citizenship through something as simple as walking around, and watching, with the help of the organizer’s eyes ready to show veiled opportunities amidst the everyday cityscapes. These walks will result in a critical mapping of the (abandoned) city, identifying needs and opportunities within the framework of what’s already there and may need just a little push to become useful again.


oitoo’s walks, Porto 2018