Diuenses: Documenting transnational urban interventions

Anisha Meggi, DeMontfort University, UK

Diu Island, a former Portuguese colony, located off the south west coast of Gujarat state, India, is known for its near 85% migratory native population who reside in European countries. Migration of Diuenses started during the Portuguese Empire, moving to Mozambique for employment purposes, many continued migrating to Portugal and other European countries after the empire ended and civil war broke out in Mozambique. Diuenses have been recognised as a minority colonial population within Lisbon and research on their culture, social and religious value systems have been conducted from an anthropological positioning mainly. In this study the focus is on Diuenses and their specific interactions and interventions on the urban environment of Lisbon. Slums, are hard to associate with a first world city like Lisbon, but appeared as pockets with 1000-2000 inhabitants around the capital, to house the in-migration from colonial countries. In 2007, Ascensao closely studies inhabitants and built conditions of Quinta da Serra where predominantly the population is from Cape Verde or Guinea Bissau. Diuenses settled in a nearby settlement, Quinta de Vitoria, Portela and an inner-city settlement covering Quinta da Holandesa and Quinta de Montanha, Areeiro. The settlements formation, development and final demolition which led to the rehousing of Diuense families after nearly 30 years and their current status will be documented. This study maps out the urban interventions of Diuenses on conjunction with a parallel study being conducted of how the origin location of Diuenses within the island pre-determines their interventions in Lisbon and along with their migratory route.

Anisha Meggi is a Ph.D candidate and part time lecturer/ tutor at Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort University. Her PhD research focuses on the regeneration of architectural heritage within the neglected and deteriorating cultural neighbourhoods of India. Her research encompasses larger topic areas such as urban regeneration, adaptive reuse of heritage structures, colonial interventions on Indian urban landscapes along with the people, cultures and architecture that have assimilated as a result. Anisha’s research has benefited from a succession of field trips to her primary case study, Diu Island a former Portuguese Island as well as Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad where she has accumulated experiences in the surveying of buildings and conducting of interviews with key stakeholders.