Indian communities in Lisbon: Creativity applied to bussiness and social strategies?

Publication date:
12/2010
Author:
Jorge Macaísta Malheiros
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Rather than interpreting the initial motivation behind the emergence of the business initiatives of Indian citizens resident in Lisbon, or identifying their sectors of activity, this work attempts to verify in what way their activities bring innovative elements into the city. To that end, the author considers three domains: 1) the invigoration and animation of degraded areas in economic terms, as well as the creation of a new spatial symbology; 2) the supply of new products and services associated with the implementation of new market practices, and 3) the opening-up of new long-distance trading links interpreted as a component of the secondary internationalisation of the city. The entrepreneurial activities of these citizens help, furthermore (albeit indirectly), to introduce new cultural practices and also to revise certain mechanisms for regulat­ing economic activities, in terms of timetables, urban planning and commercial regulation, and others. In response to the question of what Indian immigrants are contributing to Lisbon’s urban dynamics, and in relation to the introduction of social changes, the author attempts to interpret the initiatives using the criterion of whether or not they represent creative social strategies. After an exhaustive analysis, the author concludes that, in fact, most of the commercial initiatives of immigrants with this origin incorporate innovative and creative features, and have clear, diverse impacts on the dynamic of the transformation of certain spaces in the metropolitan area of Lisbon; having said that, it would not seem justifiable to claim that they constitute, in themselves, Creative Social Strategies, in the fullest sense.

Key words: Lisbon, immigration, Hindus, Indians, businessmen, ethnic economy, Creative Social Strategies, innovation

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