A Letter from Lisbon

The Portuguese capital has been turned upside down in recent years by property speculation and vacation rentals. What has its left-wing government been able to do to stop the rot?

Construction cranes work on buildings overlooked by Sao Jorge Castle castle in the Baixa district of Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday, July 30, 2018. The revival in Lisbon’s downtown property market began after the previous government eased long-held rent controls in 2011 and started offering residence permits and tax breaks to foreigners. Photographer: Patricia de Melo Moreira/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the very first day of 2021, the fado singer Carlos do Carmo died at the age of 81. Carmo, a lifelong communist, was best known for his song Lisboa Menina e Moa (which loosely translates to ‘Lisbon Girl and Lady’), an ode to Portugal’s capital, personifying the city as a warm, familiar street figure. […]

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