Gentrification and health in Porto: the residents’ point of view

The photographs found here are the work of sixteen Porto residents – seven men and nine women – that, in a generous way, have agreed to share their point of view about how gentrification affects the health of Porto inhabitants by using a photographic camera.

These people were divided into three groups, according to certain socioeconomic features of their residential areas. They accepted to photograph the city, individually capturing images that were collectively presented and discussed, in order to reveal the meanings and stories they contained.

Here, we present the images that were the result of this collective work of researchers and participants in a study where photovoice was used. This is a method that intends to give voice to people through photograph and where the word participant acquires a more complete meaning, insomuch as each person participating in the research process consciously makes decisions that impact in the final results of the former.

We have chosen to present all the photographs produced by the participants, with the exception of repetitions, self-portraits and the odd less perceptible photograph, instead of limiting ourselves to those that were selected to be collectively presented and discussed, or to the ones that were chosen as best illustrating their perspective about the issue at hand. The participants were given complete freedom to photograph whatever they chose to, as long as they brought us a number of photographs seeking to answer to the following question: “how does gentrification affect health in Porto?”

The sole purpose of the photograph categorisation here presented is to organise the hundreds of images collected. It is the result of an unavoidably subjective reading by the researchers, one that uses the visual elements that compose each photograph and that does not necessarily mirror the photographer’s gaze: a photograph captures the superficial layer of a given object, not the intention that selected that object nor the subjective meaning assigned by the one who photographs it.

Many of the photographs here presented depict a rapidly changing city, showing ongoing construction works, touristic stores where traditional commerce used to be, renewed buildings side by-side with degraded ones, tourists walking on the streets, short term rentals and hotels, among many other things. And they contain personal and collective stories about both the positive and negative consequences of those changes and their relationship with health.

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