In Portugal polarization and gentrification are strongly linked and caused by top-down urban regeneration projects. Expulsion of residents and the consequent lost of social structure come within this kind of processes. This paper argues that the requalification of housing and urban fabric of the historic core of the city maintaining the social environment is possible and proper. Drawing from the international debate on the importance of spatial justice as a specific perspective to evaluate the effectiveness of urban projects and policies, this paper critically analyses the contribution of a program developed in the city of Porto for the rehabilitation of the Ilha de Bela Vista. The experience is turned into an occasion to reflect on the principles that would inspire a new season of ancient city core regeneration policies, integrated with a renewed housing policy.
Keywords: Spatial justice; Porto; urban regeneration