About the project
In the 1960s in Odemira there was a brick factory that acted as an anchor for economic and social activity of the land which was, like many others at that time in Portugal, growing and young. However, currently, Odemira is one of Portugal’s oldest and least populated districts.
While Odemira is the municipality with the largest territory in Portugal, its interior has one of the lowest population densities in Europe. Over the last two generations it has lost more than 70% of its inhabitants due to major shifts in agriculture and lack of alternative opportunities. This results in an ageing population, dispersed over a vast area, affected by isolation and social exclusion (one of the world’s lowest birth rates, and a dramatic suicide rate three times the national level). Its shrinking population leads to neglect of the land, the decay of infrastructure, and the loss of traditions, knowledge, and culture.
The CLARA Project aimed to reverse these trends, through the restoration and reconstruction of the same brick factory, and give back to the population of this location an old center, totally new, for the rural future.
The old brick factory has been purchased by CLARA with the objective of establish there a center, which would transform this nomadic field and create restaurants, offices, residences, ecological laboratories, all through the help of local workforce and using available resources. The idea of the new space was to put focus on sustainability-related topics such as circular economy, ecosystem rehabilitation or sustainable communities, as well as performing cultural activities such as art exhibitions, workshops or conferences.
Who stands behind the CLARA project?
CLARA is an established center for the rural future. It is also a collaborative workspace for research, training and innovation based on the multidisciplinarity of knowledge, reflection and production, promoting a creative environment where people live and work together for a certain period of time, stimulating discourse on local issues and encouraging commitment of all involved.
Their sustainable development strategy is based on three crucial components:
- The integration of the local community of the interior of Odemira, embracing their skills, perspectives, and traditions
- The valorisation of indigenous resources; as a way to improve the local economy
- The attraction of new visitors and of the creative community and with their support, stimulate and activate new opportunities and spaces of dialogue and thought
CLARA is a growing and dynamic coalition of national and international artists, designers, architects, psychologists, researchers and thinkers. They are highly motivated, experienced in various areas of expertise and stimulated by Odemira’s potential and the diversity of perspectives. Some of them already live near CLARA or are moving to the area, as this ensures that the whole group is well connected and collaborating closely.
First event in CLARA
On the first phase of rehabilitation and construction of the project, at 70%, CLARA hosted, at the end of August 2019, its first international event — Holis Summer School. 32 professionals from different disciplines and countries gathered to think and generate ideas and solutions for the revitalization and valorization of Odemira, exploring the challenges from the point of view of architecture, transportation system and social entrepreneurship such as design, programming, cooking and tourism.
If you wish to read more about experience of one of the participants of the Holis Summer School, please check story written by Gunjan Singh:
GoParity finances project CLARA
So, what’s our contribution in rural rehabilitation of Odemira?
We, at GoParity, were more than happy to could participated in the CLARA Project. For us, their objective of restoration and reconstruction of the brick factory and transforming it for a center, with the aim of developing a better and more sustainable rural future, was very exciting. We wanted to help the region of Odemira to grow and attract people, by financing this incredible project.
Having said that, GoParity introduced to the investors the posibility to finance the CLARA Project. The total investment cost was set to 400,000.00€, and we are proud to annouce that GoParity financed 50,000.00€ of the total sum, by the contribution of 94 investors.
For those interested in learning more about the project, please check:
We hope to have more opportunities in helping similar, amazing initiatives!