Óbidos Literary Village

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One of the most important objectives that we accomplished in Óbidos was not to let creativity be solely affiliated with culture or technology. Creativity is broader and much more complex than just simple creative industries; it should be a natural inexhaustible resource that individually or collectively makes a community and territory develop. Óbidos takes community development as a way of strengthening and empowerment; a form of territorial economic resizing and repositioning the contemporary geostrategic development. The mission of community development is to boost local development processes through training, through the promotion of productive development and participatory consultation of local actors, and by leading the community to refocus on themselves and their potential, blossoming to new possibilities.
Literature invades Óbidos to transform and integrate the movement of people and their imagination.
The goal is not to limit literature to the place of books, it is to create unexpected relations of humanization, comprehension and community development. This creative strategy for development is a path to resize economy, tourism, sustainability, among other concepts. The ambiton of our city is not limited to its cultural relevance, but strikes every aspect that a city may be willing to develop.
A few years ago we researched funding opportunities to rehabilitate an old church inside the castle walls. In a country without funding programmes for heritage conservation at the time, our challenge was to find a cultural and economic dimension that could respect the history of the building and, at the same time, create a new and specific cultural centre inside the historic center of Óbidos. With the premise of creating a project that was worth a visit, we started working on a bookstore inside a church. Since then, we have a restored space and a unique bookstore. The idea started with just one bookshop, but at this moment we have created a network of bookstores in Óbidos, with 11 bookshops and more to blossom, making us a Literary town, and a unique pearl on the west corner of Europe.
Moreover, Óbidos has been investing in the process of developping this strategy, not only by rehabilitating buildings but also by transforming the educative environment, with a progressive investment on schools, pedagogical processes, and training for teachers. Óbidos has also invested on a technological park, where enterprises and entrepreneurs are building the innovation path and connecting with the territory. Literature, is the concept that creates the connection bettween everything in this cloud. With this driver for development, creativity is a wide and disperse cloud, suddenly connected and stronger, through the use of literature as a glue and connector for strategic development inside our city. On the 11th of December 2015, Óbidos has been deisgnated Creative City of Literature on the UNESCO creative cities network.

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