Growing out of a design initiative at the local Institute of Art, Technology and Culture, this rehabilitation of the Alto de Bomba district of the port city of Mindelo is rooted in the day-to-day life of the population. It works through construction, listening and collaboration – defining policy alternatives that recognise informality as a valid method of urbanisation. Its projects form public space; upgrade drainage, electricity, water and sanitation systems; and include three specific urban-rehabilitation schemes. Using local materials (chiefly stone, commonly found in the surrounding quarries) enabled capacity building and training in construction, which allowed residents to execute works in their own neighbourhoods and enhanced their sense of belonging. Over two years of activity, it provided work experience for 25 architects and around 60 residents – and directly affected the public space of 171 households and 1,500 residents.