Lisbon Is Thriving. But at What Price for Those Who Live There?

Not long ago, Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, was a backwater of Europe. Its historical center was dotted with decrepit and semi-abandoned buildings. Some downtown squares were the domain of prostitutes and drug dealers. The city served as a display case for the devastation of Europe’s debt crisis.

Then, in 2011, the country embarked upon a series of difficult steps in return for an international bailout of 78 billion euros, or $92 billion, among them a new rental law that liberalized the capital’s housing market.

Today the city is booming. Tourists stream off cruise ships to fill its squares and ride tuk-tuks up and down the hills. Historical buildings now gleam. New bars and restaurants throb with life.