CNN: The cities designed to be capitals

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 26/9/2019

Description

A prime modernist example is Brasilia, planned by architect Lucio Costa, with key buildings by Oscar Niemeyer. "Brasilia is designed as a single piece, because it was commissioned to two men with similar ideas who were able to impose very simple but very robust rules of urban design," Nuno Pinto, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Urban Design at the University of Manchester, said in a phone interview.
"The city is a UNESCO site specifically to protect its urban design rules, because what is protected is not the architectural components, but the concept of the building and its relation to the surrounding space. You can demolish a building from the 1960s, even if it's designed by Oscar Niemeyer, as long as you replace it with the same volumes," said Pinto.
However, Brasilia has arguably failed in its grand aim of becoming an open and egalitarian capital, and is instead marred by social segregation, according to Pinto.
"Brazil has a history of social segregation," he said. "Lucio Costa, the designer, assumed that he was being equal by guaranteeing that both a judge and a janitor would have a place in the city, but he forgot about the hundred of thousands of people who built the city and were expected to go back to their (home states) but didn't. And for those people, the city didn't provide anything.
"They lived in slums. When Brasilia was inaugurated, these people were relocated in just one day. And they were relocated further away, in new metropolitan areas. (The planners) tried to make a more egalitarian city, a fair city, but they failed."

Media contributions

TitleThe cities designed to be capitals
Media name/outletCNN
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited States
Date26/09/19
DescriptionA prime modernist example is Brasilia, planned by architect Lucio Costa, with key buildings by Oscar Niemeyer. "Brasilia is designed as a single piece, because it was commissioned to two men with similar ideas who were able to impose very simple but very robust rules of urban design," Nuno Pinto, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Urban Design at the University of Manchester, said in a phone interview.
The slender skyscrapers changing New York's skyline
"The city is a UNESCO site specifically to protect its urban design rules, because what is protected is not the architectural components, but the concept of the building and its relation to the surrounding space. You can demolish a building from the 1960s, even if it's designed by Oscar Niemeyer, as long as you replace it with the same volumes," said Pinto.
However, Brasilia has arguably failed in its grand aim of becoming an open and egalitarian capital, and is instead marred by social segregation, according to Pinto.
"Brazil has a history of social segregation," he said. "Lucio Costa, the designer, assumed that he was being equal by guaranteeing that both a judge and a janitor would have a place in the city, but he forgot about the hundred of thousands of people who built the city and were expected to go back to their (home states) but didn't. And for those people, the city didn't provide anything.
"They lived in slums. When Brasilia was inaugurated, these people were relocated in just one day. And they were relocated further away, in new metropolitan areas. (The planners) tried to make a more egalitarian city, a fair city, but they failed."
URLhttps://edition.cnn.com/style/article/constructed-capital-cities/index.html
PersonsNuno Pinto