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24CE - Learning from Brasilia, the Modern City Experiment

24 May 2018 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours


Aspiring to represent higher goals and the fulfilment of a country yet to be made, Brasilia, was inaugurated as the new capital of Brazil in 1960, only three years after the choice of its project. It took great courage, boldness and, one could say, unawareness of the size of the task. Removing the capital from Rio de Janeiro, a globally known city, to a semi-desert region in the middle of the country, not even accessible by roads, would not only hurt feelings, but its economical effort would also leave scars until this day.

A political act or an act of self-affirmation? In bringing together the best human capital of a generation to realize the dream of a city that would constitute itself more than a symbol, but the future of a whole country, aspirations materialized. Or so was its aim.

Between dreaming, planning, good intentions, unintended consequences and the actual city, what lessons can be learned? The positive and negative outcomes of central planning and what parallels can we make to contemporary urban planning, Toronto and other major metropolises of the world.

Learning Objectives

    1. See the differences between good intentions and unintended consequences: the dangers of central planning.
    2. Understand the importance of thinking big: setting the grid and letting the city thrive.
    3. Understand the choice for doing nothing and its consequences: between preservation and asphyxiation.
    4. Learn contemporary urban planning strategies dos and don’ts.


Eduardo Sousa e Silva, B.Arch., Urban

Eduardo Sousa e Silva has a B.Arch. and Urban degrees from the University of Brasilia. He is an author, the director of MeiaUm Architects and responsible for over 500,000,000 square feet of designed area with great focus on residential and mixed use developments for the real estate sector, mostly in Brasilia, Brazil.