Modern Marvel??

The negative social impacts of this spatial segregation are compounded by the absence of suitable public spaces for social interaction in downtown Brasilia, while those that exist are poorly maintained and are not easily accessible for lack of pedestrian friendly streets.

Overall, there is a loss of urbanity in the agglomeration, as the majority of the distinctly dual territory in the metropolitan area is poorly served and offers meager living conditions to the population. The social, functional, and spatial segregation in Brasilia also impacts the population’s sense of belonging as the majority of the population does not live in the city created by its designers, the one with internationally recognized monuments and public spaces, but lives in settlements lacking infrastructure, services, landmarks, and civic spaces.

Aside from their long commute for employment and suitable services, the experience of these lower-income citizens is similar to most periphery dwellers in developing countries, rather than inhabitants of a monumental capital with worldwide recognition for its design.

The government’s control of Federal District land and its conservative approach to land development provided scant opportunities for expansion of new settlements within the Brasilia DF, diverting development to cities in the neighboring State of Goias, such as Aguas Lindas, Santo Antonio, Nuovo Gama, Valparaiso, and Cidade Ocidental.

Consequently, the population within Brasilia’s labor market lives under the jurisdiction of two state entities and several municipalities, which generates a classical inter-jurisdiction coordination and management problem, impacting the quality of services for the members of the unified labor market.

Today, in functional terms, Brasilia is a spatially segregated monocentric metropolitan area, offering diverse living conditions to its inhabitants. On one hand, a diminishing amount of higher income households occupy the high cost residential areas in the super blocks of the Plano Piloto, which has a strong urban image, unity of building forms, and monumental civic public spaces and offers high standards of infrastructure and urban services in health, education, recreation, and open space. On the other hand, the majority of low-income households live in the poorly-served, expanding periphery, characterized by loose, informal urban structure, eclectic building forms and materials, and a lack of urban landmarks and civic spaces. Residents are far from the downtown area and have little social contact with its middle and upper class residents, while they also face a shortage of potable water; inefficient sanitary disposal of wastes; a lack of formal employment; inadequate health and education services; poor roads; and scarcity of recreational areas and open space. In order to encounter better services and employment opportunities, much of this population must travel a significant distance daily to downtown Brasilia, or settle for substandard services and informal job opportunities.

Despite the good intentions of the designers, from its foundation Brasilia became spatially segregated with two types of urbanized areas: the Plano Piloto, and informal settlements, located in the periphery and consisting mainly of low-income households, lacking infrastructure, urban services, and a formal urban structure.

The egalitarian ideals of the Modern Architecture Movement, to provide housing and quality services to all households within integrated neighborhoods, have never been attained.

Although the government exercised full control of urbanized land, land prices grew rapidly, due to the high demand from high and medium income groups and the restricted supply of urbanized land in the Plano Piloto, which forced lower income families into the periphery. As a result, both types of settlements, the formal city and the informal periphery, grew at a similar pace in the 50 years of Brasilia’s existence.

In the late 1970s and 80s, periphery settlements proliferated, as the residential areas of the Plano Piloto were almost completed. The declaration of Brasilia as a World Heritage Site froze development and prevented the recycling, densification, and diversification of land uses within the Plano Piloto, forcing new developments to the outskirts of the monumental city while a significant portion of the land designated for government and service activities remained vacant.

The economic urban area of Brasilia currently houses 2 million inhabitants in the Brasilia Federal District, and more than 350,000 people in cities within a 50 kilometer radius of the downtown area in the State of Goias. The areas outside the Federal District are growing rapidly, experiencing population increase rates that grew from 2.7% per year in the 1970s, to 4% in the 1980s, and 5.4% in the 1990s and early 2000s. On the contrary, the population of the Federal District that grew 14% per annum in the 1960s and 1970s descended to 8% in the 1980s, and to 2.8% in the 1990s and early 2000s

The negative social impacts of this spatial segregation are compounded by the absence of suitable public spaces for social interaction in downtown Brasilia, while those that exist are poorly maintained and are not easily accessible for lack of pedestrian friendly streets.

Overall, there is a loss of urbanity in the agglomeration, as the majority of the distinctly dual territory in the metropolitan area is poorly served and offers meager living conditions to the population. The social, functional, and spatial segregation in Brasilia also impacts the population’s sense of belonging as the majority of the population does not live in the city created by its designers, the one with internationally recognized monuments and public spaces, but lives in settlements lacking infrastructure, services, landmarks, and civic spaces.

Aside from their long commute for employment and suitable services, the experience of these lower-income citizens is similar to most periphery dwellers in developing countries, rather than inhabitants of a monumental capital with worldwide recognition for its design.

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