Coronavirus

Could the pandemic make Brasília a model for cities?

The Brazilian capital can come across as cold, with limited in-person interaction. Perhaps that's exactly what the world will want after the pandemic

brasília urban planning pandemic
Three Powers Square, in Brasília. Photo: GDF/Bento Vian/Flickr

One of the first impressions a first-time visitor has of Brasília, Brazil’s uniquely modernist capital city, is: where are all the people? At least, that was my impression upon alighting at the central bus station for the first time, 22 years ago, and taking a ride down the Monumental Axis — an avenue with six lanes on each side, separated by a huge grass median the size of many amateur football pitches. I always knew, even before moving to Brasília, that the Brazilian capital was unique in its urban planning — but it took me a while to get used to...

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