Video: What remains of the utopia of Brasilia?

In the 1950s, those who designed and built the man-made capital of Brasilia had dreamed of a city capable of offering a better life to its people. What remains of these ideals? Built for 500,000 inhabitants, it is now home to three million. Brasilia is bursting at the seams and is now the capital of a country shaken by social change and a deep crisis of confidence in its political class.


Built in just a thousand days, Brasilia was the brainchild of President Juscelino Kubitschek. The city was supposed to attract economic development to the centre of the country, far from the coastal cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

But more than that, Brasilia represented a new social order, a socialist political project based on egalitarian ideas. A utopia which would give access to housing, job creation, a good standard of living and social integration. The towering monuments of architect Oscar Niemeyer have divided opinion. Brasilia gives a whole new meaning to modernity.

Today, the capital is growing three times faster than any other city in Brazil. It was originally designed for 500,000 people. By 2030 the population is expected to reach 5.6 million, 15 times more than that originally envisaged by urban planner Lucio Costa. What remains today of the values and egalitarian vision of its builders?

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