Neighbourhood unity: a case study of the transformations of a planning idea

2017-12-05T09:43:00Z (GMT) by Renato Leão Rego

Abstract This paper discusses the outcome of the neighborhood unit as a North-American planning idea applied to the layout of three Brazilian new towns: Goiânia – the new capital of Goiás state planned in 1933 and reshaped in 1937; Brasília, whose pilot plan was selected through a 1957 national design competition; and Rurópolis, one of the several new towns planned and built along the Transamazonian highway in early 1970s. In distinct contexts, Brazilian town planners recurrently adopted the configuration of small residential communities grouped around the elementary school settled amid open spaces, apart from vehicles and within abundant greenery, as a modern way to constitute urban cells and thus foster the community sense. However, by analyzing the configuration of the neighborhood unit in these three case studies and report their eventual construction, occupation and use, this paper unveils the transformations of the original idea as a result of the residents’ reactions, due to mismatching or rejection of a certain predetermined life style; thus the paper also points to issues as modern town planning utopia and ideal urban forms.