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Brazil '98: Introduction
Brazil '98: Participants
Brazil '98: Map of Brazil
Brazil '98: Itinerary
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Introduction
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rio de Janeiro
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rondonio
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Roads to hell
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Deforestation
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Acre
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The working day of a Rubber Tapper in Acre
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The Chico Mendes story
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Manaus
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Para
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Dam Busters
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The Gold Rush and bombing of air strips
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Brasilia D.F.
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rio de Janeiro and the return
Brazil '98: Debates
Brazil '98: Sponsors
Brazil '98: Brazil Facts

From Marabá, in Pará, we fly around
1200 kilometres to the federal capital
of Brazil,

Brasília D.F.

It is situated in the middle of Goiás State, in central Brazil. We will spend only a few days in this astounding city but they will be extremely busy.
We hope to divide our time between visiting the media, politicians, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources, the national base of the National Council of Rubber Tappers and the Institute of Socio-Economic Studies (INESC).
The INESC is an NGO which helped set up extractive reserves in the Brazilian Amazon. We also have another reason for visiting Brasília. In its conception, design and construction, this city represents the opposite of sustainable development. As a planned modernist city it is a symbol of the massive industrial exploitation of natural resources.
When we meet the media (foreign and Brazilian press and television) and the politicians (both Brazilian and the foreign ambassadors), we will discuss the findings of our visit. We will also get their opinions on the future of development not just in the Amazon but for the whole of Brazil. We want to find out whether they think these projects can help resolve the problems Brazil faces or whether they believe they are an obstacle to economic development.
Although we have only a brief time in Brasília, we will have time to marvel at the extraordinary spectacle of the city’s design and architecture. Brasília is a true feat of human endeavour and vision. It is the largest planned city in the world. Commissioned in 1956, by President Juscelino Kubitschek, it expressed the vision of Brazil’s elite at a time of emerging industrial dynamism. As Brazil’s first inland capital it was intended as a catalyst for the economic development of Brazil’s vast untapped interior, including the Amazon.
Others have been less kind about the city: the Royal Institute of British Architects once described it as ‘the backside of the moon’. For others it represents the same destructive spirit and determination which has led to the construction of ‘mega-projects’ in the Amazon and which sees the region as a massive resource for human development.
The city, with its vast stretches of concrete avenues and modernist buildings, can sometimes appear a rather sterile and vapid environment and it is surrounded by a ring of impoverished shanty towns, yet these facts cannot detract from the monumental achievement that the city is. It is shaped in the form of an aeroplane or bird in flight, the architectural symbol of Brazil’s ambition to exploit its inland resources and transform itself into a developed nation. It was designed by the three best Brazilians in their fields: Oscar Niemeyer, inspired by the French founder of the modern planned city, Le Corbusier, was the architect; Lucio Costa was the urban planner; and Burle Marx the landscape architect.
The audacity and ambition of its construction echoed that of its political authors. It was built 125 kilometres from the nearest paved road, 120 kilometres from the nearest timber supply and the nearest source of steel was further still. At the same time the construction of two major highways was also completed: the Belém-Brasília highway and Brazil’s first transcontinental highway. Brasília was conceived, planned and built in under four years.
From Brasília we fly south-east to our final destination, Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro–the return

On our return to Rio de Janeiro we will relax and assess all that we have learned.
By the end of our visit we may have come nearer to answering our initial question: can sustainable development meet the social needs of Brazil? The Amazon visit is only the initial leg of our exchange. On our return we will immediately start finalising the plans for the second leg when representatives from Brazil join us for further debate and an opportunity to understand what we want and expect from development in Europe.
We will also begin a national tour of youth groups, schools and colleges to present our findings and share what we have learned with our peers.