Mercer, the multinational consultancy recently announced that Vienna, Austria has been ranked as the city with the best quality of life in the world, for the ninth year in a row. In a ranking that is dominated by European cities in the highest positions, this year Vancouver (5th), Singapore (25th) and Port Louis (83rd) are the highest-ranking cities in North America, Asia, and Africa, respectively.
So, what is happening in Latin America? Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, once again occupies the top position. "Although they are challenged by economic and political turmoil," experts at the consultancy explain, "cities in emerging markets are catching up with major cities, after decades of investment in infrastructure, recreational facilities, and housing for the purpose of attracting talent and multinational businesses," they add.
In its twentieth edition, the consultancy, which specializes in advising multinational companies in employee transfers, evaluates more than 450 cities around the world, analyzing 39 factors divided into 10 categories, including political and economic environment, socio-cultural status, hygiene, educational institutions, leisure, housing, the market, and natural disasters.
If you haven't gotten a chance to visit Brasília, Joana França's photographic projects offer a comprehensive interpretation of the capital of South America's most populous country. França has dedicated a significant part of her career as an architecture photographer to the pursuit of amassing an impressive archive of images of the city planned by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.
We recently published an exceptional selection França's aerial photographs of Brasília divided by scale - residential, monumental, gregarious and bucolic. These overhead views solidify what, in theory, is already evident: the city lacks human scale, or the human scale of Brasília is just vast and (perhaps) not very human at all.
On Thursday 29 of June, Jan Gehl the Danish architect and urban planner, spoke at the Conference “Thinking urban: cities for people” organised by UN-Habitat and the Official Architects College of Madrid (COAM as it is abbreviated in Spanish) about the urban transformations that have occurred in Copenhagen as a result of the errors of the modernist movement and the challenges facing the cities in the 21st century.
In a prior discussion with José María Ezquiaga (dean of COAM), and José Manuel Calvo (councilor of the Sustainable Development Area at the Madrid city council) at the Conference, Gehl highlighted the urban paradigm at the time of his student years, which is referred to as the Brasilia syndrome.
"What characterizes and gives meaning to Brasilia is a game of three scales... the residential or everyday scale... the so-called monumental scale, in which man acquires a collective dimension; the urbanistic expression of a new concept of nobility... Finally the gregarious scale, in which dimensions and space are deliberately reduced and concentrated in order to create a climate conducive to grouping... We can also add another fourth scale, the bucolic scale of open areas intended for lakeside retreats or weekends in the countryside." - Lucio Costa in an interview with Jornal do Brasil, November 8, 1961.
Photographer Joana França shared with us an impressive series of aerial photographs of the national capital of Brazil, Brasilia. The photoset is divided into four sub-series each presenting a scale: residential, monumental, gregarious and bucolic.