Amid the discussions that arise about the concessions of the Plano Piloto Bus Station, the Galeria dos Estados and the parking areas of CONIC and Conjunto Nacional, it is worth bringing to light the vision of urban planner Lúcio Costa and his reflections on the right to the city .
The debate about the city’s function and the relationship between public and private space is vital for the future of Brasília and the quality of life of its citizens.
Lúcio Costa, urban planner responsible for the plane-shaped layout of the city, had a conception of the city that transcended mere arrangements of buildings and roads. His plan aimed to create spaces for coexistence, exchange and integration. In his view, the city should be more than a pile of buildings: it should be a space for living and belonging.
The concept of “Right to the City”, coined by Henri Lefebvre, reflects on citizens’ access to urban space and all the possibilities it offers. It is a defense of public space as a place of expression, culture, coexistence and, above all, democracy.
The concession of these spaces, especially to the private sector, can represent a significant loss in democratic access and full use of the city. The risk is that the logic of profit supplants the social, cultural and coexistence function that such spaces represent.
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The Galeria dos Estados, for example, is already the stage for various cultural, artistic and social events. Transforming it, through a strictly commercial logic, can erase this history and silence voices that find their place of expression there. Likewise, the Bus Station, a historical heritage, is at risk of losing its identity and social function.
It is clear that the maintenance and revitalization of these spaces is necessary. However, it is crucial that such interventions are designed in a participatory way, with the involvement of civil society, artists, traders and all those who make the city what it is.
Other models, other than private ones, should be considered. Collaborative and participatory governance models need to be studied and considered.
The city is, ultimately, a reflection of the society that inhabits it. It must be modeled according to the needs, desires and dreams of its inhabitants, and not just according to the financial interests of a minority.
In times of increasing privatization of urban space, it is vital to defend the right to the city. May Brasília, the country’s symbol city, be an example of resistance and reaffirmation of interaction and collectivity, guaranteeing a lively, participatory and truly democratic city.
*Rafael Reis is a Public Policy manager and general coordinator of the Instituto Cultural e Social No Setor.
**This is an opinion article. The author’s view does not necessarily express the editorial line of the newspaper Brasil de Fato.
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Source: BdF Distrito Federal
Editing: Flávia Quirino