This paper intends to draw a comparison between the planning system of Brazil and Portugal focusing in two metropolitan regions. The study case in Brazil is Belo Horizonte, capital city of Minas Gerais, the Brazil’s second biggest state in size. In Portugal the study will be focused in the metropolitan area of Porto, the Portugal’s second most important economic area. Those two countries were chosen for having a historic past together. And the choice of metropolitan regions has been made based on the likeness of economic importance for their respective country, rather than the similarity between the cities and its metropolitan region.
Firstly, the paper will draw a brief geographical picture of the regions, with some useful statistics for a better understanding of each. Secondly a quick view into the evolution of the urban planning policy of each country, together with a map of the hierarchy of the actual administrative planning structure of each. Then an analysis comparing how the policies are applied in each region, and if there is any specific policy for metropolitan regions in both countries.
Short geographic description
Belo Horizonte is a young city planned at the end of the 19th century, more precisely in 1897. The government of the Minas Gerais State put lots of efforts in building its infrastructure to attract industrial capital and to populate its new capital city (Costa, 2012). Its proximity to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and its diversified economy made the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte the third in size and forth biggest economic area of Brazil. The region is composed by 34 municipalities and almost 5 million inhabitants, being half of the population resident in Belo Horizonte (Costa, 2012).
Porto is a historical city situated at the northern region of Portugal, its history goes back many centuries. Its location along the river Douro estuary makes of Porto a strategic market city and for that reason it is the second economic area of Portugal. The metropolitan area’s economy is based in traditional sectors and nowadays it needs to be revitalized and repositioned in the international market (Marques, 2004). The metropolitan area of Porto is composed by 17 municipalities and almost 2, 5 million inhabitants, having a third of the population of the whole northern region of Portugal (Marques, 2005).
Brazil – Planning system evolution
In Brazil, the struggle for urban reform started in the 1960’s; at that time the main issue was related to agrarian reform but the military coup in 1964 did not allowed the reform to happen (Junior and Uzzo, 2010).
The authoritarian regime start to easy up in the 1970’s and 1980’s when social movements starts to gain political weight, their demand was for more social equality. In 1985, military regime got to an end, at that time the urban population of Brazil had almost reached the 75% and the cities spaces where totally segregated with no basic infrastructure. A national urban reform movement was...