Location | Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Belo Horizonte represents one of many grid cities with both positive and negative aspects. The city core designed by Aarão Reis outdoes Washington DC’s triangular grid design by L’Enfant. It has a number of wide boulevards with trees, green areas and, in Brazilian style, express lanes in the middle and local lanes on the sides. The layout of the city gives off a good feeling, and has much resemblance to the Eixample design in Barcelona. However, like some other grid cities developed over time, the pattern and/or sense direction is lost when moving outside the city core.

Reis’s design of the city emphasises a rationalization of urban space based on mathematical principles. The rigid triangular street grid ignores local topography, and divided the city into zones which represented the desire to create a new form of modern space in which inhabitants would themselves become more modern. His design focused on the place of government but also strove to associate it with modern technology and for it to be a symbol of industrialism.