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Developing City Model – People in Planning in “Belo”, Brazil

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on June 27th, 2007

Belo Horizonte or “Belo”, Brazil, experienced an incredible make-over towards sustainability in the early 1990s due primarily to the incorporation of the participatory budget process. A city numbering 2.3 million inhabitants with a history of industrial development causing massive pollution and after more than 20 years of dictatorship, the election of an obscure left-winged mayor and backed social movements saw the inclusion of “an administrative measure that allows the people to decide where to allocate public funds, by choosing their priorities in function of a given sum”. Hundreds of small-scale, democratically-chosen projects followed, cleaning up the city while lowering violence. According to Pimentel, the current mayor, “It’s no longer possible to imagine improved living conditions without respect for the environment, that’s to say the planet’s well-being and future generations. That’s what we call sustainable development. The people choose and we invest in programmes that take these things into consideration.” See the article by Renan Antunes de Oliveira for more details of this sustainable and participatory transformation.

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