Rio de Janeiro Named a UNESCO World Capital of Architecture

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It’s the first city to be given the honor.

UNESCO––global agency aimed at promoting collaboration among the world’s nations and protecting the world’s many historic sites––has teamed up with the International Union of Architects (UIA) to create a new initiative focused on creating “a setting for an international forum where solutions to issues related to culture, cultural heritage, urban planning, and architecture can be developed,” according to Dezeen.


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In short, the new initiative will honor cities known for their attention to architecture and city planning and Rio de Janeiro is the first metropolis to receive the prestige. "We want to highlight how architects, with the help of local governments and communities, can play a key role in identifying solutions that benefit communities,” UIA President Thomas Vonier shared in a statement around the new title.


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It’s much more than just a nice title, though. Every three years, a new city will be given the appellation and will play a huge role in planning and hosting the UIA’s annual World Congress event. Institutions based in Rio will work with the UIA and UNESCO to plan events to bring people from all angles of city planning and building into one space to share ideas and aspirations for the future, from urban planners and policymakers to architects and writers.


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Each World Congress gathering will have a different theme. The overarching theme at the World Congress in Rio––which is happening in 2020––will be “All the worlds. Just one world.” This conference will be focused on the UIA’s 11th goal from the 2030 agenda, which reads: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

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Rio de Janeiro is no stranger to UNESCO titles. In December 2017, the city was the very first to earn the recognition aan a Urban and Cultural Landscape honoree. For more information on the World Capital of Heritage title and the collaboration with the UIA, visit the UNESCO website.