1.         Brasilia (Brazil) (C 445)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (i)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/445/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 42,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/445/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

November 2001: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission; March 2012: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Urban pressure that may affect the original city plan (Plano Piloto) that warranted inscription in the World Heritage List;

b) Lack of a Master Plan.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/445/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 6 May 2012, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011). From 13 to 17 March 2012, a joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out at the property. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/36COM

a) Legislative and regulatory frameworks and urban planning mechanisms

The State Party reports that the Preservation Plan for the Urban Complex of Brasilia (Plano de Preservação do Conjunto Urbanístico de Brasília - PPCUB) has not been completed. The Instituto do Patrimonio Historico e Artistico Nacional (IPHAN) considers that the Plan still requires considerable review of its provisions and has yet to be completed. No timeframe for its finalization has been provided. Regarding the Land Management Master Plan (PDOT), the State Party notes that it is currently being updated. IPHAN did not participate in the drafting of the Plan and it is not indicated whether this national agency, mandated with the conservation and protection of cultural heritage, will be involved in the on-going review process. As for the Law on Land Use and Occupation (LUOS), this is also in the process of being developed.

The mission noted the various pieces of legislation, regulations and decrees which provide protection for the Plano Piloto of Brasilia. It also reiterated the findings of the 2001 reactive monitoring mission that since the time of inscription, the Government of the Federal District has issued additional urban and architectural regulations that have not always been in conformity with previous legislative measures passed at the national and local level.

The Plano Diretor de Ordenamento Territorial do Distrito Federal (PDOT) is the main tool for decision making regarding urban development of the area comprising the Plano Piloto and 30 satellite cities. The Plano de Preservacao do Conjunto Urbanistico de Brasilia (PPCUB), which is the tool for the preservation, planning and management of Brasilia’s urban compound, is at the final phase of development. Although two public hearings have taken place, the mission noted expressions of dissatisfaction from civil society regarding the consultation methods. After a third public hearing and finalization of the draft document, IPHAN-DF will review it and then submit for approval by the Government of the Federal District. The mission reviewed the preliminary draft of the PPCUB and noted several contradictions in the provisions in terms of legal protection measures already in place and alterations in zoning and land use that could prove detrimental to the conservation and protection of the characteristics and spirit of the original Plano Piloto. These deficiencies will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency; the ongoing consultation process should be halted and reformulated to allow for a thorough review of the provisions in the document and to ensure that the attributes of the World Heritage property and the conditions of authenticity and integrity continue to be met.

b) Buffer zone

The State Party reports that IPHAN has issued Directive No. 68 in February 2012 which provides for delineation of the boundaries of Brasilia’s Urban Compound. Guidelines to maintain the preservation of the Plano Piloto and to protect the visibility were also identified. These include restrictions to land use as well as building height limits. The effects of the Directive will be monitored over the coming six months to guide the final directives enacted for all areas within the buffer zone. The proposed boundaries, as well as regulatory measures will be examined as part of the Retrospective Inventory process within the framework of the Periodic Reporting exercise of the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

c) Management structure

The mission reported that there are several government agencies at the national and local level which have mandates that include the protection, conservation and management of the property. However, there is no management structure in place or inter-institutional platform to coordinate the conservation of the property which leads to an overlapping of functions, efficiency problems in the decision-making processes and in the implementation of actions. Generally, there is a lack of cooperation between the Government of the Federal District and IPHAN for the protection of the property.

d) Current conditions

The State Party reports on the current status of sectors noted by the World Heritage Committee in its previous sessions. Regarding the South Commercial District, it notes that since the passing of legislation, few adaptations have occurred, but that their full enforcement will require the adoption of a firmer stance by the Federal District Government in their implementation. As for the Vila Planalto District, it reported that the discussion of the Action Plan will be undertaken within the context of the review of the PPCUB. In regard to the Lake Paranoa Waterfront, it is also reported that the PPCUB will address regulations, although standards for development have yet to be fully formulated. Particular attention will need to be placed on the landmarked status of the area and the proposals for intervention. The State Party also reports that information pertaining to development at the Grandes Areas Norte (901 Sector) indicate the intention of the Federal District Government to alter current use to allow for high rise buildings. IPHAN has not approved any projects for this area. The report also notes that a comprehensive Urban Transportation Master Plan needs to be developed to address existing needs and also project longer-term solutions.

The mission noted that Brasilia is a dynamic city facing challenges in terms of the preservation of the Plano Piloto. Various social and economic factors have resulted in a steep increase in housing prices, increase in pressures to change land use, increase in construction volumes or pressure to privatize open areas foreseen as public spaces. Today, there are thirty satellite cities that have different levels of development, infrastructure and services needs. A metropolitan strategy that considers both the Plano Piloto and the surroundings needs to be developed to have coherent practices across the board in terms of land policies, transport policies and criteria for the protection of the inscribed property and the adequate development of its surroundings. It is particularly relevant to control land sale policy in the interior of the superquadras to prevent degradation of the original Costa project in terms of alterations to volumes and heights. It is also important to discontinue the privatization of common property, as this leads to the enclosing of open spaces and impacting an essential attribute of the project, which considers maintaining the interior space of the superquadras unaltered as a fundamental priority in the Plano Piloto. Public transport between satellite cities, the pilot nucleus and areas designed for leisure activities in the original Costa project remains one of the critical issues to be addressed.

In terms of the monumental scale, the mission found that green spaces and buildings are in generally good condition. As in 2001, it found some small and informal structures between buildings, so the incipient introduction of aggregates needs to be better controlled. As for the residential scale, the mission considers the general status is acceptable and there has been no alterations to the residential axis and the layout and form of occupation of the superquadras that characterize this scale. However, the situation of the entrequadras has been altered as there have been irregular expansions into free spaces. Stricter control is needed to prevent further loss of green sectors and to deter irregular construction of structures in a disorderly and precarious fashion. The mission noted the serious state of deterioration of the W3 Avenue sector and the alteration in appearance and scale of the attached houses which have been changed from residential use. There is a project for interventions in the area both in terms of open space and buildings and proposals for regularization of the existing occupations. The mission considered it critical to prevent further expansions.

Regarding the gregarious scale, the mission reported that the four areas which comprise it have a heterogeneous aspect and have varied the most from the original project. Variations in building heights disturb the general harmony which characterizes the city. In terms of the bucolic scale, the mission noted the pressure on the area regarding changes in use, inappropriate occupation and loss of open spaces. It considered that this area requires most attention to sustain the attributes that warranted inscription on the World Heritage List and to maintain the conditions of authenticity and integrity. Particular attention needs to be placed on planning for the north-west sector to maintain the original relationship between the Plano Piloto and its surroundings. The ParanoáLakeShore is another critical area that needs to be prioritized for interventions to ensure that facilities developed do not have irregular uses for the scale and that the characteristics of an open and natural space are preserved. The expansion of Vila Planalto also needs to be controlled and efforts made to preserve the original vernacular character of the village. Priority should be placed on the legal definition of the polygonal of the area to prevent further expansions. The mission considered that formal alterations in original design, control of use and control of development in the setting need to be better managed and planned for in order to prevent loss of authenticity. In terms of integrity, it is critical that accurate legal provisions are made to ensure that pressures derived from land speculation do not jeopardize the conditions that warranted inscription on the World Heritage List.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that there are critical issues which need to be comprehensively addressed by the State Party to ensure that the attributes sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property are adequately protected and managed.  They recommend that the Committee express its concern about the limited progress made in addressing the recommendations of the 2001 mission which has exacerbated the conditions previously highlighted. They also note that numerous developments are foreseen and that the technical specifications for these projects have not been submitted, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for consideration and review. These include, among others, the intervention in the Stadio area and the project for VLT-Light Vehicles on Rails, which has started construction without the requisite Heritage Impact Assessment.  The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are of the view that land speculation and development pressures could potentially threaten the property, particularly in light of the development foreseen within the framework of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  There is also a need for strict and urgent enforcement of regulations and coordination of approval processes for planned infrastructure to ensure that there are no impacts on the property and that security of attendees is guaranteed through adequate design of new construction.  

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.97

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.121, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Takes note of the results of the 2012 reactive monitoring mission to the property, endorses its recommendations and requests the State Party to implement them, with priority actions on the following processes:

a)  Ensure that the original characteristics, spirit and scale of the original project designed by Lucio Costa, which warranted inscription on the World Heritage List, are contemplated in the Plano de Preservacao do Conjunto Urbanistico de Brasilia (PPCUB),

b)  Establish an operational and efficient management system to coordinate the decision-making process and enhance cooperation regarding the conservation and management of the property through the definition of a legal framework, the creation of a central management structure for the World Heritage property, the clarification of roles and responsibilities of the involved administrative authorities and the allocation of necessary resources for its adequate operation at the local, regional and national levels,

c)  Put in place mechanisms to ensure that heritage impact assessments are carried out prior to granting approvals, and submit to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies detailed information and technical specifications as they become available, on proposals for land use and new urban interventions, that may alter or threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the property,

d)  Submit the proposals for infrastructure development at the Stadio and its surroundings, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for evaluation by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, prior to any intervention,

e)  Enforce regulations to prohibit the construction of new buildings in open spaces defined by the Plano Piloto, and to maintain the characteristics of each urban scale,

f)   Develop a comprehensive strategy for public transportation and submit, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, technical specifications for major developments foreseen;

4.   Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.