Aspectos do fato urbano no Brasil


  • Pedro Pinchas Geiger
  • Fany Davidovich


Urbanização, Geografia urbana, Regiões metropolitanas


            The article is divided in to two parts: the first deals with the problems of Brazilian urban structure and the second with the big capital cities and urban networks.

            In relation to the urban structure, the percentage of urban population is strikingly low and amounted, in 1950, to a bare 36% of the total, including the suburban sector. The urban population is by no means evenly distributed: strong concentration is to be found in cities of a million inhabitants or more and in very small localities of 5,000 or less, Rio and São Paulo together account for over 26% of the urban population, while very minor urban centers add up to rather more than 25%. The medium to large cities, ranging respectively from 20,000 to 80,000 and 80,000 to 500,000 inhabitants, thus stand out less strongly in the overall urban pattern of the country.

            The distribution of Brazilian cities is markedly unbalanced: the majority of important urban centers are strung out along the seacoast, contrasting with the vast emptiness of the interior, but even this urban fringe is far from continuous; groups of cities are to be distinguished, corresponding to distinct geographical zones, e. g. the Northeastern Littoral; the Southeast made up of the Rio de Janeiro-Minas Gerais and São Paulo state groups; the Santa Catarina-Paraná area; and the Extreme South. The highest urban density corresponds to the Southeast which holds about 50% of the country's urban population.

            On the basis of Prof. ROCHEFORT's concept of the modern city, which he defines as a center of functions of industrial relationship and support, the authors classify Brazilian cities as follows: 1. the great national metropolises, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; 2. the large modern cities, Recife, Porto Alegre, Campinas, Belo Horizonte, etc.; 3. the industrial centers, Petrópolis, Sorocaba, Paulista, etc.; 4. the great commercial centers, Belém, Fortaleza, etc.; 5. the medIum, to small active commercial centers of the agricultural! regions, Ilhéus-Itabuna, Londrina, Anápolis, etc.; 6. the administrative centers, Florianópolis, Teresina, Brasília, etc.: 7. declining cities or centers of stagnant or poorly developed areas, Diamantina, Parati, Marabá, etc.; 8. centers of strictly local significance.

            In accordance with this criterion, it has been possible to organize three geographic areas; in the first most of the modern industrial cities are to be found; the second encompasses a large number of commercial centers as well; while in the third these two categories are practically nonexistent.

           The Brazilian urban pattern has also been viewed in the light of historical evolution, as regards problems of site, position, urban structure and functions of cities. Three long periods are considered: colonial up to 1850; Brazil, independent and agrarian, from 1850 to 1920; and, most recently, industrial development.

            Though still retaining marked colonial features revealed in the types and functions of various cities, and in the unchanging fringe pattern of the main urban agglomerations, the present urban organization tends, however, towards a higher degree of articulation in place of the former fragmentary structure. It is headed by the two major capital cities, São Paulo and Rio, each with a population of more than 3 million inhabitants, which rank among the world's great international metropolises.

            The present urban setting is regarded from the point of view of the urban networks that gather together a group of cities in ascending order crowned by a metropolis. This brings us to the second part of the article in which the capital cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador and Belém are considered. The study of the metropolitan cities begins by a brief historical sketch, proceeding to an examination of the extent of the corresponding metropolitan areas, functions and urban structure. In a discussion of the urban networks subordinated thereto, special emphasis is laid on the regional capitals and centers of major importance.

            The authors conclude by pointing out that the Brazilian metropolises reflect the economic and social setting of the country, which combines an agrarian structure still centered on exports and an agrarian structure with industrial activity subordinated to it. For the time being, the most expressive industrial and urban development in Brazil is concentrated in the state capital of São Paulo; at the other extreme lies Belém do Pará.

            Attention is drawn to the increasing dominance of the modern Brasilian city over the rural pattern; conditions of long standing are being modified or new ones introduced as dictated by the requirements of the urban market.