Urban planning porn for advocates of highway demolition.

Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of massively remaking itself in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Olympics and life beyond both as the international capital of one of the world's fastest growing economies. The process has been ambitious and controversial, with Olympic venues and all manner of new infrastructure envisioned atop a crowded landscape of existing favelas and old patchwork development.

The city is creating, of course, big new sports venues and an Olympic village, plans that will transform adjacent neighborhoods (and, hopefully, the transportation between them). But the urban metamorphosis that has most caught our eye is the reconstruction of the city's waterfront, a project that will run into the early 2020s. The city is planning to demolish the elevated Perimetral Highway that runs along the coast, while rebuilding the streetscape in its place and constructing a six-lane, 1.6-kilometer underground tunnel. The plans call for 650 thousand square meters of new sidewalks, 15,000 trees, new light rail infrastructure, three sewage treatment plants and a "Museum of Tomorrow."

The whole project is a 15-year undertaking, starting with the city's port. But you can watch the entire thing unroll as if in a planner's dream in three minutes in this break-neck animation produced by the city. The highway vanishes as trees and happy transit commuters pop up. The future literally sprints across the city toward the airport, erasing everything in its wake.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown

    Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

  2. photo: an open-plan office
    Life

    Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office

    Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.

  3. photo: The Pan-Am Worldport at JFK International Airport, built in 1960,
    Design

    Why Airports Die

    Expensive to build, hard to adapt to other uses, and now facing massive pandemic-related challenges, airport terminals often live short, difficult lives.

  4. Life

    The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials

    Millennials are already in debt and without savings. After the next downturn, they’ll be in even bigger trouble.

  5. photo: Social-distancing stickers help elevator passengers at an IKEA store in Berlin.
    Transportation

    Elevators Changed Cities. Will Coronavirus Change Elevators?

    Fear of crowds in small spaces in the pandemic is spurring new norms and technological changes for the people-moving machines that make skyscrapers possible.

×