Civicscape and Memoryscape: The First Vargas Regime and Rio de Janeiro
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In 1927, Antonio Prado Junior, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, contracted French urbanist Alfred Agache (1875–1959) to design a master plan for the Brazilian capital city. A sweeping physical and aesthetic reform of Rio seemed within the reach of municipal authorities and their federal protectors. By the time Prado Junior received the plan’s final version, in October 1930, the enthusiasm for large-scale reform in a city that had a population of 1.1 million plus had diminished significantly. The global economic seizure that began the previous October had wreaked havoc on public and private finances, while an armed insurrection, emerging out of a breakdown in civilian power-sharing arrangements, was bearing down on the capital. On paper, the so-called Plano Agachel1 held the potential to elevate Prado Junior to the peerage of Francisco Pereira Passos, the prefect credited with the urban and sanitation reforms of Rio’s belle époque.2 For Agache and his team, the plan would be a major accomplishment for the cause of the Société Française D’Urbanistes and its particular style of applied sociology. However, the upheavals of 1929–30—which included continued bad economic news, the arrest of the president and Prado Junior, and the arrival of a reformist civilian-military coalition rallying behind gaúcho statesman Getúlio Vargas (1883–1954)—rendered unviable any full-scale implementation of Agache’s plan.
KeywordsFederal District Civic Culture Symbolic Violence National Anthem Patron Saint
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