By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A study by UFRJ’s Architecture and Urbanism Faculty has found that Rio’s Centro Zone, excluding the Port Zone, has the capacity to build 150,000 residential properties in abandoned or unused areas.

Rio’s Centro Zone, Port Zone, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Rio’s Centro Zone, sits behind the recently revitalized Port Zone, photo by Bruno Bartholini.

Urban planners from the UFRJ faculty argue that developing residential property in Centro would be a sensible move, as recent developments to the area mean fewer investments would be needed.

Between 2011 and 2015, the city directed residential development towards Zona Oeste (West Zone), particularly in Planning Area (AP) 4, Barra and Jacarepagua. The area had the highest number of residential licenses granted to any of Rio’s five APs during this time.

AP3, made up of Zona Norte (North Zone), Zona da Leopoldina and Ilha do Governador, registered the second highest number of residential licenses. However, AP4 received substantially more licenses than AP3 between 2011 and 2014: at its peak, AP4 received 13,265 more residential licenses than AP3. In 2015 AP3 managed to surpass AP4, but only by 364 licenses.

Centro Rio, Residential property, Rio de Janeiro, Centro, Port Zone, Brazil, Brazil News
UFRJ’s Architecture and Urbanism Faculty has found that Rio’s Centro Zone has the capacity to build 150,000 residential properties, photo by Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Yet now it is Centro that has the Olympic Boulevard, Museu do Amanhã and Museu do Arte which provide the area’s social function in the form of recreational and public spaces. The VLT is yet another level of transport infrastructure serving the area, in addition to existing metro and bus lines.

Despite these developments, UFRJ’s study found that AP1, which includes Centro, São Cristovão and even Santa Teresa had the lowest average number of residential licenses granted between 2011 and 2015.

For Harry Taylor, a British expatriate living in Rio and an owner of Moby Self Storage located near the Port Zone, shared, “What was once a very run-down area is now thriving and you could be excused for thinking you’re in Barcelona or Miami when visiting.”

Adding, “It’s clear that there is massive potential for further development throughout the Centro area, from Lapa all the way through to São Cristovão. The advantages are obvious to those who are working in the Centro region, reduced commuting times, brand new apartments with the latest facilities, all the shopping nearby and with the new VLT and Metro lines, easy to get to the beach when you want to.”

The SuperVia train transport also serves Centro better than Zona Oeste, according to experts speaking to Globo on December 11th, who said that rail transport is proven to ease congestion and reduce journey times.


  1. Well, you don’t need a study to see that Rio is already overcrowded without a decent infrastructure. So the last thing it needs is another 150,000 properties. How about using the area for a parc or something else that would benefit the general public instead?


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