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urbe. Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana

versão On-line ISSN 2175-3369


SIMOES JUNIOR, José Geraldo  e  CAMPOS, Candido Malta. Permanencies of hill urbanism as a Portuguese-Brazilian tradition: the cases of Salvador and São Paulo. urbe, Rev. Bras. Gest. Urbana [online]. 2013, vol.5, n.1, pp.47-69. ISSN 2175-3369.

By understanding the processes of urbanization of hill areas in Brazilian and Portuguese cities, associated to the Portuguese tradition of founding cities in elevated settings, we intend to identify major characteristics of these hilltop areas, as spaces where this strong tradition, present in our urban culture, can be traced. Two paradigmatic cases are studied: Salvador and São Paulo. First urban nucleus with city status founded in Brazil (1549), Salvador had an initial plan outlining street layout, walls and the location of public buildings. The choice of its site in an elevated, dominant setting, with the port at its base, constituting the "high city/low city" duality, marks the hilltop urbanism practiced by Portugal in its colonial empire. São Paulo’s role in Portuguese America was also closely connected with its hilltop implantation. Until 1850 urban life was concentrated in the original acropolis; the downtown area created at the start of the 20th century was built over the same elevation; and urban modernization kept its focus on the primitive core. This insistence on transformation of the central nucleus erased traces of original Portuguese-Brazilian hilltop occupation, altering its layout, morphology, and skyline, and hiding the topography. We propose to recover morphologic elements from the original urbanization of these sites and understand the urban patterns that characterized them; identifying impacts of such practices on urban layouts and configurations, so as to recuperate historic elements, often eclipsed by later interventions, in order to recover the strong relation with the original acropolis site that marked these cities.

Palavras-chave : Urbanism; Hill; Portuguese-Brazilian tradition; Salvador; São Paulo.

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