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Uncovering the city: Abuja

Wide avenues, extensive green areas and government buildings on a monumental axis. A typical scene of cities like Brasilia, Washington D.C. or Canberra, which were built from scratch to serve as new government headquarters. Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, also shares a similar story, but with a very different socioeconomic context.

The construction of Abuja began in the early 1970s and officially became the capital of Nigeria in December 1991, replacing the congested and overpopulated city of Lagos. Abuja was built for reasons similar to those of Brasilia, as both sought to move political power away from their original capitals. Additionally, Abuja has a strategic location in the centre of Nigeria and also houses the main centres of worship of the two main religions of the country: Christianity and Islam.





27 years after the establishment as a national capital, Abuja has become the second largest metropolis in Nigeria, with a population close to three million inhabitants. A number that…
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Cities from the scratch then and now: Premodern capitals

Many cities around the world have been planned and built from scratch. Although this is not something invented by modern urbanism, since the mid-nineteenth century the rise of industrialization and the emergence of new states and countries have led to the creation of new settlements with different purposes, ranging from their function as national capital or state, to simply serve as a dormitory for workers and families.
Cities designed from scratch have also served as real-scale experimentation laboratories for some of the most widespread theories of urbanism in the last two centuries. From the garden cities and even the modern movement, these settlements have allowed us to learn from the successes and mistakes about many aspects of urban design and planning.

A good way to reflect on this experience is to make a comparison between the original master plans and the current state of those cities. There are, of course, many political, economic and social factors that have influenced whe…

How are cable cars improving mobility and reducing segregation in Latin America?

Cable cars are systems used to transport people and goods to places where using other means is much more complicated and expensive. Traditionally cable cars have been installed in tourist attractions such as theme parks and winter resorts, however, more and more cities around the world are taking advantage of their potential, using cable cars as part of their mass transit network.
In countries such as Colombia and Bolivia, where several of its main cities are located in areas of complex topography, cable cars have become a practical solution for mobility. From Medellin to La Paz, these systems have transformed the urban trips of millions of people, improving accessibility to the districts furthest from the central areas, which were difficult to access through traditional transportation systems.

La Paz, the seat of Government of Bolivia and one of the highest cities in the world, is an example of how cable cars can become the main structure of the entire urban transport network. The m…

Five new centres of contemporary architecture

Many cities in the world that stand out for their ancient architecture, for their medieval fortresses or for the richness of their baroque and neoclassical buildings. However, there are more and more cities that are standing out for their bold and contemporary developments, which have become increasingly recognized internationally. The following cities are part of this group of new “hubs” of contemporary architecture:


Rotterdam
Endless canals and picturesque houses. That is perhaps the most common image of Dutch cities. Rotterdam, however, has decided to dissociate itself from this traditional image and has embarked on a daring urban transformation that has captivated architects and designers from all over the world.
Named now by many as “the most futuristic city in Europe”, Rotterdam has become a “laboratory” for the exploration of bold and even controversial architectural projects. From bus stops to bridges and high-rise buildings, this city has left behind the destruction of the wa…