March 15th, 2008
Brasilia, the capitol of Brazil, represents an example of what humanity must do in this early part of the 21st century. In my last column, I discussed the history of this great city and the fact that it was created in the late 1950s to be â€œthe capitol of the third millenniumâ€ and that it was built literally in the middle of Brazil hundreds of miles from the nearest city. In other words the eyes of the visionaries who built the city were completely focused on the future. What should a capitol of the future look like? How should it be laid out? How can future governmental needs and functionality be anticipated and planned for?
It is this type of thinking on a grand scale that is needed now more than ever as humanity approaches 7 billion in number, the planet is warming, water scarcity is growing and we have entered our global stage of evolution. Forward thinking these days seems to come primarily from innovative, fast moving, companies in the private sector. National leaders seem increasingly to be following their citizens rather than leading them. There seems to be a reliance on past processes as ways to confront the future. There is a growing number of people who are now realizing that many of the â€˜old ways of doing thingsâ€™ have run their course and that new approaches are essential for facing the issues. This is, to be sure, one of the forces fueling the success of Barack Obama in …
March 12th, 2008
Brasilia is the futuristic capitol of Brazil. It has been so since 1960 when the federal government moved there from Rio de Janeiro. I recently spent two days there and it is truly magnificent. It has been a place I have wanted to visit almost my entire life, but more on that later. First it is important to briefly tell the story of its creation as it is all about vision and how vision can project humanity into the future.
The population of Brazil, since colonization by the Portuguese has always been predominately oriented to the Atlantic coast, where the majority of Brazilians still reside. The country is the fifth largest in the world in terms of land mass. In 1823 a statesman named Jose Bonifacio suggested that moving the capitol inland would be a stimulus to the great interior of the country and would also be safer from foreign attack. He came up with the name Brasilia. Nothing much came of his efforts until decades later, a priest, living in Italy prophesied that a new civilization would emerge in Brazil between the 15th and 20th parallels. This caught the attention of Brazil and in the 1891 Constitution, land in the central plateau of Brazil was allocated for the construction of a federal district. Several legislative directives followed in the decades that followed, but nothing was ever done until a great leader with vision became President.
Juscelino Kubitschek became President in 1955. During the electoral campaign, he was asked if he would …