Brazil Federal District

by | May 18, 2021

Located in lands ceded by Goiás , the Federal District is the area in which Brasilia, capital of Brazil and seat of the political power of the Union is located. It was inaugurated in April 1960 and houses the federal Legislative, Executive and Judiciary powers.

Territorial and political aspects

According to Weddinginfashion, the Federal District was established in an area of ​​5,760 km 2 . It is an autonomous territory, which is not divided into municipalities but into Administrative Regions (RAs). Currently, there are 31 ARs.

Many ARs in Brasília correspond to satellite cities. The oldest is Planaltina.

Until 1988, governors of the Federal District were appointed and appointed by the President of the Republic. The Constitution enacted in 1988 established direct elections to choose the governor, the vice-governor and 24 district deputies.

From the point of view of spatial relations, the strict zoning of Brasília corresponds to three scales: gregarious , residential and monumental . The first corresponds to the entertainment and trade sectors; the second, to the residential sector; and the third, to the group consisting of the Praça dos Três Poderes and the Esplanada dos Ministérios.

Architect Oscar Niemeyer is responsible for the design of all public buildings in the capital. There is an intense relationship between the Pilot Plan designed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s architectural projects. Both created a fully designed city, considered as a global and unique “object”.


Transferring the capital of Brazil from the coast to the interior was an old idea. In 1789, the Minas Gerais inconfidentes already mentioned it as one of the goals of their movement.

From 1839 onwards, it began to imagine the construction of a city on the Central plateau, between the São Francisco and Tocantins rivers. The 1891 Constitution established the change of the federal capital, a proposal ratified by the 1934 Constitution.

Elected President of the Republic, Juscelino Kubitschek took office in 1956 and set to work to move the federal capital to the Midwest. In the “Message from Anápolis”, JK established the foundations of the Urban Capital Company of Nova Capital, Novacap. The company was governed by Law No. 2,874, of September 19, 1956, whose article 33 defined Brasília as the name for the future capital.

More than thirty thousand workers, mostly from the Northeast, began to build the pilot plan prepared by Lucio Costa and executed by Oscar Niemeyer. At the time, these workers received the nickname “candangos”. On April 21, 1960, the city became the capital of Brazil.

  • Learn more at: The Construction of Brasília.

The Pilot Plan

A major national competition that featured all the relevant names of Brazilian architecture and urbanism rewarded the proposal of the architect and urban planner Lucio Costa, who foresaw a strictly functional zoning, based on “living, working, recreational and circulating”.

The project, according to Lucio Costa, “was born from the primary gesture of someone who marks a place or takes possession of it: two axes crossing at right angles, that is, the very sign of the cross”.

Then, the original project was adapted to the local topography, the drainage of water, the best orientation. There was a clear concern in the sense of applying to urbanism the most advanced principles of road technique, such as the elimination of intersections and their substitution by uneven returns.

Lucio Costa’s pilot plan takes the form of an airplane or a cross; the wings (north-south) consist of a road axis and lateral axes (east-west) integrated and bordered by multifamily housing superblocks.

The trunk-circulatory function was conferred to the north-south axis , with high-speed central lanes. Side lanes were provided for the distribution of local traffic, which leads directly to the residential sector.

The east-west transversal axis, called “ monumental ”, received the civic and administrative center, the cultural sector, the commercial and entertainment center, the municipal administrative sector.

Of particular note are the autonomous buildings, destined for the Three Powers – Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, which are located in the famous Praça dos Três Poderes, with a triangular shape.

From the building of the National Congress , which occupies the west sector of the square, towards the intersection of the axes, the Esplanada dos Ministérios develops .

In the design of Lucio Costa – who delighted the architects of the judging commission of the new capital project – the airplane shape of Brasília is noticeable.

Physical aspects

The Federal District has almost all of its borders delimited by the state of Goiás. Only a small southeast portion borders the state of Minas Gerais.

The relief is formed mainly by gentle undulations, in which the average elevations of 1,100 m predominate. It is limited to the west by the Descoberto river, and to the east by the Preto river.

In its landscapes, the lakes, rivers and caves stand out – with emphasis on the Tamboril cave, equipped with wide halls of stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls and rapids.

The highest point is the Rodeador hill, with 1,349 m.

In hydrography , the rivers of the three most important river basins in the country stand out: the Platina basin, the São Francisco basin and the Amazon basin, which include, among others, rivers such as Paranoá and São Bartolomeu.

Paranoá is the main watercourse, formed by the streams of Bananal, Fundo, Torto and Gama. Its dam originated the artificial lake Paranoá, which is located in the eastern part of Brasília, and the hydroelectric plant that supplies the city.

The predominant climate is tropical, with two well-defined seasons: a rainy and hot one, which extends from October to April, and another cold and dry one, from May to September. The average annual temperature is around 20.5 ° C, and the humidity is very low (25% in winter and close to 70% in summer). The average annual rainfall does not reach two thousand millimeters.

The low availability of water, the acidity and the lack of nutrients in the soil, together with the lack of humidity in the air, make the vegetation predominantly of cerrado , in which small shrubs and twisted trees occur.

Being at the junction of three hydrographic basins, the region has a rich fauna , with the presence of species such as the jaguar, the red deer and the wolf.

The population

The Federal District has an estimated population, in 2018, of 2,974,713 inhabitants, with a demographic density of 444.66 inhabitants / km 2 . The vast majority (96.58%) live in an urban area.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of the Federal District is the highest in Brazil: 0.824. The high standard of living results mainly from the efficiency of garbage collection, the provision of sewage services and the high levels of education.

Life expectancy is 78.4 years, one of the highest in Brazil. The infant mortality rate is 10.6 deaths per thousand births.

The economy

The main sectors of the Federal District’s economy are commerce, public service and tourism-related activities.

Agriculture is not yet capable of meeting the needs of the population of Brasilia, although the horticulture sector is almost self-sufficient. The main agricultural products are grains, especially soybeans, followed to a lesser extent by beans and corn.

In the industrial sector, the segments of food processing, extraction of non-metallic minerals, civil construction, clothing, footwear, editorial and graphics stand out.

The mining activity is mainly concentrated on the exploitation of mineral water, limestone and dolomite.

Tourism has been gaining greater relevance in the economic scenario of the Federal District, as an important generator of employment and income.

Brazil Federal District