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Alain Bertaud on Cities, Markets, and People

BERTAUD: You don’t create a city by just putting concrete.
COWEN: But Brasilia worked. It’s not perfect, but it’s a city.
BERTAUD: Yeah, but it’s a city of bureaucrats. You have no choice.
COWEN: But I’d rather live in Brasilia than Rio.
BERTAUD: You know, the people who went to Brasilia were not the same people who went to Shenzhen. They were moved, I would say even [inaudible] from Rio de Janeiro. So yes, and the taxpayers of Brazil paid for Brasilia entirely. Nobody in his right mind will decide to live in Brasilia just by choice. It’s one of the worst performing cities. It’s not just my taste. It’s the worst performing city.
If you look at the number of deaths of pedestrians per 10,000 people, it has a world record. If you look at the segregation by income, the poor living at 30 kilometers from the city with not very good transport system, and the rich living entirely in the center. It is one of the worst records in the world in any measure you can have. But of course, it’s a World Heritage city.
For the 50-years anniversary of the city, I was invited by the committee to celebrate. And I told them, “But did you read what I wrote about Brasilia?”
[laughter]
BERTAUD: And they say, “Yes. We want to have several points of view.” So you see, they are tolerant.

via Alain Bertaud on Cities, Markets, and People (Ep. 76 — Live in NYC)