Utopian Industrial City Becomes Model For Urban Disarray

Planners intended Ciudad Guayana to be the "Pittsburgh of the tropics". Today, the city has lost its former prosperity and is grappling with a array of urban epidemics.

"Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela - When a group of urban planners from Harvard and M.I.T. arrived here in the early 1960s to design an industrial city almost entirely from scratch, they envisioned a "Pittsburgh of the tropics" that could anchor industrialization and population growth in southeastern Venezuela.

That vision of a city for 250,000 people materialized into a place known for its relative prosperity. But as the population grew - it is now estimated at one million - and some of the competition for land and jobs grew violent, Ciudad Guayana has become emblematic of a new kind of urban disarray. Its problems are attracting scrutiny as President Hugo Chávez embarks on a phase of utopian city building."

""Today, we share the same problems as the rest of Venezuela," said Leopoldo Villalobos, a prominent historian who lives here and who has tracked the city's evolution."

Full Story: Aiming for a New Pittsburgh, and Falling Short

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