It’s tough to top the distinct honor of being the first South American city to host an Olympic Games, but now UNESCO is naming Rio de Janeiro the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. It will become the first city in the world to receive this new designation. The title is an initiative to create a setting for international conversations on topics related to culture, heritage, urban planning, and architecture.
Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO’s assistant director-general for culture, said in a statement, “The aim is to create new synergies between culture and architecture in an increasingly urban world, in which cities are hubs for ideas, trade culture, science, and social development.”
To celebrate Rio’s new title, UNESCO will collaborate with the city’s institutions, architects, urban planners, policy makers, artists, and writers to organize events to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The theme will be “All the worlds. Just one world,” which refers to a goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
Of the initiative, Ottone R. also said that it “will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development,” and that it highlights UNESCO’s vision to “preserve architectural heritage in the urban context.”
A new World Capital of Architecture will be chosen every three years.