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October 2000 Issue
The Geographical Review
October 2000, Vol. 90 (4), pp. 475-492
PRAÇAS, PLACE, AND PUBLIC LIFE IN URBAN BRAZIL
JAMES R. CURTIS
Keywords: Brazil, Latin America, plazas, urban squares.
This study interprets critical stages in the changing design and landscape of urban squares, or praças, in Brazil and assesses the circumstances of their cultural-historical production. Urban squares were shaped by, and in the process contributed to and shed light on, several of the country's major social and artistic movements. The history of the square illustrates a theme of European cultural dominance, especially French, that was a product of the colonial experience and neocolonial influences which were overcome only in the twentieth century through spontaneous creative fusion with indigenous Brazilian elements.