Belo Horizonte is the sixth-largest city in Brazil, with a population of approximately 2.5 million.It lies on the western slope of the Espinhaço Mountains, at an elevation of 2,720 feet . It is the thirteenth-largest city in South America and the eighteenth-largest in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area, ranked as the third most populous metropolitan area in Brazil and the seventeenth most populous in the Americas. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil's second most populous state. It is the first planned modern city in Brazil.
Belo Horizonte was Brazil’s first planned metropolis
The first of Brazil’s planned cities, Belo Horizonte occupies a wide plateau encircled by the Curral del Rey Mountains, a hilly ridge forming the «beautiful horizon» for which the city was named. Belo Horizonte lies on the eastern edge of the sertão, or dry interior, of Brazil. Belo Horizonte was laid out on a grid, modeled after Washington, D.C., in the United States and La Plata in Argentina. The city was inaugurated as the capital of Minas Gerais in 1897 under the name Cidade de Minas, adopting its present name in 1901. Originally designed with an area of 8 square miles , Belo Horizonte is now many times that size, having surpassed a target population of 200,000 people by 1925.
The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. The city is built on several hills and is completely surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The Mangabeiras Park , 6 km southeast of the city centre in the hills of Curral Ridge , has a broad view of the city. It has an area of 2.35 km2 , of which 0.9 km2 is covered by the native forest. The Jambeiro Woods nature reserve extends over 912 hectares , with vegetation typical of the Atlantic Forest. More than 100 species of birds inhabit the reserve, as well as 10 species of mammals.
Belo Horizonte was one of the host cities of the 1950 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, the city shared as host of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the football tournament during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Data and Facts
- Belo Horizonte was Brazil’s first planned metropolis, and was built in 1897
- The number of parks in Belo Horizonte numbers over 60, all of which cover over 8 million square meters
- Almost 600 plazas span Belo Horizonte, with at least a dozen dedicated to tourists
- The city has the largest freshwater aquarium in the country, which contains over 1,200 fish and 50 different species
- According to the IBGE census in 2010, Belo Horizonte is the third most forested city in Brazil. It is behind only Goiânia and Campinas
- Considered the 5th largest soccer stadium in the country, the Mineirão is actually called “Estadio Governador Magalhães Pinto”
In Brazil, like many other Latin American countries, more than 80 percent of the population is concentrated in urban areas characterized not by individual cities, but by metropolitan areas. Metropolitan planning and management1 became an important issue in Brazil after the approval of the Metropolitan Statute in 2015. The experience of the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte is considered a national reference for metropolitan planning and governance. Despite this vaulted status, Greater Belo Horizonte’s management structure lacks an official metropolitan-level monitoring system to track its policies and investments and help planning and decision-making procedures. Brazil has turned to the United Nations’ Agenda 2030–also known as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals –for guidance. For RMBH, SDG 11 is particularly relevant. This brief describes how the RMBH’s SDG in Action project, a partnership between Metropolitan SDG Observatory , University Newton Paiva, and Movimento Nossa BH, developed and tested an indicator framework to monitor the achievement of SDG 11 targets.Brazil lacks a significant amount of official data relevant to sustainable development at local and metropolitan levels; for example, the most recent national census data are outdated, as the census was last published in 2010. Further, due to the economic downturn, the development context has grown increasingly challenged. For example, although the UN removed Brazil from its World Food Programme Hunger Mapin 2014, WFP General Director José Grazianoreports that current conditions of crisis may trigger its reinstatement.
In order for policymakers to respond effectively to these evolving circumstances and to ultimately meet development goals, Brazilian authorities need to update public data before the next scheduled census in 2020. The 10-year gap between censuses hinders smart policy and investment that can yield equitable development outcomes in Brazil and across the metropolitan areas, including Greater Belo Horizonte.
Greater Belo Horizonte is one of the country’s most important metropolitan areas7. The RMBH Development Agency is a technical organization founded in 2009 that is in charge of promoting the joint management of public policies of common interest, such as public inter-municipal transportation, land use, and basic sanitation in the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte. Additionally, funding for the implementation of the Metropolitan Plan faces barriers because most of the cities within the metropolitan region are not contributing to the Metropolitan Development Fund9 due to the economic crisis, diminishing its investment capacity.
The Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte has 6 million inhabitants with 34 cities within its administrative boundaries and territory covering 9,500,000 km². It is the political, financial, commercial, educational, and cultural center of the state of Minas Gerais, representing around 40 percent of the economy and 25 percent of the population of Minas Gerais. Its GDP in 2018 is estimated at USD 4.5 billion, of which more than 40 percent belongs to the city of Belo Horizonte, which covers 3.5 percent of the territory of the metropolitan area. Its economy is significant and active, and it is based on industry, finance, services, commerce, mining, tourism, and construction.
The benefits of the region’s significant economic activity are not equally distributed in the 34 cities across the metropolitan area, indicating a spatial inequality that has become a primary challenge to achieving equitable development across the region.
Belo Horizonte, Brazil's sixth largest city, and the capital of Minas Gerais state, has a vibrant, diversified economy. It receives a large number of visitors and exerts a pivotal influence in the country's economy. Both multinational and Brazilian companies, such as Google, Oi, and Fiat maintain offices or headquarters in the city. The service sector plays a very important role in the economy of Belo Horizonte, being responsible for 85% of the city's gross domestic product , with industry making up for most of the remaining 15%. Belo Horizonte has a developed industrial sector, being traditionally a hub of the Brazilian siderurgical and metallurgical industries, as the state of Minas Gerais has traditionally been rich in minerals.
Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Production is centred on steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Multinational companies like FIAT , Arcelor, and Toshiba have subsidiaries in the region, along with other textile, cosmetic, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furnishing and refractory companies. Between the companies headquartered in the city we can list siderurgicals Açominas ; Usiminas; Belgo-Mineira ; Acesita ; mobile communication Vivo; and Telecom Italia Mobile, as well as the NYSE-listed electrical company CEMIG. Leading steel product makers Sumitomo Metals of Japan and Vallourec of France have also plans to construct integrated steel works on the outskirts of the city.
There are also a large number of small enterprises in the technological sector with regional to nationwide success, particularly in the fields of computing and biotechonology. Because of both governmental and private funding in the diversification of its economy, the city has become an international reference in Information Technology and Biotechnology, and is also cited because of the advanced corporate and university research in Biodiesel fuel. The number of jobs in the Information sector has been growing at annual rates above 50%. The Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Area, composed of 33 cities under the capital's direct influence, is home to 16% of the country's biotechnology companies, with annual sales of over R$550 million.
For a long time it was marked by the predominance of its industrial sector, but from the 1990s there has been a constant expansion of the service sector economy, particularly in computer science, biotechnology, business tourism, fashion and the making of jewelry. The city is considered to be a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy. The move towards business tourism transformed the capital into a national hub for this segment of the tourist industry.
In 2008, the city's GDP was R$42 billion .
In 2008, the Greater Belo Horizonte's GDP was R$98,5 billion .
In 2008, the city's per capita income was R$17,313 . In 2007, it was R$15,830 .
The network in Belo Horizonte accounted for 7.2% of GDP in 2002 and came to 7.6% in 2006. The GDP per capita of the network was R $6,624 in 2002 and changed to R $10,638 in 2006, below the national level. The GDP per capita in the city of Belo Horizonte, who heads the network, remained higher than the network, but with lower growth in the period, R $9,077 in 2002 and R $13,636 in 2006.
Belo Horizonte is the capital and largest city in the state of Minas Gerais, and the third-largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of over 2.4 million in the capital and almost 5.4 million in the metropolitan area. Minas Gerais is the second most populous state in Brazil , the third richest, and the fourth largest in area.
Belo Horizonte is a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy. For a long time, Belo Horizonte’s economy was marked by the predominance of its mining and industrial sector, but because of both governmental and private funding designed to diversify the city’s economy since the 1990s, there has been a constant expansion of the service sector economy, particularly in agribusiness, computer science, biotechnology, and business tourism. Both city and state are widely regarded as Brazil’s third most important in economic and business terms. Politically speaking the mineiros, as the locals are called, have always been a force to be reckoned with, often providing presidents of the republic or acting as political powerbrokers. Belo Horizonte should be the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining state, with a burgeoning industrial complex.
In both cases, the funds and assets must belong to individuals or legal entities resident, domiciled or headquartered abroad.
Foreign capital may freely enter Brazil without prior government approval or restrictions on the amount invested. There are, however, legal prohibitions and restrictions on investment in certain activities, which the law defines as exclusive to Brazilians.
Foreign capital must be registered up to 30 days from being brought into the country. Registration must be done by the receiving company and the foreign investor’s representative directly on the internet to be repatriated and have profits and dividends remitted abroad.Foreign capital that enters Brazil as a foreign direct investment is not subject to any taxation upon its entry into the country. However, the investment as a loan is subject to IOF ;
The remittance of profits and dividends and the repatriation of foreign capital abroad are exempt from income tax upon leaving Brazil if the amount is equal to that registered with the Central Bank of Brazil.
Belo Horizonte is the hub of the state’s large central region, with extensive mining and livestock activity throughout the sertão west of the city and heavy industry in its suburbs. It is the regional commercial centre as well, with vigorous activity in banking, commerce, and administration. The city’s older, longer-established industries include publishing, textiles, furniture, and food processing. The steady growth of heavy industry since 1950, however, has made Belo Horizonte one of the largest industrial centres in Brazil. Electrical generating facilities and plants manufacturing and working iron and steel have been established, primarily in the industrial suburb of Contagem, and a large oil refinery and automobile factories have been constructed in nearby Betim. Auto parts and consumer goods industries have multiplied in their wake.
Despite the upsurge in industrial activity, Belo Horizonte has remained relatively pollution free, and a considerable number of tourists are attracted by the impressive buildings and the wide tree-lined avenues radiating from the city centre like the spokes of a wheel. The nearby suburb of Pampulha is noted for its bold architecture, exemplified by the Chapel of São Francisco, designed by Oscar Niemeyer and decorated by Cándido Portinari, and by the Mineirão stadium, one of the largest football (soccer) stadiums in the country. Notable sights in the city centre include the Municipal Park, the broad tree-lined Afonso Pena Avenue, and the Liberdade Palácio (Portuguese: “Freedom Palace”), which houses the governor’s offices.
Belo Horizonte is served by three airports
Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport, dedicated to domestic and international traffic. It is located in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa and Confins, 38 kilometres from Belo Horizonte, and was opened in January 1984. Plans for gradual expansion to meet growing demand had been already drawn up from the airport's inception. The airport has one of the lowest rates of shutdown for bad weather in the country.
Carlos Prates Airport, dedicated to general aviation.
The city is connected to the rest of Minas Gerais state and the country by a number of roadways. Minas Gerais has the country's largest federal highway network.
BR-040 connects Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro and Brasília . It also links other cities in the state, such as Juiz de Fora, Conselheiro Lafaiete, Barbacena, Sete Lagoas, and Paracatu.
BR-262 begins in Mato Grosso do Sul and ends in Espírito Santo, crossing Minas Gerais from west to east. It links Belo Horizonte to Pará de Minas, Araxá, Manhuaçu, Uberaba, Governador Valadares, and Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo state.
BR-381 is an important federal highway. It connects Belo Horizonte to São Paulo.
MG-010 is a state highway that connects the capital to the Tancredo Neves International Airport, itself located in the municipalities of Confins and Lagoa Santa, which are part of the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte. Starting in 2005, several flights were transferred from the Pampulha Regional Airport to the international airport. To improve access to the international airport, MG-010 is being expanded .
The city is also served by other minor roads such as state highways MG-020, MG-050, MG-030, and MG-433. There is also an East-West Express Way, which goes from the city to the nearby industrial centres of Contagem and Betim , and Anel Rodoviário, a kind of «beltway» – indeed it is not circumferential, but connects many highways, such as the federal so it is not necessary for a large number of cars and trucks to pass through the city centre. Many of these roads are in poor condition, but in the last years many revitalization and rebuilding projects have been started.The bus system has a large number of bus lines going through all parts in the city, and is administrated by BHTRANS. Among the upcoming projects are the expansion of the integration between bus lines and the metro, with integrated stations, many already in use. And the construction of bus corridors, with lanes and bus stops exclusively for the bus lines. Keeping buses from traffic congestions, making the trips more viable for commuters.Belo Horizonte Metro or MetroBH started operating at the end of the 1970s. There is one line, with 19 stations, from Vilarinho to Eldorado Station, in Contagem, transporting over 160,000 people daily. The current projects of expansion include Line 2, linking the existing Calafate Station to the region of Barreiro. And Line 3, from the city's main bus terminal to São Inácio de Loyola, Savassi economical district. Line 2 is planned to be overground and Line 3 is planned to be underground, passing through the city's financial centre, Praça Sete and Afonso Pena Avenue. Also, Line 1 is planned to be extended to Novo Eldorado Station.The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Belo Horizonte, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 85 min. 26% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 23 min, while 50% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 8.7 km, while 19% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Belo Horizonte has several significant cultural landmarks, many of them situated in the Pampulha district, where there are notable examples of Brazilian contemporary architecture.Under the leadership of the then mayor of city, Juscelino Kubitschek, architects and artists such as Oscar Niemeyer, landscaper Burle Marx, and painter Candido Portinari, started a type of modern architecture and art here that was greatly developed later with the construction of Brazil's new capital, Brasilia, also led by the now president Juscelino . It is at the Pampulha complex that one can see the routes of this new architecture movement. The modern and protomodern architecture can also be seen all over Belo Horizonte, either in emblematic 1950's buildings such as Edificio Acaiaca, Conjunto JK, Hotel Amazonaand former Hotel Excelsior, all reflecting the modernity culture of the first planned capital of Brazil.
The Pampulha Park area includes one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, the Mineirão stadium, and the São Francisco de Assis Church, widely known as Igreja da Pampulha, designed by Brazilian Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. In Pampulha there is also the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais campus, whose buildings themselves are important contributions to the city's architecture. Other notable buildings include the Mesbla and Niemeyer buildings, in addition to the headquarters of corporations such as Usiminas, Seculus, and Telemig Celular.
Biotechnology and Information Technology are fast-emerging industries. In fact, Belo Horizonte is home to more than 16% of total biotechnology industries in Brazil. The biotechnology industry of the city contributes over US $550 million to the Brazilian economy. The city is a leader in advanced research related to biodiesel. Several multinational IT companies have their headquarters in the city of Belo Horizonte. The jobs in the IT sector have been growing at a rate of 30% per year. This has been possible due to the efforts of private funders and the government of Brazil. The projects in these two industries are poised to expand significantly in the coming years.
The service sector is also a fast growing industry in the city. In fact, the service sector alone accounts for nearly 85% of the GDP of the city. The other 15% is contributed by the industrial sector.
The state of minas gerais has its nucleus of innovation. The nucleus is an initiative of the entrepreneurial mobilization for innovation , an initiative of the national confederation of industries to double the number of innovative companies in the country in four years. In addition, the foundation for research support of the state of minas gerais , due to the growing demand, has issued specific calls for research support and innovative solutions, which provide incentives for innovation and scientific and technological research. In its demands it invites interested parties to present proposals for technological and innovative solutions to obtain technical and financial support. In the line of development «technological innovation» are all the modalities that aim to encourage dialogue between academia and industry, transforming knowledge into wealth for the country. Innovation programs were established, pro-innovation: inventive program, program of support to companies in technology parks - proptec and amitec program. In addition to calls for proposals .
From September 15 to 17, 2017, it was held on 3 fair Inova Minas 2017 with the objective of presenting technological innovations produced in Minas, in Praça da Liberdade, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. The objective of this was to show that the science produced in the state has an impact on the economy and generates income opportunities.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
According to the 2010 IBGE Census, there were 2,258,096 people residing in the city of Belo Horizonte. The census revealed the following numbers: 1,110,034 White people , 995,167 Pardo people , 241,155 Black people , 25,270 Asian people , 3,477 Amerindian people . In 2010, the city had 428,893 opposite-sex couples and 1,090 same-sex couples. The population of Belo Horizonte was 53.1% female and 46.9% male.
The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, called Greater Belo Horizonte, is the 3rd most populous of Brazil, after only Greater São Paulo and Greater Rio de Janeiro . Belo Horizonte has a notable Italian influence; around 30% of the city's population have some Italian origin. The Italian culture is present in cuisine, dance, and language. People of German, Spanish, and Syrian-Lebanese ancestries also make up sizable groups.
The human development of Belo Horizonte varies greatly by locality, reflecting the city's spatial social inequality and vast socioeconomic inequalities. There are neighborhoods that had very high human development indexes in 2000 , but those in the lower range . Carmo/Sion : greater than Iceland - 0.968; Cruzeiro/Anchieta/Funcionários : greater than Iceland - 0.968; Grajau/Gutierrez : greater than Australia - 0.962; Belvedere/Mangabeiras/Comiteco : greater than Australia – 0.962; Serra/São Lucas : equal to Japan, Netherlands – 0.953.
In 1993, under mayor Patrus Ananias de Souza, the city started a series of innovations based on its citizens having the «right to food». The city's process of participatory budgeting was linked with these innovations, as a result of which the infant mortality rate was reduced by 50% in a decade. There is some evidence that these programs have helped support a higher quality of life for the local farmers partnering with the city and that this may be having positive effects on biodiversity in the Atlantic rainforest around the city. The city's development of these policies garnered the first «Future Policy Award» in 2009, awarded by the World Future Council, a group of 50 activists concerned with the development and recognition of policies to promote a just and sustainable future.
The city has undertaken an internationally heralded project called Vila Viva that promises to “urbanize” the poorest areas , relocating families from areas with high risk of floods and landslides but keeping them in the same neighborhood, paving main avenues to allow public transportation, police and postal service to have access. Belo Horizonte is an important cultural centre, having several museums, including the Palace of the Arts and the Mineiro Museum, as well as a music conservatory, a ballet school, a technical college, and a wide range of secondary and primary schools. The Federal University of Minas Gerais (1927) and the Catholic University of Minas Gerais (1958) are situated in Belo Horizonte.