Sebastião Melo defends the Master Plan of Porto Alegre ‘without strings attached’

Sebastião Melo defends the Master Plan of Porto Alegre ‘without strings attached’

A “no strings attached” legislation – that is what Mayor Sebastião Melo (MDB) hopes to build with the revision of the Master Plan that is under debate in Porto Alegre. He believes that this would be the way to guarantee a law with fewer subsequent modifications.

The mayor’s speech followed his 15-minute speech at the opening of the Master Plan Evaluation Conference this Tuesday, when the mayor told the public that the expectation is to build “a Master Plan that won’t have to change it two days later” . A column survey published last week points to at least 95 changes to the Master Plan in the last 13 years.
For Melo, the alterations happen “because what should be faced in the revision was not faced”. Without specifying what they are, it implies, as he has been saying since the beginning of his government, that they are construction and height limits, another change identified since the previous revision, in 2010. Survey by the Center for Studies and Research in Urban Economy from Ufrgs points out that until 2019 were authorized 53 special projects in Porto Alegre, which, due to the size and impact they generate on the surroundings, depend on the flexibility of the rules of the Master Plan in relation to what is foreseen for the area of ​​the city where they are built.

The mayor points out the need for so many changes in the recent period to the dynamics of the city, which “requires urban changes”, like the model adopted by the city hall for the Historic Center and for the 4th District, which according to Melo, “if it waited, it would not come out until the end of management”. Based on the guidance of the Chief Executive for the ongoing debate, the population can expect the new law to authorize buildings taller than the current 52 meters allowed, and with incentives for civil construction in regions with urban infrastructure already in place (for example, paved roads , electricity and sanitation).

Public debate will continue today and tomorrow

With the Sala de Atos at Pucrs partially occupied, the Porto Alegre Master Plan Evaluation Conference began yesterday. The first day was a marathon of seven lectures, one for each theme defined by the City Hall: social and cultural development; natural environment; cultural heritage; mobility and transport; structural performance and urban infrastructure; economic development; and city management.

Each debate table had two speakers who were specialists in the subject and two debaters, in charge of provoking solutions to the obstacles they presented in their speeches. With no room for questions from the public, strong applause for critical positions during the lectures was the interaction in the auditorium space.

The debate of ideas on the different visions of the city is expected for today, in the groups that correspond to the seven thematic axes defined by the city hall to guide the review. This Wednesday morning and afternoon will be dedicated to the evaluation of the current law. The idea is that, by the end of the day, the groups will prepare proposals that will be presented and voted on the following day. The result of the votes will integrate analyzes of the next stages of the process.

Groups claim space for participation

The first major activity open to the public, the conference was preceded by other moments of debate on the revision of the Master Plan, such as the seminar last year and regional workshops in 2019. of active social participation, clear methodology and transparent guidelines” by the City Hall. A letter, signed by the 85 movements and entities that make up the collective, was presented to the event’s participants and hand-delivered to Mayor Sebastião Melo. Check out the full text on the Pensar a Cidade blog.

Expectation X reality

The city hall justified the choice of Pucrs to hold the Master Plan Assessment Conference by offering the space free of charge and having an auditorium large enough to house a large audience. But of the approximately 1,200 chairs available in the Hall of Acts, almost half were vacant. The date of the event, on a weekday and business hours, was pointed out as one of the reasons for avoiding greater participation.

in the audience

Representatives of the consultancy Ernst&Young have been in Porto Alegre since Monday to attend the conference. But, as participatory activities are the responsibility of the city hall, the consultants remained in the audience.


The seven lectures had two speakers and two debaters each, in addition to the mediators. There was only one black person among the more than 30 who took turns at the table.

holidays in Portugal

On his vacation in February, Melo spent 10 days in Portugal, accompanied by his wife and one of his children. The planning of the capital Lisbon is pointed out as a reference by the figure of the “detail plan”, an example that inspires the city hall with the idea of ​​”slicing” the Master Plan by neighborhoods or regions. But the mayor told the press that, on his first visit to the country, he was drawn to the fact that “even in the old city there is a marriage of the new with the old, tall buildings, glass, and alongside a cultural preservation”. Porto Alegre, he assesses, “invents everything and preserves nothing”.

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