Changes and continuities in two urban plans for the Historic Centre of Salvador: the Epucs (1943-50) and the Public Transport Plan (1982)


  • Nivaldo Vieira de Andrade Junior Universidade Federal da Bahia



The paper will analyze the proposals for the historic centre of Salvador presented in two urban plans designed with an interval of almost 40 years. The first is the plan conceived in the 1940s by Epucs (Office of the Urban Plan for the City of Salvador), installed in 1943 and responsible for the first modern planning experience of the city. The second is the public transport plan designed in 1982 for the central area of Salvador, founded by the Portuguese in 1549 as the first capital of Brazil. 
Although the territorial scope of the Epucs plan was not limited to the central area of Salvador, many of his propositions had this area as its focus, and it is interesting to note the concern for preserving the most important monuments and certain landscape values of the old colonial city, like the green slope that separates the Upper and Lower Towns (Cidade Alta and Cidade Baixa). 
Nevertheless, the Epucs plan proposed the modernization of the central area of the Upper City, including the opening of wide and rectilinear avenues for cars and trams, which would break the urban fabric characterized by narrow and winding roads and promote a significant transformation of urban morphology. Coordinated by the sanitary engineer Mario Leal Ferreira until his death in 1947, the Epucs then becomes coordinated by Diogenes Rebouças, a young agronomist engineer (and self-taught architect) who was until then the coordinator of the landscape sector of the plan. 
The same Rebouças will be the author, in 1982, of the public transport plan for the centre of Salvador. In the 35 years since he assumed the coordination of Epucs, Rebouças had become Salvador’s most important architect and urban planner. Although updated in terms of modal and technology, the public transport plan that Rebouças elaborates in 1982 maintains, in many ways, the same approach regarding the cultural values of the historic centre of Salvador: it preserves monumental buildings and certain landscape values at the same time that promotes the demolition of entire blocks formed by eclectic buildings. The 1982 plan, however, favors pedestrians and users of public transport and its solutions are usually gentler on the relationship between the past, present and future. 
We intend to analyze how those two plans, conceived by Rebouças and partners in a range of almost four decades, solve the challenge of meeting the demands of the present (and the alleged demands of the future) while preserving the inherited cultural values. On the other hand, we also intend to identify the continuities and changes in the approach adopted by Rebouças and partners while intervening in a historic site that, in 1959, was listed as national heritage and, in 1985, was inscribed in Unesco’s World Heritage List.


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How to Cite

Vieira de Andrade Junior, N. (2016). Changes and continuities in two urban plans for the Historic Centre of Salvador: the Epucs (1943-50) and the Public Transport Plan (1982). International Planning History Society Proceedings, 17(4).