Brasília (bräzēlˈyä) [key], capital city and federal district of Brazil (2,264 sq mi/5,864 sq km; 1996 pop. 1,817,001), an enclave in the southwest of Goiás state. Inaugurated in 1960, it is situated in the highlands of central Brazil, and its ultramodern public buildings (designed by Oscar Niemeyer Soares) dominate what had been sparsely settled countryside. The removal of the capital from Rio de Janeiro to the interior, to encourage the development of central Brazil, was advocated long before President Juscelino Kubitschek initiated the project in 1956. The city was laid out (1957) in the shape of an airplane by the Brazilian architect Lúcio Costa. Government services, small-scale industry, food services, and construction are economically important. Most of Brasília's people live in its suburbs, outside the monumental government core.
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