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City of La Plata, Foundational Urban Area

City of La Plata, Foundational Urban Area has been nominated in the past to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List, but doesn't feature anymore on the country's current Tentative List.


Els Slots (The Netherlands):
The City of La Plata was designed as a new city in 1882, to serve as the capital of Buenos Aires Province after Buenos Aires itself had become the national capital. So it's a city that was designed at a drawing board according to a rigorous plan. I visited it on a day trip from Buenos Aires. It's a ride of about one hour, and buses leave every 5 or 10 minutes. My planning wasn't too great, as it turned out to be Columbus Day (a national holiday). When I walked from the bus station to the central area, the only creatures I came across were dogs and the city's lowlife.

Finding your way is easy in this planned city: the streets have no names, only numbers. There's a large city map at the bus station, where you can see that the city is a perfect square with 40 horizontal and vertical blocks. They are crossed by some diagonals, for the creative touch. The planners were environmentally conscious avant-la-lettre and had envisaged 'urban forestry', parks and gardens. I visited one of those, the Paseo del Bosque. There's a zoo and the large Natural History Museum where I met my Glyptodon friends again (see Colonia de Sacramento review).

With the city's Casa Curutchet, one of Le Corbusier's buildings, right on track to become a WHS in 2009, the remaining chances for the city as a whole are slim. Also, I don't think any (relatively) modern planned city can surpass the extremities of Brasilia. So, if you're in Buenos Aires and got half a day to spare, do visit La Plata but don't expect to be blown away by it.
Date posted: October 2008

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Site info

City of La Plata, Foundational Urban Area
This site has been part of the Tentative list of: Argentina

Site History:
2007Requested by State Party to not be examined at WHC session
Withdrawn at request of Argentina
1998 Tentative list
Submitted as tentative site by State Party

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