Size: 1,200 square meters
Key partners: City of Fortaleza, Global Designing Cities Initiative, Vital Strategies

Cidade da Gente, or “City of the People,” is the first traffic-calming street transformation intervention in Fortaleza. The project reversed the traditional road priority given to vehicles by prioritizing pedestrians in Cidade 2000, a residential neighborhood with local markets by day and a bustling restaurant district by night.

In 2017, Cidade da Gente piloted changes by converting 1,200 square meters of parking space and traffic lanes into a pedestrian area for 15 days. Before the project started, public hearings were held to understand local needs and to explain the concept of the project. Following positive responses to the pilot, the project was extended for 30 days and then made permanent.

WRI provided design recommendations for the pilot pedestrian plaza. The transformation used paint, potted plants, benches and cones to quickly create an improved and larger area for pedestrians, and expanding previously narrow sidewalks. To enhance safety, the project included adding five new pedestrian crossings, removing one traffic lane and lowering the speed limit. These interventions created a more attractive and comfortable space for pedestrians. The project also included artistic events and cultural workshops to encourage creative uses of the new pedestrian space.

WRI supported the city’s bidding process for making the project permanent and provided blueprints for permanent implementation. Roadworks for permanent construction of Cidade 2000 low-speed area began in April 2018 and concluded later that year.


  • An interim evaluation found 93% of those surveyed considered the intervention to be good or very good.
  • 85% of local shop owners would like the intervention to be permanent.
  • 64% of shop owners believe that the new street design can positively impact their businesses.

Safer Streets with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety is part of our WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.