As EcoHouse Group announce more phases of their Bosque development  the people of Brazil wonder which city or even state will benefit from these future Minha Casa Minha Vida Developments? It’s a little known fact that EcoHouse Group don’t just build social housing, even though this is what they are most famous for, EcoHouse also build premium homes and office buildings and has in previous press releases stated that they do have plans to expand to other areas of the county, whether this means social housing or premium homes we will just have to wait and see. One state that is excited about this news is the North Eastern state of Piaui who say they would welcome new infrastructure, whether it’s social housing or premium homes and offices.

Here is a little more about the state of Piaui. One of the most interesting states in the northeast of Brazil is Piaui (pronounced ‘Pee-ow-ee’). It’s comparatively small in land area compared to many of the others and has a short coastline of only about 65Km. The rest of the state broadens out and stretches roughly southwest from the Atlantic (a bit like a bottle broadening away from its neck).

Another unusual feature is that, unlike all the other seaboard states of Brazil, colonial settlement originally started inland and gradually expanded towards the shore, instead of away from it.

Piaui has a total land area of around 97, 000 sq miles (a quarter of a million sq Km). This makes it almost exactly the same area as the United Kingdom but with far fewer people of course; only 3.2 million as opposed to the UK’s 63 million!

The state capital is Teresina (800,000 people) which is situated about 360 Km from the coast. Unusually, it’s the only state capital in the north east not actually on the coastline.

The economy of the state is varied. By 1900 the main industry had become the rearing of agricultural livestock, principally cattle and this has always been important from that day to this.  Actual crops in the area have also included timber, cotton, sugar and rubber and their many associated products. In more recent times hides and skins have become more important.

The state capital, Teresina was the first Brazilian city to be deliberately planned rather than just left to grow organically. Obviously though, a certain amount of unplanned expansion has taken place since the launch of the settlement.

The original design of the city was based on that of a chessboard and it was built from 1852 onwards after having been set out by architects. The nickname of the place is ‘The Green City’, mainly because of the large number of mango trees found throughout the whole area.

In terms of geography, practically the whole state lies inside the basin of the Parnaiba river ( and its tributaries) and in fact the main river does form the western frontier of the state. The river links Teresina with the Atlantic port of Parnaiba and also the other important city of Floriano. The land gradually slopes upwards through the state towards the south and east, through a series of uplands and plateaux.

Of the people of the state about sixty percent are mixed race.  Just under a quarter are Caucasian and the rest black or Amerindian, so to that extent the state is as cosmopolitan as the rest of the nation.