Having defeated Paris and Melbourne, Rio will be the first city to receive the title under a program launched together by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) in November 2018. The city will host the World Congress of UIA, an event that occurs every three years, in July 2020.
"The World Capital of Architecture initiative underscores the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context," said UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone R.
"Through the range and quality of its activities, the World Capital of Architecture in Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development," Ottone R said.
According to UNESCO, the World Capital of Architecture is intended to become "an international forum for debates about pressing global challenges from the perspectives of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture."
Some 25,000 people are expected to attend the World Congress of UIA to discuss subjects such as town planning, mobility, public works, and sustainability. In addition, there will be several events during the year of 2020 to promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development's 11th Goal -- to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable.
As one of the oldest cities in Brazil, Rio has a mix of modern and colonial architecture, with world-renowned sites like the statue of Christ the Redeemer and contemporary constructions like the Museum of Tomorrow. The city is also home to works of renowned architects such as Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed Brazil's capital city Brasilia.