The general argument of this book is that a new model of urban project has recently been implemented in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In order to investigate whether these projects have emerged in different social, economic and physical environments, the work has taken as case studies two urban programmes addressing extremely distinct situations. While one of them dealt with the urban middle class problems found in the consolidated districts of the city, the other was conceived to meet the complex infrastructure demand of the slum areas. The book set up a parallel between these two programmes, exploring their differences in terms of urban concepts, institutional framework and social context. This work has primarily been an attempt to provide an empirical clarification contributing to the understanding of the subject of study. In addition, it has intended to develop a theoretical framework whereby methodological design procedures for contemporary urban projects might be established. As a broader contribution, the book has concentrated efforts to understand the role of urban design in the construction of contemporary cities.