Porto Alegre is a Brazilian city and the capital of the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. With an area of almost 500 km², it has a diverse geography, with hills, lowlands and a large estuary, the Guaíba, which is called of river by the city residents. It is about 2 thousand kilometers from Brasilia, the national capital, one thousand from Buenos Aires, 900 from Montevideo and 2,600 from Santiago de Chile.
The city was formed from the arrival of Azorean couples in the middle of the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century it had the influx of many German and Italian immigrants, also receiving Spaniards, Africans, Poles and Syrians-Lebanese. It is the seat of the largest urban concentration in the southern and fifth most populous regions of Brazil. It has developed rapidly and now houses more than 1.4 million inhabitants within the municipal limits and around 4.3 million inhabitants in the metropolitan region. With 37.7% of the population living in apartments, it is the second most verticalized capital in the country. The city faces many challenges of rapid urbanization.
Porto Alegre boasts more than 80 awards and titles that distinguish it as one of the best Brazilian capitals to live, work, do business, study and have fun. It was also highlighted in 2010 by the UN as Metropolis number 1 in quality of life in Brazil three times; as having one of the 40 best models of democratic public management for its Participatory Budget and for having the best Human Development Index (HDI) among the national metropolis. IBGE data pointed to it in 2009 as the Brazilian capital with the lowest unemployment rate. British consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle included it in 2004 among the 24 cities with the highest potential for attracting investment in the world, and is also listed on Pricewaterhouse Coopers among the 100 richest cities in the world. Porto Alegre was classified as self-sufficient by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC).