A while back, I mentioned on a post that in Brazil, one cannot build on the beach side of a street. Thus, except in some oddball situations, everyone has unimpeded access to the beach.
In Rio, they take this public access idea one step further. On Sundays, they close down the streets that run parallel to Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon beaches and shut down traffic on the side nearest the beach, making it into a giant pedestrian walkway. (Picture here.)
I’ve always wondered why in the US, which is supposed to be a far more egalitarian society, we don’t have that kind of thing. Wander down to Malibu, for example, and you’ll find that public access to public beaches is virtually shut down by blocks of private homes. The homeowners get to all but privatize public property and the public pays for its upkeep, and no doubt any liability issues that should arise should one of the homeowners trip on their beach. What a deal.