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24/04/2013 | 2h05

O Estado de S. Paulo


Another project for the city center


Every new government presents another project for the recovery of the city center of São Paulo. Considering only those developed in the last 15 years, the area has already inspired a kind of Broadway to a technological park, but the center has never ceased to be a concentration of degraded buildings where a crowd of workers circulate during the day and then to be taken by groups of addicts and dealers in the evening. The Nova Luz Project, by Mayor Gilberto Kassab, did not even produce tender terms for works estimated to cost R$1.1 billion. The Renova Centro Program, launched in 2009, which designated more than 60 buildings for public housing, did not happen either. None of the 3000 predicted units was delivered.


Now, at the beginning of Fernando Haddad’s administration, as expected, another urban plan is being presented, this time based on a partnership with the state government and the private sector – the Casa Paulista Project. According to its authors, it is a project to avoid the patterns adopted so far - both the so-called BNH style of urbanization that consolidated pockets of poverty, and the "medieval" style, which installed condominiums surrounded by walls. The 20,000 predicted housing units follow the "mixed-use" concept – combining people from different income groups, as well as housing, commercial and cultural uses in the estates.


The planned investment amounts to R$ 4.6 billion and the number of beneficiaries is expected to reach 80,000. The private sector should provide R$ 2.6 billion, the state government RL $ 1.6 billion and the City Hall RL$ 404 million. In other words, it is  a state Project than a rather municipal one. The goal is to deliver the first buildings within two years and the remaining in four years. The housing units will serve families with income between R$ 755.00 and R$ 10,848.00 and the installments will vary from R$ 320.00 to R$ 1000.


For the founder of the URBEM Institute, Philip Yang, who participated in the development of Casa Paulista Project, the intention is to enable people of different income levels to live together in an area with transport infrastructure and some features that refer to cities like New York, Barcelona and Copenhagen, appreciated for its wide sidewalks, commerce, services and buildings whose entrances are connected directly to the sidewalk. The buildings will occupy areas where there are deteriorated buildings, near metro stations, trains and major avenues.


The report published a month ago in the Estado de São Paulo newspaper showed that since 2010, the city center draws attention of the real estate market due to the depletion of the stock of land in noble areas. Ten projects are being launched, constructed or delivered in the region and the highlights  used to attract more buyers are abundant infrastructure and transport. There, one can work, study or have fun without having to face traffic while commuting, say brokers.


Over the past three years, 9700 residential units were launched on the perimeter to be revitalized. The northern zone of the city, which represents an area ten times bigger (than the center), gained 12.7 thousand units in the same period. This is a sign that the private sector has done its part in the revitalization of the city center, while the government has always been far from fulfilling their promises. Private investments have not been higher because there are still many areas where tenements, addicts, and homeless predominate.


The delay of the government to assume its responsability was a major reason for the frustration of previous plans to recover the region. Urban planners warn that the government should be aware that if the "mixed-use" concept is an urban ideal, in order to achieve it, we need to ensure credit to lower income families so that they are in fact benefited. In situations like this, people with higher incomes will demand improvements that create costs than the underprivileged cannot afford.


Attention to this point is essential for the project not to be distorted.

Another project for the city center

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