The Casa Paulista Program, launched by the Government of the State of São Paulo in April 2012, in the form of a public call, aimed at the urban requalification and the provision of housing units in six sectors of the expanded center of the city of São Paulo.
Several proponents - mostly builders and developers - responded to the public call, and after a detailed evaluation process the urban and economic model proposed by URBEM was adopted by the government as the predominant reference for the launch of a public-private partnership (PPP).
URBEM's urban proposal was conceived so as to promote the revitalization of downtown São Paulo through:
(a) the formation of large mixed-use urban spaces, combining decent housing, work, commerce and services - denser spaces that are less dependent on the use of cars;
(b) the promotion of mixed income ventures, for different income brackets, in order to favor inclusion and social diversity, thus avoiding the formation of pockets of poverty, resentment and violence.
(c) the more rational use of idle land located around the train and subway stations, in order to facilitate urban mobility.
The economic-financial model conceived by URBEM aimed at making it possible to build social housing in central areas of the center, through the optimized use of government subsidies for social housing and payments so that the potential internal rates of return of the enterprise would induce the presence of the private sector in this enterprise of social interest.
The proposed legal structure makes use of a creative combination of several pre-existing instruments, in order to make it possible to execute the project based on the regulatory framework in force today, in urban plans and public tenders and concessions.
In September 2014, the São Paulo State Government launched a Public Notice for the execution of the Casa Paulista project, based on the urban, economic and legal modeling that had been conceived by URBEM in 2012. The Public Notice provided for the construction of 14 thousand social housing units in the city center, divided into 4 lots, within mixed use mixed use (housing, commerce, services, public spaces) and mixed income ranges.
A company from Minas Gerais, Canopus Holding SA, submitted a bid for one of the 4 lots bid and the contract was signed on March 23, 2015, in a joint act by Governor Alckmin and Mayor Haddad, during which they stated their intention to proceed with the project. The company presented an economic proposal for Lot 1, which encompassed the construction of 3,683 units, of which 2,260 are destined for social housing – HIS (for families with income of 1 to 6 minimum wages) and 1,423 low-income housing units – HMP (for families with an income between 6 to 10 minimum wages).
This is a huge step forward. The urban sprawl and the removal of homes from the central areas are a problem that affects all global metropolises and S. Paulo is at the forefront with a model that reverses this trend, bringing homes back to the center, in the context of a mixed use urban fabric. With the signing of the contract, by a company that spontaneously participated in the competition, a cycle is closed with a strong evidente that it is possible to generate social and economic value, bringing together government, market forces and public interest.