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cities & citizens series - bridging the urban divide

Covering almost 14,000 hectares within the MSP, the zones included favelas, cortiços and illegal subdivisions. Of the 964 designated zones, 85 per cent were cortiços, favelas and popular irregular land settlements, predominantly located in the periphery. Six per cent were in empty or underused areas designated for the promotion of social housing. Five per cent comprised cortiços downtown and 3 per cent were environmentally protected areas where social housing may be built. The 2001 to 2004 municipal administration period marked an important era for housing policy development in São Paulo, because the administration officially recognized that the housing problem in the city was multifaceted, requiring multiple solutions: land regularization; urbanization of favelas and other poor in-

An important innovation was a strong commitment toward the promotion of housing for the poor in central areas of the city,... formal, irregular areas; infrastructure development; construction of new housing units; and provision of special zoning for social housing. An important innovation was a strong commitment toward the promotion of housing for the poor in central areas of the city, which the administration implemented in a variety of ways: building new housing, renovating existing buildings, providing subsidies for rent, developing a policy for cortiços, and including numerous ZEIS in the master plan. The administration also diversified the financial options for housing, including homeownership, a rental programme called ‘locação social’, and an emergency subsidy for rent in private houses called ‘Bolsa aluguel’. In addition to its extensive housing policy, the Suplicy administration also sought to address educational and community needs in favelas through the development of multi-purpose Centros Educacionais Unificados (Unified Educational Centres, or CEUs). While 21 CEUs were initiated during the Suplicy period, 25 new CEUs have been built under the the subsequent period (2005-2008) and the current

administration (2009-2010), reputedly incorporating various improvements into the original project. The programme was pioneered as an innovative project of social inclusion. The political constraint of a four-year political term is very limiting for new urban policy and for house building in central areas, where there are problems such as inheritance, tax debt, multi-ownership of buildings, renovation schedules, heritage issues and traffic congestion. Many initiatives were just taking root as the regime in City Hall changed again. Since 2004, land regularization and slum urbanization has continued with more resources, but housing in central areas is, reputedly, not as much of a priority as it was during Suplicy’s term. However, the current municipal administration have expropriated, or are in the process of expropriating, 60 buildings in the central area, expressly to be transformed into social housing In this context, the current housing policy runs the risk of reinforcing the city’s structure of rich people clustered in the central areas and poor in the peripheries, failing to use the power of the state to insert poor people in the more central areas, where they could otherwise not afford to live.202 Nevertheless, the current municipal social housing program has been developed and executed since 2005. According to government sources the achievements of this program to date include 150,000 families that have benefited in the slum upgrading program, 75,000 families benefitted from the water resources slum upgrading program, 3,000 families rehoused in the 60 refurbished old buildings in the city center, 10,000 families included in the social rent program that provides the payment of monthly rent until their resettlement in new units constructed by COHAB or CDHU, 15,000 families that have received the titles to their land, and other achievements. For the first time in São Paulo’s social housing history the municipality has been working with financial resources coming from all three levels of government (i.e. Municipal, State and Federal Central). This has made possible an increase from the R$ 200 million (USD$115 million) budget directed to social housing in 2004 to R$ 1.2 billion ( USD$ 0.68 billion) in 2009.

Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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