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são paulo - a tale of two cities

also felt the administration was inefficient or ineffective. Echoing similar sentiments often heard during this research, one journalist told UN-HABITAT, ‘We don’t need better laws — we need for the laws to be respected. This is a problem in Brazil, not just São Paulo’.207 Luis Soares, Director of Projects at Via Publica, a major São Paulo think tank, told UN-HABITAT, ‘The laws are good. But they are not implemented. Local government has to make coalition deals all the time and this dilutes the progressive nature of these laws. The political system is very vulnerable to finance. Not just corruption but campaign finance’. Repeatedly in the research for this publication, well-positioned city experts in São Paulo mentioned the power of corporations and real estate and the de facto structural power of the elite to manipulate otherwise well-intended laws. The municipal, state and national efforts to address the urban housing deficit and regularize and upgrade vast areas of illegal and non-urbanized settlements are part of a raft of measures to assist the poor and narrow the huge gap between the rich and poor in São Paulo.208 A wide range of subsidies and cash transfers are currently targeting the poorer deciles of society, and many of the programmes are federal and are part of the current government’s efforts to transform Brazil and lift many millions out of poverty, as detailed in Chapter 1 of this report. Given these strategies and the potential of the City Statute to inspire creative solutions to urban issues, Brazil has the opportunity prove critics wrong and truly create more equitable and successful metropolitan areas. The municipality of São Paulo has a history of partnerships with international development agencies (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank(IADB), UN-HABITAT, PNUMA*, and others). The agencies support the municipality in terms of sharing good experiences, improving local systems, seeking reinforcement of long-term policies and good governance. When the foundation of the Cities Alliance was announced in May 1999 by the World Bank and the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS), an action plan on slum upgrading

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in partnership with Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement (SIGUS) / MIT and the Thematic Group of the World Bank was distributed in electronic format - Improving Urban Communities: A Tool for Professionals. This has been regarded by some as pioneering work and emphasized three Brazilian experiments : the Favela-Bairro, financed by the Interamerican Development Bank, the Guarapiranga Water Resource Program and the Alagados Program, both funded by the World Bank. These example suggests a history of partnership between the municipality and partners. In this context, the latest Sao Paulo Social Housing Plan is currently in its final review, establishing the Millennium development Goals as one of its directives. The Plan is also a result of the municipality of Sao Paulo’s partnership with Cities Alliance, now in its third phase, which has also included close UN-HABITAT collaboration, with the aim of implementing local monitoring of the municipal social housing policy. Critics of municipal housing policy and interventions sometimes overlook the significant improvements in response and attention the authorities now pay to urgent housing problems. A vivid example of responsiveness was seen following the recent natural disaster that occurred on December 8th, 2009, when a large region of the city of Sao Paulo known as the Varzea do Tietê flooded. More than 10,000 families had their homes flooded. The action of the state and municipal government was swift. In addition to emergency care, families are receiving rent until new houses are built (in about three year’s time). Today, 4,000 families are already receiving rent, and an aid grant of R$ 1,000 (USD$570 )to replace damaged property.

* Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente

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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