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A former paper collector, Zagati, set up a cinema in his home in a favela in Taboão da Serra, a neighbouring city that is part of the greater São Paulo metro area. Image: Marcelo Min Fotogarrafa Agency

Development Index but are still high in comparison to many parts of Brazil, Latin America or other developing countries. Nevertheless, the divide between those living at different levels of human development is considerable. The differences define the city and are the source of a strong sense of social and economic exclusion among many of São Paulo’s residents. In areas of health, education, nutrition and water, considerable progress has been made to improve living standards and raise the quality of human development.

Essential state services São Paulo has made impressive progress in increasing access to essential state services in terms of water, health facilities, education, and even sanitation. Given the proliferation of the informal city on the periphery of São Paulo, and the illegal unplanned favelas with-

...studies continue to show wide differences in health, education and mobility outcomes between social strata. in the municipality, the challenge of bringing essential services to all citizens is immense, but doing so is critical to narrowing the difference in life outcomes among different social groups. The data used for this publication shows that the level of access to essential services for most citizens is high, and considerably better than the situation a decade ago. Access to appropriate sanitation remains a

problem, with an unacceptably high proportion of the population still not connected to the sewage system; yet, important progress has been observed. Significant differences remain, however, between those living in informal housing (favelas and cortiços), compared with those in the formal, planned city, and these should be narrowed. The policy and budgetary commitment to close the gaps appears to be robust and nationwide, but many essential services fail to be appropriately implemented and in many places, their quality remains low, which reinforces the social divide. Health, education and transport in poorer areas of the city have been criticized for their low quality, and studies continue to show wide differences in health, education and mobility outcomes between social strata.

Housing and urbanization Much of the MSP was developed in opportunistic, informal and unplanned bursts of urbanization that started many decades ago but truly exploded in the last three decades. Previous efforts to fully integrate the periphery into the formal city have been greatly accelerated by federal and state legislation emanating from the 1988 Constitution and the City Statute of 2001. In the spirit of the right to the city, citizen rights are being closely allied with rights to land and housing. The state’s intervention in regularizing and urbanising the periphery (and favelas) and engaging in social housing construction has been impressive in absolute terms. Critics argue, however, that much more needs to be done and that the scope and quality of resources invested in informal settle-

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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