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and occupations put the agenda on the front pages of São Paulo newspapers. For example, when the Homeless (or literally ‘roofless’) Movement of Central São Paulo (MSTC) occupied the abandoned Santos Dumont hotel in the troubled Luz district in 2006, it placed 150 families in the seven-story disused hotel and demanded to be allowed to buy the building and rehabilitate it with state assistance.Some studies show, however, that the number of abandoned housing units in the central districts that could be suitable for the poor is limited, and adverse possession of the buildings is fraught with legal, technical, structural and financial problems. Additionally, the city centre is now showing signs of becoming popular again. The real estate market has changed in the country with a growth in available credit for the purchase and refurbishment of buildings and, consequently, the city of São Paulo is suffering a considerable value appreciation. Office buildings that sat vacant for decades and were claimed by the pro-housing movement are now beginning to be sold or rented again. Increased conversion of old hotels for residential middle-class clients has also begun recently. Gentrification of the city centre, with the redevelopment of abandoned buildings into stylish residences for the well-off, would do little to increase inclusivity and reduce socio-spatial segregation in the city; it also would not offer solutions to the chronic housing deficit. Creative strategies inspired by the City Statute can still take shape in São Paulo, as the city balances inner-city revitalization with meeting the needs of its insecurely housed residents. Sources: Fundaçao Joao Pinheiro. (2009). Centro de estatística e informações. Déficit habitacional no Brasil, 2007. Belo Horizonte: PNUD/Ministério das Cidades. Osava, M. (2007). BRAZIL: Homeless squatters find ‘social function’ for empty buildings. IPS News. Retrieved from: http://ipsnews.net/ news.asp?idnews=37911 Pasternak, S. & Bogus, A.M. (2005). Continuidades e descontinuidades na cidade dos anéis. In: Encotro anual da Associação Nacional de Pos Graduação e Pesquisa em Planejamento Urbano e Regional 11. Salvador. Retrieved from: http://www.anpur.org.br/XIENANPUR/443. pdf. Silva, H., Biava, A. & Sígolo, L. (2009). Tributos imobiliários e imóveis vazios no centro de São Paulo. Report for the research Property tax regime and vacant properties in downtown São Paulo, Brazil, financed by Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.usp. br/fau/depprojeto/labhab/biblioteca/textos/silva_tributos_vazios_centrosp.pdf Image: Andersson Barbosa

Urban decay in the heart of space-contested São Paulo.

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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...

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