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são paulo - a tale of two cities

fends two key elements of citizenship: first, the ability of all groups and individuals to live in the city and benefit from its resources; and second, the right of all citizens to participate in the control over decisions that shape the city, and to use its spaces to exercise their citizenship. The concept suggests that without the access to control through participatory decision-making, powerful interests will exploit citizens’ privileges to further shape the city to their advantage, and thereby reinforce and extend the disadvantages and isolation of the marginalised.57 UN-HABITAT’s recent Policy Analysis on the Inclusive City found that most of the São Paulo experts surveyed believed that the municipality promotes and guarantees important rights, such as access to legal assistance, freedom of the press, freedom of NGOs to operate, freedom of ombudsmen to help citizens, and participation in multiparty political systems. These aspects represent critical elements of social inclusion. The ideological shift from ‘the needs of the poor’ to ‘the rights of the citizens’ provides a foundation for the evolving discourse of urban citizenship in São Paulo. As part of this discourse, the ‘right to the city’ may be said to evolve from a kind of ‘insurgent citizenship’: the right to be involved in changing the set of available rights, when existing rights no longer reflect the needs of citizens in their quest for citizenship.58 Urban struggles for the right to the city are central to social inclusion, but some critics claim that in practice, participatory processes have dulled the edge of the activist movements, as their most luminescent leaders have become caught up in legal and democratic procedures. By legalising and democratizing citizen rights, the activists have therefore been embraced by the system and must now work from within it. Urban and social inclusion is a policy strategy expressly embraced by São Paulo municipal authorities as well as Brazil as a whole. Even so, UN-HABITAT’s policy analysis found that while an overwhelming majority of experts surveyed in São Paulo believe the municipal authorities promote human rights, they also believe that the process of civic participation in new city plans and proposals is not adequately participatory and that the urban rich

are the main beneficiaries of new plans and policies. All of the experts surveyed in São Paulo feel that it is by no means guaranteed that all marginalised groups are considered in policy-making processes, and half of those questioned feel there are issues of corruption at the political and bureaucratic levels. The UN-HABITAT/UNESCO World Conference on Inclusive Cities for the 21st Century, held in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2008, recognized that a coordinated response is needed to address the complex and interconnected system of problems that create social exclusion. The notion of social inclusion can vary according to the type of strategies organizations adopt to address conditions where people appear to be systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources such as adequate housing, employment, health-

Urban struggles for the right to the city are central to social inclusion... care, civic engagement, democratic participation and due process — keys to social integration. The difference in access by different social groups to different elements of all of these sub-sectors is clear and shown in numerous sub-sector studies on aspects ranging from health outcomes to education, human security, recreational choices and social mobility. UN-HABITAT’s policy analysis findings also indicate a strong belief among urban experts in São Paulo that slum dwellers are particularly excluded in relation to cultural expression or opportunities for cultural integration.

Mapping social exclusion and inclusion In the second half of the 1990s, analysts in São Paulo began to use social exclusion/inclusion mapping to identify trends and inform public policy and debate. Using spatial analytical techniques, they offered a methodology to enhance the understanding of social exclusion/inclusion patterns in cities of the developing world.

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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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