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United cities

Already connected geographically, municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Campinas come together to solve common problems



Campinas, principal destination of the 312,000 people who frequently travel between municipalities in the region in 2010

In growing numbers over recent years, the mayors of the 20 municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Campinas (RMC) and representatives of state government departments have met in monthly meetings held by the Metropolitan Agency of Campinas (Agemcamp) to discuss and solve common problems. “The mayors have begun to show greater regional awareness, because reality has shown us the need for metropolitan governance,” notes Ester Viana, executive director of Agemcamp, a state agency established in 2003 to promote actions regarding shared interests among the almost 3,000,000 residents of the second largest metropolitan region in the state. A coffee producing center in the 19th century, but now one of the principal industrial and technological hubs in Brazil, the RMC is surpassed only by the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, with its 39 municipalities and population of 21,000,000.

Ester Viana says that some problems, such as public transportation, which is provided by a company that covers almost all the municipalities in the region are being handled better, but there are still other problems to be solved, such as solid waste disposal and sanitation. An integrated action agreement between the investigative and regular police and the municipal guards is at an advanced stage, and should be approved by the end of the year. The agency is currently drafting an Integrated Urban Development Plan (PDUI), with support from the University of Campinas (Unicamp) and the Paulista Metropolitan Planning Corporation (Emplasa), which should be ready next year. The objective is to integrate the master plans of the various municipalities with guidelines to be followed throughout the region. The decisions will be implemented by the Metropolitan Region of Campinas Development Fund (Fundocamp), composed of resources from the state and the municipalities themselves.

Today, the RMC is an area of continuous urban sprawl, with intense movement of people among municipalities, justifying actions to integrate public services. “Almost half of the economically active population of Hortolândia worked in Campinas in 2010,” says demographer José Marcos Pinto da Cunha by way of example. He is a professor from the Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences (IFCH) and researcher at the Population Studies Center (NEPO), both at Unicamp. He also works as a researcher at the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDC) supported by FAPESP, and coordinated the atlas entitled Campinas metropolitana: Diversidades socioespaciais na virada para o século XXI, [Metropolitan Campinas: Socio-spatial diversities at the turn of the 21st century], released in electronic format in July 2017.

The atlas was prepared using information from the Demographic Censuses of 2000 and 2010, and demonstrated the intensification in relations and traffic among residents of the different municipalities of the RMC. Motivated by the fact that people may work in one municipality and live in another, frequent movement between cities, i.e., commuting, soared from 176,000 people in 2000 to 312,000 in 2010 (see maps). This movement may be even broader, connecting residents of metropolitan regions and urban clusters in the state of São Paulo, forming the Paulista macrometropolis, which covers 173 municipalities, from the Piracicaba region in the south to Vale do Paraíba further north, and includes 73% of the state’s population. In 2010, 2,900,000 people frequently travelled between the cities where they lived in and the cities where they worked, according to a study by Cunha and other researchers from Unicamp and Emplasa, published in 2013 in the journal Cadernos Metrópole.

Based on the intense movements of people and the territorial integration, Cunha considers residents of these regions to be “metropolitan citizens, whose living space is much larger than just the municipality where they live.” He argues that city residents should not spend more time in transit, whether by car or on a bus, just because they live in a different city from where they work. “It is important to ensure access to quality public services, such as health care and transportation, not just in the municipality where people live, but also in neighboring municipalities,” he says. One of the current efforts being made by Agemcamp is developing a health care card to be implemented sometime in the future that would facilitate access to medical services in any municipality in the RMC.

In metropolitan regions, Cunha argues, “mayors can no longer think only about their own cities;” however, initiatives designed to promote integrated actions are not always successful. In 2016, at one of the preparatory debates for the 6th Conference on Cities in Campinas, architect Adalberto da Silva Retto Júnior, a professor at São Paulo State University (Unesp), Bauru campus, criticized the lack of integration in planning by Campinas with that of the neighboring municipalities, in spite of the heavy flows of commuting by the population. In 2015, he helped to draw up the mobility (transportation) plan for Holambra, working with the team from the municipal government. “We tried to talk with the municipal government of Campinas, to promote dialogue about those plans, but they did not get back to us,” he said.

Other changes
The RMC atlas showed that the areas in which lower income residents are more predominant, such as Sumaré, Hortolândia, Monte Mor and other municipalities east of the Anhanguera highway, are now also home to members of the middle class who are searching for places to live at more accessible prices. Cunha noted these urban transformations at the beginning of June, when he visited Vila União, in the southwest part of Campinas, which now boasts paved roads, street lighting and middle class condominiums, in stark contrast to what he observed during his first field work in the region, more than 10 years ago. “Today, Vila União is effectively part of the city,” he noted.

Even so, Cunha observed, “as in the majority of metropoles in Brazil, Campinas continues to show high rates of poverty, unemployment, violence, unequal socioeconomic development, and above all, a strong degree of social segregation within its territory.” As in the previous issue of the atlas, published in 2004, the recent issue shows that the region is still divided into two opposing areas, one predominantly home to the wealthiest population, and the other home to the poorest, separated by the Anhanguera highway. The area predominantly occupied by the wealthier population – from Vinhedo, passing northward through central Campinas up to Paulínia – has shown an increasingly upscale trend, as has also been noted in other regions in the state of São Paulo (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 254).

Compared to the previous issue of the atlas, the RMC showed a decline in the population growth rate (from a yearly average of 2.5% in the 1990s to 1.8% in the first decade of the 2000s), an increase in the proportion of residences headed exclusively by a woman (from 21.4% in 2000 to 25.6% in 2010), improvements in urban infrastructure, increased high-rise construction and the gradual emergence of new suburbs, composed of gated communities for the middle and upper classes in Campinas, Paulínia, Jaguariúna, Valinhos and Vinhedo.

In an article published in 2016 in the journal Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População, Cunha noted that the housing scarcity or its high cost has led residents of the RMC to seek out places farther from their workplace. As a result, the population of Campinas has grown at an average annual rate of 1.09% between 2000 and 2010, while in neighboring municipalities, the population growth was 2.29% a year over these past 10 years.

Beyond planning
Architect Sidney Piochi Bernardini, from Unicamp, examined the legislation governing land use in the RMC between 1970 and 2006 and concluded that urban guidelines are not always followed: “The majority of the municipalities in the RMC did not follow the master plans and so planning did not have any practical effect, because mayors enacted successive laws to try to solve the problems created by changes in the use and occupation of the land, and by urban expansion, which intensified in the 1970s.”

Bernardini found that 3,097 urban plans and laws had been passed over these 37 years; 295 laws were enacted to expand the urban perimeter and to allow the construction of residential condominiums in areas previously considered rural. He states that beginning in the 1990s, land use legislation hindered urban expansion by creating conservation units in nonurbanized areas to protect environmental services, such as the water supply.

In the RMC, rural areas have become scarce and are not now very different from urban areas, as is true in other parts of Brazil (see Pesquisa FAPESP issue No. 204). The municipality of Hortolândia, home to a concentration of the low-income population of the RMC, is now totally urban, without any rural areas, as is also the case for some cities in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo.

1. CEM – Center for Metropolitan Studies (no. 13/07616-7); Grant Mechanism Research Grant – Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDC); Principal Investigator Marta Teresa da Silva Arretche (USP); Investment R$10,234,702.08.
2. The processes of recent urbanization and its interfaces with the contemporary territorial and urban planning: the case of metropolitan area of Campinas (1970-2006) (No. 14/14502-0); Grant Mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal Investigator Sidney Piochi Bernardini (Unicamp); Investment R$30,124.44.

CUNHA, J. M. P. da and FALCÃO, C. A. (editors.) Campinas metropolitana:  Diversidades socioespaciais na virada para o século XXI. Campinas: Population Studies Center (NEPO/Unicamp) and Center for Metropolitan Studies (RIDC), 2017.

Scientific articles
CUNHA, J. M. P. da. Aglomerações urbanas e mobilidade populacional: O caso da Região Metropolitana de Campinas. Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População. V. 33, p. 99-127. 2016.
CUNHA, J. M. P. da et al. A mobilidade pendular na macrometrópole paulista: Diferenciação e complementaridade socioespacial.  Cadernos metrópole. V. 15, N. 30, p. 433-59. 2013.

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