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The new land of mist that the economy invented

Project maps out the changes that have occurred in the city of São Paulo brought about by globalization

SUZANA PASTERNAK/ EQUIPE PRONEXRing Road of the river Rio Pinheiros: new center of the municipality’s services sectorSUZANA PASTERNAK/ EQUIPE PRONEX

From the end of the 80’s on, with the opening up of the economy and the implementation of new technologies and management models, the São Paulo economy was impelled towards an industrial, commercial and service industry restructuring. The growing liberalization, integration and internationalization of economies – a process known by the generic name of globalization – brought with it important transformations that have had repercussions in the organization of urban spaces in the city of São Paulo. This process made possible the dispersion of the work locations, the decline of traditional industrial areas, the decentralization of jobs and factories, and the expansion of the services.

The survey Territoriality of Globalization in São Paulo, coordinated by Antonio Cláudio Moreira Lima e Moreira, from the Project Department of the Architecture and Urbanism Faculty of São Paulo (FAU/USP), is trying to better understand the territorial consequences of globalization in the city. Besides Moreira, the survey had the participation of three other researchers at FAU: Maria Cristina da Silva Leme, Suzana Pasternak and João Sette Whitaker.

Carried out in partnership with the Municipal Secretariat of Planning of São Paulo (Sempla), the survey was part of the Research Program into Public Policies of FAPESP. In the first stage, information available on the theme was computerized. It was discovered that areas occupied by large industries decreased, with the consequent job losses ; a considerable growth in the services sector, motivated by the re-structuring of the industrial sector and by the new enterprises generated through unemployed workers as a strategy of survival. A new industrial framework emerged, fragmented, dispersed and mixed up with residential and service uses.

In relation to housing, the irregular allotments, the house buyer and the self construction house owner – forms that had governed the location of the low income population from 1940 until 1980 – lost force. Today, what have grown more are the shanty towns on the city’s outskirts. From 1940 until 1980, the city was described by the duality of the center and the outskirts. Currently, new hypotheses show that this duality appears to have fragmented, according to Suzana Pasternak. “The structure still maintains the poor a long way from the center, but in this new form the social groups would be much closer physically, in spite of being separated by walls and security technology, and tend not to integrate onto common ground”, she explains.

“Examples that describe what could be the new segregation are visible in Morumbi, where there are, separated by walls and fences, a shanty town, popular flats, residential houses and luxurious flats”. The Ring Road of the river Pinheiros has consolidated itself as the new center of the city’s advanced services sector. Two commercial circuits coexist: the shopping centers, in clear expansion, – which serve the most well-to-do classes – and the street vendors, for the poor, situated along the corridors of collective transport.

Starting from this mapping, a set of questions were defined that will be studied in the second of the three stages that go to make up the Research Program into Public Policies. During the first stage the methodology was established, which is being developed in the second and the results are to be implemented in the third stage by the partner public organ, in this case the Sempla. The first stage was carried out between February and October of 2001. The Sempla provided technical personnel and data, to a value estimated at R$ 84,000, whilst FAPESP invested R$ 13,800.

The use of space
The second stage will be starting in the next few months and should last for a year. “Since the study involves the university and a public organ, we had to synchronize the times of the two institutions, which are very different. The public organ must bend to the political calendar, following a logic very different from that which the university orders”, says Maria Cristina da Silva Leme. To put together these logistics is not something simple, one has to take into account the particularities of the two sides. “In the case of the study, the change of government in the city hall put back the start of the work, obliging us to review the composition of the research team.”

Three lines of research have guided the survey of the impacts of globalization on Paulista urban space: the effects of de-industrialization, the creation of new centers and social exclusion. “We want to understand the processes that make an influence on the market and that condition the occupation and the use of space”, explains Antonio Cláudio Moreira. He said that this understanding is fundamental to guiding the discussion and to defining public policies that support the transformations of the productive system and correct their perverse effects.

Among the processes about which knowledge is necessary for optimizing intervention policies, are the knowledge of the territoriality of the São Paulo industrial park, or that is to say, its location, evolution, trends and the appropriateness of the legislation; the study of these characteristics of the circuits of distribution present in the city – commercial and service industry -, evaluating the appropriateness of the commercial zones defined by the municipal legislation to the new territoriality of the service sector; the analysis of the problem of social-spatial imbalance in São Paulo, which completes a new vision of the urban structure of the city; the investigation into the impact of the actions of public management on the urban structure, identifying coherency between globalization and the actions of municipal public management.

Osaka, Japan
One of the innovative aspects of the survey is the linkage economicrestructuring and social exclusion. “This allows us to think about problems such as the differences between shanty towns in the region of Avenue Luís Carlos Berrini and the area around the Billings reservoir, both in the Southern zone of São Paulo. They are very distinct urban insertions, with possibilities of differentiated employment for their inhabitants and different repercussions with respect to violence”, says Maria Cristina. “An understanding of the profile of the new economic activities and their culture is fundamental.” The selective garbage collection, a precarious form of survival, is a good example: if it were organized it would be much more efficient and profitable.

Maria Cristina presented the first phase of the research survey in Japan between February and March. Invited by the Japanese Center for Area Studies, of the National Museum of Ethnology, in Osaka, she journeyed with the support of the Pro-Rectory of Research at the International Cooperation Center of USP. “Osaka is a very different city from São Paulo and this distancing allowed for reflection upon another angle of certain research questions, such as socio-spatial segregation.

Its income distribution is excellent, poverty is almost non-existent and it’s frequently dealing with cultural questions”, explains the researcher. In Osaka, there is not the notion of a center and the periphery, the classical model of the western city. Everything is mixed up: commerce, industry, residences and various social classes, and even agriculture invades the urban space.

The project
Territoriality of globalization in São Paulo (nº 00/01753-2); Modality
Research Program into Public Policies; Coordinator Antonio Cláudio Moreira Lima e Moreira – Architecture and Urban Faculty of USP; Investment R$ 13,800