Can a New Master Plan Fix What Ails São Paulo, Brazil?

Facing an ever expanding shortage of affordable housing and growing inequality, São Paulo's new master plan hopes to change the face of the city.
February 16, 2016, 1pm PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Leandro Centomo

Catesby Holmes of Next City reports on what might be the legacy of São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, who faces a difficult re-election campaign. With a housing shortage of between 100,000 and 500,000 housing units, the mayor is betting on a long-term strategy to create 717,000 housing units by 2030, with 244,000 of those being allocated for affordable housing.

For its proponents, the master plan, or “plano diretor,” has the potential to change São Paulo’s urban design “in a revolutionary way,” Haddad told the BBC. “Today, private investment does whatever it wants in the city,” he added. “It builds where it wants. It destroys neighborhoods, creates pockets of skyscrapers and overloads urban infrastructure.”

The master plan will designate areas within the city—mostly those served by transit infrastructure—for increased density, with development incentives such as additional height, in return for inclusion of low-income housing. As Holmes reports, however, the plan has sparked concern from wealthier residents about the intrusion of low-income people into their communities.

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Published on Monday, February 8, 2016 in Next City
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