São Paolo is probably the largest city in the southern hemisphere and it’s among the largest metropolitan areas of all the planet. In fact is considered an Alpha – World City and the international gate of Brazil, even though this assignment can be criticized considering its problems of social exclusion , spacial segregation and of an informal economy. In 1.872 São Paolo had 31.385 inhabitants, while in 1890, after slavery had been abolished and the coffee economy began to yield its fruit, its inhabitants grew to 64.934. In 1900 the city already counted 239.820 inhabitants.Today the city counts 11.244.369 residents and is the capital of a metropolitan region with about 20 million inhabitants.
A global city, focusing on services of the tertiary sector.This deep transformation has been caused by many factors, as the production of coffee for exportation, the end of slavery and monarchy, the launching of national industrialization and an extraordinary immigration, not only from other regions of Brazil but also from Japan or Italy and the rest of the world.
São Paulo can be seen as a mosaic of memories of other places which each immigrant or social group has brought with it, as its own distinctive idea of city or urbanity.This wealth coexists with areas of poverty induced by a strong spatial segregation, a peculiar characteristic of the society of São Paulo. All the metropolis of the planet are facing today the big problems of the informal settlements. It’s been estimated that 3,000,000 people live in the informal settlements of São Paulo and everyday the informal city grows more fast. Probably even faster than the capacity of the public administration to plan the development of the slums.
Anyway such a vast urban phenomenon creates a productive energy that has no equal in the world, wich is also expressed in the intense cultural and above all architectural production which has found expression in its history.The slums are an essential part of the contemporary city. Each one is different, has its own characteristics, its music, its ritual, its aspiration. Each one follows its logics and identity, each one has its soul
On the one hand,the slums are an eco-city,because of their absolute informality, but on the other hand, they are also viral cities, occupying every free space and damaging the environment.A great challenge for some visionary architects to transform these slums into integrated neighborhoods to the city, without extirpate their identity, considering that the new projects could increase the rent prices and push the poor out.