Lade Inhalt...

Spatial Justice and the City of São Paulo

Bachelorarbeit 2011 49 Seiten

Kulturwissenschaften - Sonstiges



1. Introduction

2. Concepts of Spatial Justice
Henri Lefèbvre
David Harvey
Edward Soja

3. Urbanization and Socio-Spatial Segregation in Brazil
Urbanization in Brazil
Irregular Forms of Compact and Diffuse Habitation
The Interdependence of the Formal and Informal Market and the ‘Com-Fuse’ City

4. The City of São Paulo
Historical, Economic, Political, and Demographic Development
Urban Development and Socio-Spatial Segregation
The Sector Movement
The Main Centers
The Sub-center
Further Planning of Segregation
Villaça and Urban Segregation as a Mean to Control Time
Segregation Today
The Language of Crime and Its Urban Power
Urban Inequalities

5. Public Policies since the Approbation of the City Statute 2001
Regulation of Urban Policies by the Constitution in the City Statute 2001
The City Statute Instruments
Inclusion as a New Goal in Public Policies
Housing Support Policies: HIS and PMCMV
The New Instruments of the State System of Habitation

6. Conclusion




“We can only learn about our lived times and spaces in increments, never satisfied with existing levels of knowledge but constantly moving on, almost like philosophical nomads, to search for the new, to push the frontiers of knowledge and understandings forward, and hope for the unexpected” (Edward Soja 2010 B: 102).

1. Introduction

Not only time has influence on the formation of societies, but also space. People do not only write history, they also produce spaces. And just like history retroacts on social development processes, space forms society. A socially segregated society is controlled through space. The place of residence of a person already determines a big part of its fixed opportunities and conditions. Also, the living location is already suggested by the social class of a person within a capitalist structured society. Those socio-spatial structures lead to an unjust distribution of all kinds of goods, such as the access to basic living conditions, public services, infrastructure, education and work, and psychologically or socially defined restricted spaces. Injustices therefore can only be cured by changing their spatial manifestations.

As Brazil is one of the economically uprising and promising BRIC countries, its development involves chances and risks. If unjust conditions remain, its long-term advancement is rather unlikely. The changes within the country are especially visible and present in its principal metropolis: São Paulo. In order to analyze its present situation in terms of spatially produced social (in)justices, some questions must be answered:

How is spatial justice produced and by which processes? How are those processes integrated in Brazil’s urbanization development? Which effects does it have on the urban structure of São Paulo? And finally: Which socio-spatial development tendencies do the actual public policies and their realization within the metropolis suggest?

In the following, I will outline a theoretical base of the term spatial justice, the development of Brazil – and in this context the effects on São Paulo’s urbanization –with respect to its economy, politics, society, history, and especially urbanization in order to analyze São Paulo’s socio-spatial development and present situation in a multidimensional context. Applying Henri Lefèbvre’s, David Harvey’s, and Edward Soja’s theories on spatial justice on the public policies of the metropolis since the City Statute of 2001 – a major change in Brazil’s urban politics –, I will look into their conformance with the necessary production conditions of spaces of justice.

2. Concepts of Spatial Justice

Giving a selection of the main literature about spatial justice in capitalist cities, I will introduce Henri Lefèbvre’s rather liberal concept of spatial justice by referring to his works ‘The Right to the City’ (1969; French original: Le droit à la ville 1968) and ‘The Production of Space’ (1991; French original: La production de l’espace 1974), as well as David Harvey’s rather Marxist perspective by especially considering ‘Social Justice and the City’ (1973) and ‘The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change’ (1990),

and finally Edward Soja’s theory, also influenced by Lefèbvre and Harvey, as a representative of contemporary theorists on social justice (‘Postmodern Geographies. The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory’, 1989; ‘After Postmetropolis’, a lecture he gave at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos in 2010; ‘Seeking Spatial Justice’, 2010). Lefèbvre’s urban theory of spatial justice is essential for the works of Harvey and Soja; especially today it has great influence on most of the discussions on urbanization processes.

A just society is an ideal society with freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, and civil right for all – able to join all subjects of justice movements (Soja 2010 B: 20-24). During the urban crisis of the 1960s, increasing violent explosive behavior, caused by an unequal distribution due to the expanding industrial economy, is observed in most of the fast growing metropolises and suburban regions in the world (Soja 2010 B: 80-85). In the past three decades, activist actions broach the issue of a greater understanding of justice than only the (economic) equality concept, framing justice in a material (re-distributive policies) and a non-material (liberty, happiness, opportunity, security, etc.) way. In their definition, they refer to the two principles of justice by John Rawls (1971) of the equal right for all to basic liberties within a liberty ensuring system and of benefiting the least socially and economically advantaged (Bromberg, Morrow, and Pfeiffer 2007: 1). Today, special attention is given to justice in terms of environmental and global justice (Soja 2010 B: 23). Seeking spatial justice means the collective ambition for social and economic justice for all those who are oppressed, exploited, or somehow suffering from unjust geography effects within urban spaces (Soja 2010 B: 24). Soja points out the urban facets of justice (2010 B: 20):

“Justice and injustice are infused into the multiscalar geographies in which we live, from the intimacies of the household to the uneven development of the global economy; the socialized geographies of (in)justice significantly affect our lives, creating lasting structures of unevenly distributed advantage and disadvantage; these geographies and their effects can be changed through forms of social and political action.“

The socio-spatial dialectic opens up another possible perspective of how to achieve social justice within space. Space and justice

“are socially produced, experienced and contested on constantly shifting social, political, economic, and geographical terrains, means that justice — if it is to be concretely achieved, experienced, and reproduced — must be engaged on spatial as well as social terms” (Bromberg, Morrow, and Pfeiffer 2007: 2).

That a just society can only be achieved by also producing a new space, not only another social concept is one of Lefèbvre’s main insights.

Henri Lefèbvre

In “The Production of Space” (1991 (1974)), Lefèbvre (*16.06.1901; †29.06.1991 France) differentiates between three concepts of space: the spatial practice (physical used and produced space), representations of space (logic and planning), and spaces of representation (produced and transformed space with symbolic character). Space is therefore physically perceived, mentally conceived, and socially lived (Elden 1998) and this way, permanent critical thinking gets included into spatial thinking. Referring to Gottdiener (1993), social relations are also spatial and cannot be discussed without the other. Lefèbvre also approaches further kinds of spaces, linked to historical and social processes, in “The Production of Space” (1991 (1974)) and discusses them on different levels, such as in arts, architecture, philosophy, politics, economy, and others, and includes different theorists, such as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger into his discussion. From a Marxist perspective, things are products of social work and function as exchange goods and have therefore two different values: the value of use - objective or subjective usability of a material good for a certain reason – and exchange value – price as a realized value on the market. Therefore, they represent social relations which actual value at the same time can be hidden easily by turning them into ideological objects, into abstractions in form of symbols, like symbols of money. Lefèbvre applies that logic on social space which in its reality cannot be reduced to just a physical or abstract level, but has an own reality containing abstract and material things (Lefèbvre 1991 (1974): 402). The abstraction of social spaces occurs, when knowledge and power are combined within a profit-oriented hierarchic organization and is used for social domination and control. The ‘Production of Space’ means the dialectic function of space as a mean of social relations and a material product with social influence (Gottdiener 1993). A society, based on the value of exchange, does not want to give primacy to the value of use. In the end, quantity prevails over quality in a world of private expansion, industrial profitability, and specialization as well as functionalization of spaces. Differences, reduced (forced), or produced (like elite enjoying special life qualities), can still exist. Therefore, it is possible that movements against this kind of system arise that are aware of the unequal conditions and that communicate their social perspective, but still do not necessarily succeed breaking the system, but simply remain within it. Lefèbvre sees the only solution to reintroduce pluralism to the functioning of a centralized state within the challenge of those powers by local powers. Such kinds of resistance often tend to generate independent, territorial unities with partial self-administration structures (Lefèbvre 1991 (1974): 381-382). Capitalist space organizes everyday life, implicates directed consumption, and produces a hierarchic spatial distance (in terms of work, living, etc.). As a monopolist center, it condemns population to passivity and silence if they don’t rebel by producing alternative spaces, questioning the whole capitalist system (Lefèbvre 1977). While the beginning of industrialization is characterized by the principal of material shortage and spatial surplus, today’s society is overloaded by products, suffering a lack of spatial supply. Economy is based on the strategy of shortage. Since social space is divided into classes as a result of social organization, spatial distribution ends up with quantitatively more or/and a better quality for the rich classes (Elden 1998). This process is produced by the second circle of value added production, such as value abstracting speculations, and is different from the values of the circle of industrial production.

In ‘The Right to the City’ (1969; original ‘Le droit à la ville’ (1968)), Lefèbvre emphasizes the need to reestablish new urban structures seeking justice, democracy, and equal citizen rights for all. He has great influence on student movements in France in May 1968 with his theory of interdependence of the transformation of social relations, socio-spatial changes, and the production of a liberated space (Gottdiener 1993). He discusses the concepts of marginalization and regionalization, causing segregation and discrimination within all urban spaces and the politics of space (because space is political). He argues that capitalism has survived partly due to its flexibility in structuring and restructuring spatial relations within a global economy of space, constituting a global market (Elden 1998). Capitalist space produces an urbanity that is both homogeneous and fragmented. Everything is equivalent, because exchangeable, and of abstract value. Space is also fragmented because of its division into lots and is sold in particles by the real estate speculation market (Lefèbvre 1977). To Lefèbvre, urbanization is the developmental process of a completely urbanized post-industrial society which eventually will lead to the neutralization of the differences between city and country (Elden 1998). His main concepts for citizen rights are nowadays the main theoretical base for the Right to the City Movement, even though the theoretical discourse is not very deep. Though, it should be considered that unjust geographies change over time. Lefèbvre’s ideas refer to Paris during the 1960s whose centralized structure was different from today’s polycentric and globalized structure of city regions or from regional urbanization.

David Harvey

Harvey (*31.10.1935 UK) claimed in his earlier works about territorial justice that the normal functioning of urban development has an intensifying influence on the income distribution by increasing the gap between poor and rich inherently. Those processes cause inequalities, such as the unfair prices for basic goods and services for the poorer, locations of noxious facilities, public and private investments or the preference of expensive freeway construction over effective mass transit favoring the poor, when distributing public funds. Being rather pessimistic about the possibility of redirecting political, social, and institutional policies and actions to change spatial unjust conditions, Harvey turns to a socialist formulation of his theory. There, the industrial capitalist city functions as a generator of inequality, injustice, and crises. In response to critics and the free neoliberal globalization development, he relativizes his former rigid ideas and turns towards normative and utopian perspectives and new justice generating ideas (2000). Even later, he returns to Lefèbvre by stressing his remark about the means of the survival capitalism: “by occupying space, by producing space”. According to Harvey, capitalism seeks a spatial fix when in a crisis which could possibly include a chance for revolutionary changes (Soja 2010 B: 85-96). He also agrees on the Lefèbvrean quotation “between equal rights, force decides” and claims that neoliberal privatization is the destructive force against justice (Harvey 2003, 941).

‘Social Justice and the City’ by David Harvey (1973) is about the relationship between social justice and space of urban planning and urbanization policies. Spatial, as well as economic, social, and political interrelated processes take part in forming and transforming a metropolis. The book is divided into two parts, demonstrating the ideological changes within his work during that time from a liberal to a Marxist perspective. Harvey assails that socially related processes in literature on urbanization are treated isolated from each other which makes their theoretical statements rather unrealistic. Further, he explains the effects of space on social justice and realizes within that process that the only approvable liberal distribution principle (Pareto optimality) skips all basic distributive questions, making a critical discussion within the system difficult. He put emphasis on the social injustice which produces spatial processes, effecting distribution of income. The accessibility to the job market, resources, and to public services, possible social and psychological barriers, and the proximity as “the effects of being close to something people do not make any direct use of” (Harvey 1973: 57) can both cause costs, influencing the income situation of a household (Harvey 1973: 56-57). They can as well be located in spatial fields of externality effects of benefits or costs (for example an airport with noise and pollution effects, but also with positive effects on the job market) whose locations are deeply influenced by political decisions (Harvey 1973: 60).

Minorities are heavily discriminated in terms of access to infrastructure and services, due to the transformation of American metropolises during that time. Suburbanization produces structural barriers, denying access to certain job opportunities and low-cost housing within those regions. A central decline is perceptible due to a concentration of mortgage capital in the suburbs causing an absence of funds in the center. In fact, all spatial changes happen in favor of economic efficiency, causing redistribution inequalities within the capitalist society Harvey 1973: 56-64). He claims that the central decline of contemporary cities (disappearance of middle-class citizens and jobs; wholesale destruction) is caused by the domination of private economic accumulation and economic growth, supporting governmental policies which are withdrawing investments from little profitable areas (Harvey 1973: 112). Ghetto formation is a direct outcome of those processes in the urban ground market. Racial differences lead to an American dual housing market and public interventions contribute indirectly to the formation of use values on the housing market (Harvey 1973: 140, 157-166, 175). Later in the book, Harvey presents his relatively fixed spatial city concept of a ‘built environment’ structure with the main elements of investments, stake and urban ground market, and infrastructure of transport and profit, mainly adjusted to economy. There is a risk of the outdating of those spatial constructions if the economy and its spatial structure demands change (Harvey 1973: 68-69).

In ’The Condition of Postmodernity’ (1989), Harvey introduces his understanding of postmodernism and its historically conditioned formation as a new sensibility and continuity of modernism – similar to Fredric Jameson’s argumentation that postmodernism is “the cultural logic of late-capitalism” (1991) and its crises - which started in 1972 with a ‘sea-change’ in political, economic, and cultural practices. It is initiated through changes in capitalist organization and new forms of time-space experiences (by time space compression with shortest travel times, turning the world into a homogeneous global village). He actually finds both continuities and discontinuities of modern practices in postmodernism, with intensified modern elements and new cultural domination structures. For Harvey, postmodernism also tends to a complexity, otherness, and diversity favoring structure. With the 1973 recession and the "radical shift in the manner in which value gets represented as money” (Harvey 1989: 296), a more complex and flexible economic structure with flexible accumulation (as a consequence of over-accumulation of capital in late-capitalism) arises.

Edward Soja

Edward Soja (*1940 USA) comprehends the main difference between Harvey and Lefèbvre in the mainly social forces (for example the accumulation of capital) as the causal power in the production of urban space and the relation between social and spatial processes within Harvey’s concept, while Lefèbvre puts emphasis on a more dialectically balanced causality of the social and the spatial. He sees Lefèbvre and his new categories of socio-spatial relationships as jointly responsible for the emerging of the spatial turn, the trans-disciplinary diffusion of critical spatial thinking across rather unusual and broader fields (Soja 2010 B: 13). In spite of everything, in sciences the discussion of how geography is shaped by social processes is still more common than discussing how spatial processes shape society. Social, temporal, and spatial qualities influence human existence equally and therefore should be considered equally important in sciences and politics (Soja 2010 B: 67-71).

Soja describes different geographical structures within the production process of spatial injustices. Exogenous geographies are politically organized spaces (administrative convenience, political power, cultural domination, and social control of individuals, groups, and the places they inhabit). Global powers are divided into First, Second, and Third Worlds and internal governmental structures (Soja 2010 B: 32-33), giving colonial and postcolonial geographies, gerrymandering, apartheid, and security-obsessed urbanism as examples. The phenomenon of security-obsessed urbanism describes the production of prisonlike geographic networks of social and spatial control (as in gated communities; Evan McKenzie’s privatopias, 1994) because of the psychological need of protection against real or imagined threats, also called psychogeography of fear. Globalization and amplified migration during the past thirty years pushed the development forward (Davis 1990; Soja 2010 B: 42ff), causing more privatizations and redefinitions of public and semi-public spaces (Soja 2010 B: 44-46). Soja also describes endogenous geographies of spatial discrimination which are developed on the local level of decision making, referring to Harvey’s theses. They are distributional, discriminatory spatial inequalities (of health, consumption, education, protection, sewage system, waste management, transport services, basic needs, and working possibilities), legally justified discrimination, and other segregation inequalities (Soja 2010 B: 47-55).

Regional urbanization is characterized by its polycentric urban regions, the loss of a dominant center, and its network structure formed by numerous urban centers, producing a modern unbound metropolis and emerged from crisis-generated restructuring after 1970 with its highest density around the city center. City center residents move away, ‘hollowing out’ from the center (f. ex. in Detroit). Downtowns are transformed: refilled with transnational migrants and causing growing tension between domestic and immigrant populations. City marketing and star architecture are the major challenges in the redevelopment of those city centers (Soja 2010 A; At this point, I need to make clear that Soja mainly speaks about the urban development of U.S. American cities, especially Los Angeles. Although their city structures are different, there are various parallels between the development of Los Angeles and São Paulo, as described by Caldeira 2000.). Re-qualifying a declining area brings the risk of higher rents because of its increasing value which usually happens during a gentrification process. Poorer residents often have to move, because they can’t afford the higher costs anymore which leads to a simple relocation of the prior problematic area and not to its melioration (Sassen and Roost 1999: 71).

The geographer Edward Soja sees chances for the development of new socio-spatial structures in recent social and political development. If regional trading blocs, like NAFTA, MERCOSUR; APEC, OPEC, OECD, BRIC (just an informal alliance), keep up taking the EU model as an example for supranational regional and spatial planning under social and economic aspects (Regional Fund serves to reduce inequalities in regions, countries, and in between member states, as in Ireland), they could develop a role in reducing international inequalities (Soja 2010 B: 60-61). New Regionalism, a concept from the 1990s, for example, tries to connect local knowledge and global strategy in order to reduce regional inequalities (Soja 2010 B: 63-66; Orfield 1997; Pastor, Benner, and Matsuoka, 2009).

As the social forms the spatial, so to does the spatial form the social. To break the oppressing structures of capitalist urban spaces, coalitions must be formed to create a new space with just conditions for everyone (Soja 2010 A), like the Global Justice Movements, arising in the 1990s. Seeking spatial justice manifests itself in a continuous spatial re-appropriation effort. Not only the city inhabitants and the ones in transit are influenced by those forces. They are promoted in all regions of the world through the operations of the state and the market. That fact supports Lefèbvre’s statement that the whole world is urban (Soja 2010 B: 96-97). Urban revolution occurs and transforms spaces when urban problematic becomes dominant over economic development and when the disadvantaged try to break social control in space in order to achieve better access to basic need supply. Referring to Soja, Lefèbvre also connects the right to information and the right to difference in the city, whereas the second one refers to “challenging the controlling forces of homogenization, fragmentation, and uneven development imposed by the state, the market, and the bureaucracy working together to foster mass consumerism and heightened social control” (Soja 2010 B: 99). Spatial rights include open and fair participation in urban processes, accessing and taking advantage of the city, especially the centers, avoiding spatial segregation, and equal access to public services, such as health education, and welfare (Soja B 2010 B: 96-100).

3. Urbanization and Socio-Spatial Segregation in Brazil

In this chapter, I will explore the Brazilian urbanization to identify the processes that produce spatial segregation. Spatial segregation is interdependently interconnected with spatial injustice, as it will be explained in the following text. Segregation produces unjust conditions on a socio-spatial basis. The primarily used literature is Santos’ ‘A Urbanização Brasileira’ (1993), Azzoni’s ‘Formação Sócio-espacial Metropolitana: Novas Tendências ou Novas

Evidências?’ (1995), and Abramo’s ‘A Cidade Com-Fusa: Mercado e a Produção da Estrutura Urbana nas Grandes Cidades Latino-americanas’ (2009).

In ‘A Urbanização Brasileira’ (1993; The Brazilian Urbanization), Milton Santos describes Brazil’s urbanization process from the 16th until the end of the 20th century. He explains the relevance of the different urban development degrees of the northern, northeastern, southern, southeastern, and central-western regions for their further economic role in industrialization, modernization, and ‘de-metropolization’ of Brazil in the context of the military regime. He also refers to the function of the Banco Nacional de Habitação, the Guarantee Fund for Time of Service (FGTS), and the Urban Communities for Accelerated Recuperation (CURA) within the socio-spatial segregation process.

Azzoni analyzes the discussion about a possible de-metropolization process between 1970 and 1991 in Brazil in his article ‘Formação Sócio-espacial Metropolitana: Novas Tendências ou Novas Evidências?’ (1995; metropolitan socio-spatial formation: new tendencies or new evidences?). In fact, the rate of growth and of demography decreases in Brazil during that time, in all its metropolises, and especially in the southeast. Also in the state of São Paulo, a growth of the capitals’ population rate incline is visible, suggesting that a more equable distribution – a de-concentration – takes places. That development is bonded with the partial loss of industrial importance of the metropolis which, nonetheless, is still in decisive power.

The model of the Latin-American ‘com-fuse’ city by Abramo (2009) is basically a combination of the model of a central, compact city with an intensive urban ground use and the model of a peripheral, diffuse city where urban ground is rather used extensively, both produced by the state, the market, and necessity within a stratified society. Both city models are also produced by the formal and the informal market and are - as well as the formal and informal market - interdependent.

Urbanization in Brazil

The colonial urbanization process of Brazil is characterized by politic-administrative organization, rural economies aiming at export and subsistence, social class system, urban commerce, functionalism, and mining industry. Brazil’s urbanization happened quickly, wanting to enjoy the advantages of urbanized areas and to participate at the global market. The general urbanization process of the metropolitan area, such as São Paulo’s, is described as conurbation by Villaça and defined as the fusion of urban areas, associated with its core’s social, economic, and cultural importance. It grows within its identity as a physical and socioeconomic city and its political-administrative part. A growing city, as a consequence of its growth, absorbs and/or creates new urban nucleuses. At a certain point, it does not always grow continuously. Usually, cities become integrated because of their strategic location, starting in São Paulo (and Brazil) in the 1920s, for example with São Caetano which was connected to the railroad leading to Santos. For conurbation, the nucleus of the absorbed city has to be transformed. Referring to the Bureau of the Census (USA) during the 1940s, a central city’s nucleus holds intense socioeconomic interconnections, as through spatial locomotion of people (routines, systematic, etc.) or through telecommunication (Villaça 1998: 49-67).

The urban population in Brazil increases from 5,9 percent in 1872 and 9,4 percent in 1900 to 31,24 percent in 1940. Especially the population related to the service sector (by 60 percent) and the agricultural sector grows (by 130 percent) between 1920 and 1940. In 1920, the state of São Paulo is already Brazil’s leading economic force, a dynamic pole for people from the south up to Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, it has larger capacities, and grows by 43 percent due to its economic movements (coffee production starting in 1850), driving investments in energy, communication, transport (railways), banking, education facilities, and industrialization itself. With the beginning of the commercial degradation of rubber, cities like Belém and Manaus decrease in terms of population and the initiating cacao production in Salvador attracts many migrants. The urban population rate in Brazil keeps rising from 68,86 percent in 1980 to 77,13 percent in 1991 (Santos 1993: 19-36). In 2000, it already reaches 81,2 percent, ten years later with an increase of almost 23 million inhabitants and a total of 190.755.799 inhabitants, it hits 84,4 percent of urban population. São Paulo reaches an urbanization rate of 95,9 percent in 2010 (slightly less than Rio de Janeiro’s with 96,7 percent; IBGE 2011).

Brazil is characterized by a strong regional diversity. Around the end of the Second World War, the center-west region (Minas Gerais, Goiás) and Amazônia are urbanized quickly, thanks to their lack of urban heritage in contrast to the old urbanized northeastern regions which, referring to Santos, can restrict them in the velocity of the urbanization process. In the southeast, progressive adaptation is possible due to the later and therefore less inherited urban structures. Its permanent technical renovation also contributes to an accelerated permanent economic and social renovation and is considered a different process than the also quickly evolving introduction of new technology and economy to an empty area (Santos 1993: 64-70). In the end of the 18th and the 19th century, territory is geographically remodeled through mechanization by technical and scientific means and by continuously distributed information as a social mean. In the 1940s, railway tracks are connected amongst each other and with the main southeastern economic center, new infrastructure investments are made. The new import substitution process revaluates social relations as financial means (with reference to Marx). With the military putsch of 1964, economic development is to serve an exponential national and international consumption. Brazil becomes a strong exporter of non-traditional products (soya, citrus) and other industrialized products. Coffee, cacao, cotton, and wheat production are increased and serve the national market, especially the expanded middle class as well as a seduced poor class with already restricted consumption opportunities. The number of highway users and cars rises drastically in the 1970s. A territorial fluency of information, values, money, transport, etc. produces an even more concentrated and stricter modern capitalist region (Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro) with a higher density of work division and leads to a better accessibility for the individual. Within this picture, decentralized, diffusely scattered factories and farms arise, forming the areas of later peripheral occupations and are brought forwards by politics, the market, and its investor. Caused by work division, the density of capital and investments, functionalized and socially differentiated territories are formed. Because of the information distribution process, technology is integrated into the social system of values, introducing a modern socio-geographic division between the dictating and the producing participants. While the main part of São Paulo’s immigrants comes from middle and low classes, the middle-sized cities receive the major part of better-educated middle class migrants (Santos 1993: 32-51).

Concentration of production (e. g. in transport) is a main strategy of the dictatorship, giving only few powerful groups influence on the urban development of Brazil, an accretive percentage of international origin (22,6 percent of industrial products in Brazil in 1980 are imported). External domination, control, and corruption form new urban structures, an ideology, and economic dependencies (Fernandes 1973: 18 in Santos 1993: 112). For better circulation and profit maximization, internal and external transport structures are improved. Coevally, public resources are centralized by the Brazilian government. Governmental expenses for big enterprises are justified by the development ideology of the 1950s and less invested in social issues which are left to the market’s spontaneity. Modernism concentration also effects class production and segregation all over the country. Small and intermediate proprietors who are not able to adapt to modernization and its unifying market, become more vulnerable. Accelerated inflation expounds the problems of the market (Santos 1993: 109-115).

The concept of the corporative city refers to its closed groups of interest which do not include external interests into their activities. In a society with more or less organized diffuse groups of little influence, with partly aggressive and exploited lobbies, the concept works quite well for the upper participants. Egoism and never satisfied consumption needs are stimulated by the system and stimulate the system itself. Corporative urbanization imposes itself on urban life in all areas: spurning parts of the city, formation of groups and segregation, as well as in production, life styles, and behaviors. The creation of the National Bank of Habitation in order to improve living conditions of urban dwellers really serves to adjust cities to the monopolist capitalist system. It is financed by voluntary payments and the Guarantee Fund for Time of Service (FGTS; Santos 1993: 119-123). To push modernization forwards, the authoritarian regime also releases the employers from their financial burden of severance payment and undertakes the responsibility for the employees, leaving it to the FGTS. The remaining means are spent on infrastructure, serving the modern structures and construction of apartments and houses for the middle classes. Only in the beginning of the 1970s, speculations are stimulated by upgraded areas and the poor end up in cheaper peripheral areas with less infrastructure and access to services. Projects of Urban Communities for Accelerated Recuperation (CURA) for central renovation have the purpose of attracting estate speculators. Urban improvements in favor of the poor instantaneously come into conflict with the middle and higher classes – producing spatial injustices and social inequality (Santos 1993: 124-125).


Heavier metropolitan decreasing growth rates point out a rather distributed metropolization – or a de-centralization – than a de-metropolization, also referring to a still bigger part of urban (than rural) dwellers living in Brazil’s metropolises. The growth of cities with a population close to the of a metropolis is a sign for the formation of new metropolises which in 1991 still range between 100.001 and a million inhabitants, as for example Campinas, Santos, São José dos Campos, and Sorocaba. The national and global capital participation of the state of São Paulo in the country’s production decreases since the 1960s, of its metropolitan area since 1980, and therefore also its economic importance (not of deciding power!; Azzoni 1995: 289-304). Modern agricultural areas receive more migrants: In terms of urban development, organic components can be replaced easier and cheaper in those areas (e. g. new way of planting, new seeds, etc.) than technical components of the metropolises (e. g. replacing a whole bridge or road for urban improvement). Poor people – limited in their legal options – escape to the cities and create conditions for utilizing the old economic capital in rather informal ways (Santos 1993: 48-61).

Irregular Forms of Compact and Diffuse Habitation

If the formal market is not able or willing to cover all of the population’s needs, another informal instance will arise to satisfy those needs. In case of the Latin American urban ground market, various informal living forms are created, such as cortiços, favelas, or other irregular allotments. Cortiços are rented, high-density, sub-standard shared rooms in high-story buildings or houses. Increasing rents, caused by land speculation and gentrification, have made cortiços even more profitable for landlords. A survey from ten years ago has shown that the rent per square meter was 90 percent higher than the formal rent in the same area. Revitalization programs by the government make it difficult for the poor to stay in the city center where they have easier access to work and infrastructure (UN-HABITAT 2010: 110-111). The urban housing deficit of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo (MRSP) includes about 611.936 units, about 81, 2 percent of them are made up by families with an income of less than three minimum salaries. In 2007, 619.915 abandoned, habitable housing units in the center are vacant. Activists argue that using them, even though they are reputedly in bad conditions, can contribute to solving the housing deficit. Reasons for the abandonment of many of the buildings are the inability of the owners to pay taxes, ownership disputes, the waiting for a rise of estate prices, high costs for refurbishment, or the lack of market standards (UN-HABITAT 2010: 116). Favelas are unplanned, predominantly un-serviced illegal settlement on public or private ground of provisional auto-constructed homes (UN-HABITAT 2010: 110); irregular allotments are self-constructed homes in rudimentary infrastructural areas (UN-HABITAT 2010: 110). A slum-dweller lacks at least one of the following: access to improved drinking water sources or delivery points, to a not-shared improved sanitation facility, a non-risky located house with an a extreme climate resisting structure, living space of less than four people per room, and effective protection against forced evictions (UN-HABITAT 2010: 108-109).

The Interdependence of the Formal and Informal Market and the ‘Com-Fuse’ City

The neoliberal city is produced by the European urban crisis of fordism and the new urban politics, turning the market into a determining producer of the city - besides the state as already existing producer. In turn, the crisis gives the market the principal power of producing the city, predominantly through privatization processes, caused by the crisis of modernism and of state urban financing. Latin American cities however are produced by the state, the market, and by necessity, leading to the production of ‘popular cities’: formed by the processes of occupying, auto-constructing, auto-urbanizing of space, and eventually consolidation of popular informal settlements (APIs), also described as the ‘informal market of urban ground’. For western modern cities, two conformation models are common: the one of the ‘compact city’ using urban ground intensively and the one of the ‘diffuse city’ using urban ground extensively, while the Latin American real estate market, the formal and informal mutually, produces both models of a city at the same time.



ISBN (eBook)
2.6 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg – Angewandte Kulturwissenschaften, Angewandte Kulturwissenschaften
paulo spatial injustice brazil edward soja urbanism



Titel: Spatial Justice and the City of São Paulo