University of São Paulo: Urban policies applied throughout the history of the city of São Paulo reinforce inequality

Raquel Rolnik publishes an updated version of her book, São Paulo: The Planning of Inequality ( Editora Fósforo ) , which has a preface written by Emicida, invited not only as a rapper, but also as a thinker. Raquel is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at USP and one of the coordinators of LabCidade, a laboratory dedicated to the critical monitoring of urban and housing policies that seeks to intervene directly in the public debate and in carrying out practical actions on the subject.

The book defends the thesis that inequality in São Paulo is the result of urban policy options that have been taken throughout the city’s history. “It is the result of plans, it is the result of projects, it is the result of urban legislation — and not the lack of it. That is, a little contesting the idea that we would be facing a chaotic, unplanned city. Here we defend the thesis that we plan inequality”, explains Raquel.

the confined city
In A Cidade Confinada: Shopping Malls, Condominiums and the Agony of Public Spaces, one of the book’s chapters, Raquel investigates the moment in São Paulo’s history when public spaces for collective use give way to private environments, in a movement of “confinement” middle class in condominiums and shopping centers. The teacher explains: “It is a time when violence in the city grows and increases a lot, the penetration of violence — physically, of course, materially, but also symbolically, in the city’s imagination — and, from there, we have a series of new real estate products, or ‘financial real estate complex products’, as I call it in the book, which will offer new models of city organization, which is what I call ‘confined city’”.

“Changing in kids: shopping mall instead of open shopping street; gated and walled communities within themselves, instead of the neighborhood without walls. So, the confined city is this restructuring of the ways of living in the city, which implied a ‘going inside’, an absolutely violent segregation, a predominant surveillance and security model, cameras, high walls, and an abandonment of public spaces. , especially on the part of the middle and upper classes, who will confine themselves to those of collective, private and controlled usufruct.”

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