Urbanisation – two sides of a coin. Sao Paulo city case

We continue to observe the phenomenon of urbanisation around the globe and in today’s blog post our focus is on Brazil and the city of Sao Paulo.

From the middle of the 20th century Brazil has been facing drastic migration from rural and urban areas, moreover the country’s population has tripled. Today almost 90% of Brazil population is living in cities. Where Brazilian cities prepared for this scale of Urbanisation?

Source: https://esa.un.org

The amount of people living today in Brazil’s cities is even more mind-blowing in real numbers: more than 200 million people out of approximately 220 million are living in Brazilian cities today.

Source: https://esa.un.org

Sao Paulo is one of the most cited cases of urbanisation in Brazil. The city is located on the South East coast of Brazil and is Brazil’s largest city with a population of approximately 22 million. Moreover, according to the UN reports Sao Paulo is one of top-5 largest cities in the world and the most populous city in North and South America.

Not only is Sao Paulo home to Brazilian people but also to the largest Arab, Italian, Japanese and Jewish diasporas in the country. This is due to the vibrant city economy and for being the hub of most Brazilian companies.

The city’s role in the national economy is tremendous. Sao Paulo is one of the three richest states of Brazil and is in the top three Brazilian states in terms of GDP (approximately one-third of Brazilian GDP). Moreover, Sao Paulo plays important role in the global economy and is considered to be one of the top ten richest cities in the world (PwC).

At the same time, the city has serious problems of social exclusion and spatial segregation caused by urbanisation. In the centre of the city you see skyscrapers and a modern downtown including the financial and economic center of the city and the country. In the suburbs, you can still see favelas, which chaotically grew over the decades and are still home to millions of Sao Paulo citizens. Lack of access to basic resources like water, electricity and to important services like education and medical treatment can still be found in the favelas.

Spatial segregation in the Sao Paulo.

The city’s large population also creates transport problems, particularly on its roads.

Traffic jams often stretch to more than 130 miles in greater Sao Paulo, a sprawling megalopolis accommodating around 20 million people and 6 million cars. Last year more cars were sold here than ever before with nearly 1,000 new vehicles hitting the roads each day.

Source: Guardian

Traffic congestion is so high that Sao Paulo has the second highest number of helicopters per person in the world as alternative means of transport. Helicopter became so popular that Uber launched a UberCopter in the city.

By launching more helicopters, the city will also congest its air space, better infrastructure planning in suburbs is required. That’s why urbanisation challenges need systematic and urgent attention in order to make life in the city sustainable and inclusive for all its citizens.

iSensing is working in partnership with ViaQuatro to deploy an IoT sensor network in the city’s metro transportation network. This network will be used to provide real time and historical data on citizen usage trends to plan better services and encourage further investment in the metro network. iSensing plans to make Sao Paulo key to international expansion plans working with Latin American partners to build additional networks in the city. iSensing’s aim is to install 200 sensors across the city centre though 2019 and to work with public and private sector organisations to enhance transport and city living.

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