Sao Paulo


The legal framework for the planning of cities in Brazil was defined in the first half of the 2000s, and the master plan law was approved in 2002 and after that the land use plan in 2004. On this structure, São Paulo, which is the most populous city not only in Brazil but also in the whole Western hemisphere, started the planning process for urban development and the master plan was initiated. However, as the master plan focuses on spatial issues and infrastructure, a separate strategic planning process and an comprehensive study was needed to focus on socio-economic issues and the climate crisis.

With the works started in 2009, the 2040 vision was prepared for the city of Sao Paulo, which has a population of over 20 million together with the metropolitan area. For this, the University of Sao Paulo was specified as the main consulting institution, and an international advisory committee was established. Representatives and executives from many cities such as Hong Kong, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Beijing and New York, who prepare strategic plans in their own cities, participated in this committee.

We listened and discussed the details of the plan, which was launched in 2012, from Prof. Miguel Luiz Bucalem, who was the Urban Development Secretariat of the Municipality of Sao Paulo and the General Coordinator of SP2040 between 2009-2012. Here are some highlights from our meeting with Prof. Bucalem:

  • A local advisory council was established, consisting primarily of important institutions and institutes. Industry, trade, union representatives, engineers, architects and lawyers participated in this council.
  • A detailed engagement strategy was prepared and a detailed questionnaire for experts was created in the first phase.
  • The first open discussion event took place at an international conference. Workshops and park meetings all over the city followed.
  • In the final plan, the 2040 vision is briefly introduced with the slogan "The City We Want". Then again, with a very general definition, two different scenarios were prepared: Tendencial scenario and desired scenario.
  • Problems were identified in the plan first, these problems were placed on five axes and six different “catalyst projects” covering them all were presented.
  • Identified problems: The distance between residences and workplaces, insufficient use of areas with good infrastructure, socio-spatial discrimination, poor quality water, clash of municipal administration and metropolitan dynamics, increasing costs with scale in the face of strong economy.
  • The axes were: social cohesion, urban development, environmental improvement, mobility and accessibility, job opportunity.
  • The six catalyst projects that have been finally created can be summarized as follows:
    • Living Rivers (reclamation of all rivers in the city by converting them into parks)
    • City Parks (to have a park within a maximum of 15 minutes)
    • 30-minute city (the journey from home to work will not exceed 30 minutes on average, this 30-minute area will include hobby and cultural areas)
    • Communities (integration with the city will be ensured by creating communities in risky and unsafe regions)
    • Business opportunity centers (basic business axes will be integrated and decentralized)
    • Open City (the city will be a center of attraction for innovation, tourism, different cultural festivals)