'Magical' Sao Paulo confronts challenge of explosive growth

Sao Paulo has undergone an urban transformation following extraordinary economic growth. But as the city’s mayor, Gilberto Kassab, told delegates in a keynote speech, such good fortune brings its own special challenges.

The city already accounts for 15% of Brazil’s GDP and boasts the greatest “multiplicity of communities and cultural diversity” of any capital city, Kassab said.

He added: “That pluralism makes Sao Paulo a magical city and a thriving capital, but the influx of people from all over Brazil and all over the world means that society is increasingly demanding on the facilities of the city.”

The municipal budget has more than doubled to Brazilian Reals 35bn in the seven years that Kassab has been mayor, reflecting the wealthy creation and economic growth of the city and its 11 million population.

“These changes generate investment opportunities from outside, which are extremely welcome but actually needed in a city the sieze of Sao Paulo, Kassab added. “The city is transforming unlike any other city.”

With Sao Paulo hosting the 2014 World Cup footbal tournament and bidding to host the 2020 World Expo, more change is coming. The city is building a 5 million sq m convention centre in readiness for World Expo and in the expectation of investors from overseas.

“There is a great demand for partners,” Kassab added.

This article was taken from MIPIM Review 2011. Read more here.

Top image credit : Photobank gallery

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