São Paulo 2040 | MIPIM-World Blog

In collaboration with Greg Clark

The financial capital of South America, São Paulo is the commercial hub of Brazil, one of the largest emerging economic nations in the world, a country that is predicted to rise from 8% of United States’ GDP in 2007, to 26% by 2050. Having risen to national prominence in the 1950s based on trade and industrial growth, São Paulo has successfully overcome challenging economic adjustments and witnessed a credit boom that has helped to spur record car sales, bank profits and stock exchange gains. The city has witnessed a period of huge foreign direct investment, and high year-on-year real income growth fuelled by its thriving legal scene and rapidly internationalising BM&F Bovespa, the multi-asset bourse. The city is now a continental focal point for entrepreneurial investment, and is a major specialised centre for banking, trade, higher education, fashion, advertising, design, and healthcare.


Geographically, the central city of São Paulo is approximately the size of Greater London, at 1,500 km2, of which two-thirds is urbanised. The city GDP is well over $200 billion, translating to more than $15,000 per capita. The city is located within a metropolitan region named Grande (Greater) São Paulo. While the region incorporates 39 municipalities, it is itself situated within São Paulo state. Brazil’s largest state – one of 27 – has more than 40 million inhabitants and contributes around 30-33% of the country’s GDP. The metropolitan region is one of three in the state, while constituting only 3% of the total area of the state of São Paulo.

Sao Paulo 2040 is a new strategic plan currently under development by the Municipality of São Paulo, in collaboration with a wide range of business, institutional and NGO stakeholders, and involving experts at one of the city’s main universities. The Plan aims to provide a benchmark for government, citizens, businesses and organisations to collaborate towards 2040, with intermediate goals by 2025. The Plan provides an agenda of integration and synergy, to optimize current efforts in different sectors and departments, and to engage the right partners and investors. It is the city’s major new instrument for long term thinking and consensus-building.


The vision for Sao Paulo in 2040 is to create ‘The City We All Desire’, for the city to be both globally competitive and have good living conditions for all, while respecting the environment. The vision stresses the importance of all citizens living in dignity and with a good quality of life, enabled by access to education, quality health care, recreational and cultural amenities close to all homes. The vision also refers to the importance of providing solutions for young people and the post-retirement generation.


Economically, Sao Paulo will become more open to the international economy, with enhanced innovation and research centres reflecting a re-orientation towards high technology and services, and a move towards excellence in cultural, intellectual and academic production.


Sao Paulo’s Strategic Plan has begun with a preliminary strategic vision based on Sao Paulo Priorities and drawing upon other city experiences, and has pursued vigorous consultation with more than 25,000 citizens and commentators,  while developing five propositions of the Strategic Axis. These are:


  • Social Cohesion – a major reduction of inequity in income, territory and access to public services, while maintaining identity and affiliation.
  • Urban Development – social and spatial balance to ensure infrastructure and populations are adjacent rather than far apart.
  • Environmental Improvement – controlling environmental pollution and a new ethos of sustainability in line with global norms
  • Mobility – dramatic reduction of time and money spent on daily movements of people and cargo
  • Business Opportunity – springboard from knowledge-intensive creativity, technology and innovation infrastructure while maintaining key logistics platform and open-ness to international markets


One key element of the draft plan is the identification of key catalytic projects, cross cutting interventions that can bring the future to life quickly and create a sense of momentum and progress. These projects include:


Living Rivers: a programme to clean up the waterways within Sao Paulo to enable people to enjoy the water and improve health.

Urban Parks: a programme to create  several urban parks for recreational purposes to improve livability.

Communities: a programme to turn precarious settlements into communities and integrate them to the City.

The 30 minute city: a way to integrate transport, a more compact city, and better urban nodes so that non-one need travel for more than 30 minutes to get to work and receive urban services.

Poles of Opportunity: an initiative to foster specialist business districts and sector hubs so that Sao Paulo’s diverse economy can flourish.

Open-City: a programme to deepen the global reach of Sao Paulo and to celebrate it cosmospolitan and international character.



São Paulo 2040 will be completed during 2012. To find out more please visit: www.sp2040.net.br


By Miguel Bucalem, Secretary for Urban Development, City of São Paulo.

Featured Image: Marcosleal

Embedded image: Caio do Valle

Top image credit : Photobank gallery

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