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« Technical Difficulties | Main | Interview with Renato Meireilles »

November 15, 2012

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Edu

Alphavilles and other gated communities are the ultimate(and the wrongest) response to the governments failures. It means that people just quit believing in the authorities and decided to live in a bubble, where they pay to have the services that had been already paid when they pay taxes. Besides, most of the people who works there(maids, security, baby sitters, secretaries etc.)can't live there, they have to live in cheaper places, thats why there are so many favelas and unplanned cheap and ugly neighborhoods surrounding the Alphavilles in São Paulo. Today the Alphavilles in São Paulo are famous for the mess they cause inside and outside their gated area. When there was just the Aphaville 1, in the 1980s, it used to take 30 minutes to get to anywhere in São Paulo. Today it can take from 2 to 3 hours, plus everybody who is arriving in São Paulo via the major Castelo Branco road has to share the same space with all those commuters. Since the construction companies can no longer sell those units the way they used to sell(because everybody knows its a bad idea) they started to create gated communities inside São Paulo, like "Villagio Panamby","Nova America", "Dominio Marajoara"(this one built without city permit and threatened to be demolished),etc. Usually the services inside or nearby this communities are not good enough or people just get bored, and then they have to drive far away to spend their money where they really want. As a result, more people driving more and more, instead of walking. I saw somewhere that Americans are leaving the suburbs and moving to the cities to avoid the higher fuel prices, so Brazil is going the wrong way. You also see many walled communities in California and other US areas, but usually they exist where the local services are already spread all over those counties anyway, and the infrastructure is already enough to take that number of cars.Icredibly, these gated real estate is making the city real estate prices go up, since many Alphaville mansion owners want to sell their houses and try to buy less square meters for more money, inside the São Paulo city. A good city is a city that belongs to you and to everybody else.

Rio Gringa

Thanks for the insight Edu!

Just a note that comment approval may be slow this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks!

Ray

Edu,

I agree with you partially. I mean, it sucks that Brazilians pay high taxes and don't get enough public services, and then to add insult to injury pay again for extra security.
Having said that, what is the middle class supposed to do? Live behind bars in town houses in the city while criminals run around?
First of all, I don't think everything that is good for Americans is good for Brazilians, and I also don't think the "trend" of returning to the cities is in a very large scale, it is very limited. Millions and millions of Americans still live and will continue to live in gated communities and planned neighborhoods outside of big cities.
I don't see anything wrong with Brazilians wanting to live in safe, spacious neighborhoods if they have the money to pay for it.
Traffic in Sao Paulo has gotten worse everywhere, not just in the Alphaville area of Castelo Branco, and come on, 2 or 3 hours to get to Sao Paulo from Alphaville is a bit of an exaggeration, it won't take you more than 1 and a half on the worse days during rush hour. 2 or 3 hours only in an exceptional day of flooding or a major accident on Castelo Branco or the Marginais. I do believe a subway or train station in Alphaville would help with the traffic or at least give commuters an extra option into the city.
I honestly don't think 45 new Alphavilles or even 4500 for that matter would be a bad idea. I do love living in the city and just wish they were safer, meanwhile I will be taking a closer look at buying a piece of land at a gated community outside of Sao Paulo.

Abracos

Ray

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