Latin American City Model - Exploring São Paulo

Thank you for your participation and evaluation of our Urban Geography course.

The goal of this lesson is to introduce you to the concept of the Latin American City model.

The entire course is composed of two parts: The lesson itself and a quick assessment. After completing the lesson, please complete the assessment questions. When you are done, please click on the "Finish course" button on the homepage. The entire course with assessments will take approximately 20 - 30 minutes.

We are not evaluating you but rather, we want to see which method is better for teaching.  

Thanks for your feedback!

- Ken & Marlena

 

The South American City - The lesson

Introduction

The Latin American City model attempts to explain the typical city in Latin America.  It depicts the typical divisions we find in how the land is used.  

In your reading which follows next, try and find those parts of the text that give you a better understanding of the parts of the model.  What are you reading that relates to the information below?

Example of Latin American city model - São Paulo, Brazil

To put the model in perspective, take a look below at how it fits over the city of São Paulo. Compare how the different areas fit together. Feel free to click on particular sections to identify them or open the map in full view.

Exploring the Spine and the Elite Sector

Spine and Elite Residential

The spine is a corridor of retail that leads to the mall, a huge urban area fixated on retail. The area around it has the area of wealthy neighborhoods and they have better access to services.

Click on the points on the map to explore some of the wealthiest areas:

Vila Olímpia

Vila Olímpia houses several offices for multinational companies such as Unilever, Santander Group, Gol, Motorola and Facebook’s first Latin American office. The neighborhood is also famous for its bars and nightclubs.

Jardins

Jardins is an area composed by the neighborhoods of Jardim Paulistano, Jardim Europa, Jardim Paulista and Cerqueira César. All these upscale neighborhoods are located towards the Pinheiros river. It is one of the most prestigious areas in São Paulo city boasting a Polo club.

The poor and the wealthy living next to each other

The shantytowns, also known as the favelas are often next to wealthy areas. Many are separated by a simple wall, a highway, or a river. To get a better understanding of how close the neighborhoods are, explore the streets yourself, using Google's Street View.

Paraisópolis

Paraisópolis is a large favela (slum) of the city, almost 43,000 people are crammed into an area of 150 hectares near the CBD and elite residential areas.


On the outskirts of Paraisópolis, you will find a wall which separates it out from the wealthy area.


Just over that wall, you will find large homes with private pools and tennis courts.

The Periférico and the Shantytowns

The Periférico, the edge of the city is a very common area where the shantytowns are located. 

Here are few common characteristics of a shantytown found in any major Latin American city:

  • These are the people who most recently moved into the area from the rural parts of the country. 
  • Since they are new, their buildings are makeshift and they often illegally obtain the services they need to live in a city.
  • The area often does not fall under city rules and ends up being largely unregulated.
  • Issues with homelessness and crime.

The following video will give you a better feel for what is like to live inside one of these areas:

The Shantytowns and the Industry

Industry

Factories exist and are a major source of jobs within the city. 

  • They are often at the edge of the city and away from the wealthier areas.
  • They are also at the edge of the city as that is where the new and cheap labor can be found.

Petrobras, an oil refinery and Sabesp, a water utility company are next door to Heliópolis, the largest favela in the city.

 

The Industrial Center has greater access to the labor provided by the favelas on the outskirts of the city.

 
               

The Zone of In Situ Accretion

The Zone of In Situ Accretion is a better Shantytown. It is closer in but still towards the outer part of the city. These people also moved from the rural areas to the city but have now been in the city for a much longer time than people in the Periférico.  As a result, their neighborhoods are much improved by comparison

Take a look at the following neighborhood. See the difference between this area and a favela?

 

Summary

Take a look at the model again and visualize how of what you have learned applies to this image below.

This model includes both the zones created in the original Griffin-Ford model and the new Ford model of the South American city.

Adapted with permission from: L.Ford, "A New and Improved Model of Latin American City Structure," The Geographical Review 86 (1996), p.438

-- END --

This concludes the lesson. Please fill out the assessment next.

What did you learn? - The assessment

List the traits and characteristics of a Shantytown / Periférico.

List as many as you can based on what you gained from the lesson.

How does the Zone of In Situ Accretion (better Shantytown area) differ from the area of shantytowns?

Please describe.

List the amenities and / or traits of the elite section of the city.

List as many as you can based on what you gained from the lesson.

The method used to teach the lesson was effective in learning about urban models.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

You got a sense of the spatial distribution of neighborhoods in the city.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

You felt like you could place where the poor and wealthy of a city would live.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

You have an understanding for what life is like in the areas of Periférico, the Zone of In Situ Accretion, and the Spine/Elite Residential?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

You understand how the model works when used upon a real city.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

Have a better understanding of a Latin American city after this lesson.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Undecided
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

Please add any additional comments, recommendations and general thoughts about this experience.

This is the last question for the assessment.

After returning to Homepage, please click on "Finish course" to complete your lesson.

Thanks again for your participation!