Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sao Paulo "Cars X Rivers"

This is a fantastic documentary that explains exactly why, how, and where the floods happen in Sao Paulo, long story short, there was a big debate in the 1920's, some smart politicians wanted to keep a 1 kilometer area around all the rivers free of "urban" development, so the rivers could be "RIVERS" and flow as nature intended, with vegetation and areas that could flood without causing any harm to anyone.
The city tried to mirror itself in large American cities such as Chicago with large Avenues and giving total preference for an "INDIVIDUAL" mode of transportation ( CAR ) versus trains, subways or buses.
The idea was to built roads and avenues so they could SELL, SELL, SELL more and more cars and fuel the beginning of the Brazilian industrialization process.
The bad guys won, Mr. Prestes Maia ( Sao Paulo's mayor in the 1930's) was one of them, he thought the river basins should be used to built the city's many avenues, because it was a cheaper area to built the avenues, they didn't have to buy too many properties, just follow the valley and built the avenues along them.
Sao Paulo became a city of underground rivers, there are hundreds of small, medium and large rivers that have been paved over and sealed deep underground, but they still exist and are still running under the city.
So, next time you are driving in and around Sao Paulo and it starts to rain, STAY AWAY FROM THE RIVERS, avoid MAJOR AVENUES AND ROADS, its the time to literally run for the hills.
Like I have written before in another post, I usually go into a Mall, catch a movie or have dinner, by the time you are out of the Mall, the floods are usually over and you can go home.
Now, this video is a great Geography class if you are interested in learning about Sao Paulo and understanding the city, why it is the way it is, and you will understand why it floods where it floods.
The documentary is in PORTUGUESE, however, the narrator has a very clear Portuguese and it might be easy for you to understand if you have a basic Portuguese, not to mention it is very visual and fun to watch.

Enjoy :)

"ENTRE RIOS" - a urbanização de São Paulo


Jana @ Paper plains said...

That is so interesting! And I think they still have the same mentality, sell sell sell more cars cars cars. It is literally unbelievable the amount of cars here. Everyone seems to have two or three and I have no idea how they afford it! When the air looses its breeze I can smell I only smell pollution. I cant even run on the streets anymore and now I drive to the park because of the diesel trucks. Im not quite sure how they are going to solve this problem?!

Ray and Gil said...

Yes, Jana, it is upsetting how much they have a car mentality and not enought space for CARS!
Sao Paulo was supposed to have started building their subway system over 100 years ago, about the same time New York started theirs, but a powerful Bus Companies lobby at the time blocked every atemp at building a decent Subway system back in the beginning of the last century.
The same thing happened with the cars, the first car factories in Sao Paulo started mass production around the 1920's, so no chance for mass transit to develop in a proper way.
Even today, the city relocates SUBWAY budget to build more roads.
When I am in Sao Paulo I usually walk, take the subway and only drive during the weekends or later at night after the rush hour crowd leaves the city for the suburbs.
I think the best way to solve the problems is to extend the subway system into the suburbs, even places like Alphaville and the Airport should be served by Subway in my opinion.
The bulk of cars that are around the city come from the "Grande Sao Paulo" area, where there is no subway. Cities like Guarulhos, Osasco, Sao Bernardo in the ABC area should most definitely have subway systems, so those folks could leave their cars at home and take the subway into the city for their daily work routine.


Born Again Brazilian said...

Hi. Unrelated - is there a way to register and get notified of your new posts? I can't figure it out on your blog :(

Ray and Gil said...

Dear B.A.B.,

I am so sorry, but I have no idea how to do that, blogger has been giving me a hard time lately and I have heard other people complaining as well, it is clearly a blogger issue.
The only way I know how to do it is by adding a blog I want to follow to my blog roll and the blog roll shows me the updates automatically.
It works for blogger and other types of blogs as well.
I hope it works! Can you add our blog to your blog roll?
I am sure Jim, Danielle or Rachel would certainly know how to do it, they are veterans. I am just a beginner with this whole blog business ;)


Born Again Brazilian said...

Hmmm. Blog Roll. That's pretty technical :)
Ok, now motivated to make a blog roll on my site. Good suggestion and I hope it's an option on Wordpress and also in iWeb.
I've also had trouble commenting on blogger sites, including yours, using my wordpress identity. I have to use the Name/URL option. Weird right?

Ray and Gil said...


Yes, it is weird, I heard Nina also complaining about the same thing, Gil told me he can't even post comments on blogger anymore.
The way I found around it was to choose the "get started" option under the Google area where you enter your password.
I choose that option everyday I turn on my laptop and create the same account with the same email and create the same password everyday as if it was the first day I am signing on Google.
Blogger will let me sign on as "Anonymous" and won't give me any trouble, but to avoid leaving a comment as "Anonymous" I have been creating my Google account everyday as if I never had one before, I always use the same email and the same password and it works, after I create the Google id for they day, blogger allows me to sign on and leave comments on blogger.
Funny thing, I don't have to create a new ID everyday to leave a comment on Wordpress, it gives me no trouble what so ever.
I thought about ditching blogger all together and migrating into "Wordpress" but I wouldn't even know where to start... :)
So, on account of that, I will stay put and will play with blogger for as long as I can.


Anonymous said...

my name is Yoana, im an architecture student and i have a project based in sao paulo and i am very interested in the underground rivers. the documentary was really nice to watch although i didint understand anything.
i was wondering weather you or anyone else can suggest sites or blogs or anything where i can find an old map of the exact loaction of the rivers,cannals and small streams.
pls email me on yoana.yordanova.10@ucl.ac.uk

American Heart Brazilian Soul said...

Dear Yoana,

I have no idea, but I will look into it and try to help you.
In case I can't find it I can put you in touch with some people who are very knowledgeable and will be able to better help you with your project.
Thanks for your comment.