In discussions on urban issues there is a group that would call "novayorkistas" using the examples of that wonderful / awful town to defend its application in São Paulo and other Brazilian cities.
Recently they brought to an event on architecturetheir New Yorker guru, the Secretary of Transportation of the City (or, according to Dilma,“guruan”), with a photomontage of Times Square, with its promenade, full of people walking by and without lateral congestion,giving the impression that with restrictions on vehicles people stopped using motorized private means, choosing to move on foot and using public transportation.
The novayorkists advocate mobility solutions adopted on the island of Manhattan, but do not agree with the brutal vertical densification that occurred and occurs in New York, of which the new "skyscraper" that replaced the Twin Towers is an emblematic case.
They only show one side of the apple.
The boardwalks (pedestrian sidewalks) were successful in Curitiba and were a disaster in Sao Paulo. Restrict access by car and eliminate parking spaces had disastrous effects.
In Curitiba these provisions were implanted when it was a middle class city, with the organization of the center as a shopping mall in the open, with a mix of shops similar to those found in these new commercial shopping centers.
When there I gave an interview on street at 7 am in the morning under a chill below 7 degrees and the area was already wake up. After circling the area, crossing with many passers I only found one "homeless" resident,sleeping on a garden bench.A very different picture of what occurs at the heart of São Paulo thatI frequent for professional reasons, reaching the center by subway, where at every moment you stumble with a homeless sleeping by the sidewalk. Besides the stench of urine and feces of which make the sidewalks their toilet.
Curitiba is one of the few cities that maintained the vitality of its downtown, in contrast to what occurred with other capital cities like Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, João Pessoa, Rio de Janeiro and Vitoria and others that visited still this year 2013, attending to corporate events.
In all these cities the events were held far from the historic center. In Belo Horizonte was still within the center, but not at its core, but Contorno (Contour) Avenue that marks the edge of the center. In Curitiba, the main hotel polo continues in the center, with its extension to the Batel, where the event was held.
In São Paulo the creation of center boardwalks was a "whitewash" to definitively eliminate the wealth of the then prime area (RuaBarão de Itapetininga and surroundings) with the luxury trade, which had afterwards migrated to the Paulista Avenue and then settled on the edges of Pinheiros River, replaced there at center by a popular trade, economic and physically degrading the region.
New York is a city of middle-class people living with small groups of very high income. It's a very different picture from São Paulo.
You cannot want to transfer models, without proper cultural reduction.
There is no way to revitalize the historic center of Sao Paulo without making wealth return to it, which currently only occurs sporadically, in small scale, when there are performances at the Teatro Municipal or on the elitist Sala São Paulo.
There is no how to pretend that the wealth comes back to the center using the subway.
The city needs to provide access and parking, what is not perceived by the populist view of the current rulers of the city.
(revisto e traduzido pelo meu amigo Flávio Musa de Freitas Guimarães)