From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil

From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil

From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil

From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil

Excerpt

SãO PAULO, BRAZIL, with a reported population in 1957 of 3,069,626 inhabitants, is today the fastest- growing city and leading industrial center of Latin America. In 1955 the Council for Inter-American Cooperation called it, in fact, the fastest-growing city in the world, and estimated that it will have a population of 4,700,000 by 1964. Travelers who have visited São Paulo in recent decades almost invariably refer to its "dynamism" and "spirit of Yankee enterprise," and characterize it as a "boom town" or as "the Chicago of South America." That such a metropolis should, in less than a century, have erupted within a plantation economy, within a Roman Catholic, patriarchal, and tradition-bound culture, and in a country indifferently blessed with the resources for industrial development often seems, to the traveler's eye, anachronistic. To explore if not wholly to explain this anachronism is the purpose of this book. In the course of the study it will become clear that São Paulo is not a replica of Chicago, that the mesh and action of its society are influenced by traditions of the Brazilian hinterland, and that what there exists of the "ethos of capitalism" crystallizes in forms often unfamiliar to North Americans.

At the outset, however, it should be stressed that there does appear to be an environment common to Latin and to "Anglo- Saxon" America which imparts special traits to the cities of the New World. The analogy between the Brazilian and the United States city is a suggestive one, the important implications of which are revealed in the genetic view of how cities were brought forth in the New World rather than in casual impressions of present-day . . .

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