Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mini parks get official funding and become part of São Paulo street life


Green and accessible are not words usually associated with São Paulo but the new mini-parks planned for the city aim to make the city just that; more green and more people-focused.

The mini-parks, known as parklets have already cropped up in various areas of the city as part of Environment week last year. Fernando Haddad, the mayor, obviously took a liking to the green initiative and they are now officially part of the city planning policy by decree.

A temporary parklet, part of Environment week 2013
Parklets were conceived in San Francisco in 2010 as a way of creating greener cities. They are essentially tiny parks, the size of a fraction of a car parking space. It is a flexible concept which can but does not have to include items such as benches, trees, chairs or bike stands.


Gaining in popularity worldwide they have started to appear in various parts of the world over recent years but São Paulo will be the largest city to officially adopt them.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Jamie Oliver to open new restaurant in São Paulo


Jamie Oliver, the famous British chef, is planning on opening a new restaurant in São Paulo by the end of the year, his first opening in Latin America. The owner of Fifteen is probably more famous in the UK for his school dinner’s campaign than for his actual restaurants but that won`t stop him taking on São Paulo.

He will however, need to hire a better public relations team. His first public declarations were an attack on the country’s favourite sweet the brigadeiro.  Branded “too sweet” and “horrible” he immediately provoked a backlash from Brazilian chefs and food critics who accused him of misunderstanding the local food culture. Oh dear. 

Jamie Oliver, not a fan of sweet food

At least he has the advantage of not being a household name in Brazil so it will probably be quickly forgotten. In any case let’s hope he doesn’t make any more gaffes before opening “Jamie’s Italian” in Bixiga. No, wait, in Itaim.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Is the oldest man in the world living in São Paulo?


Jose Aguinelo dos Santos

He has no children, smokes cigarettes by the packet and lives in a home for the poor in São Paulo. Jose Aguinelo dos Santos is in many ways an unremarkable man. Until you see his national identity card.

According to the document he was born on the 7th July 1888, which if verified would make him the world’s oldest man. That’s the claim being made by Vila Vicentina, the São Paulo institution where dos Santos is a resident.


Photo: Alan Schneider
Despite his age and his smoking he shows no major health problems and is able to walk ably. He doesn’t have high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure. The only medicine he takes are vitamins and a tablet to give him an appetite, which can be lost with old age.

According to the staff at Vila Vicentina he is not much of a talker but he remembers a slave compound in Pedra Branca in the state of Ceara, where he is thought to have been born. Slavery having been officially, if not practically, abolished 2 months before his age, dos Santos is said to be the son of freed Afro-Brazilian slaves.

He was one of six children living in a community of freed slaves where there were no beds. Later in his life Jose worked as a manual labourer on a coffee plantation in the São Paulo town of Bauru.

Photo: Alan Schneider
The current oldest person in the world is 116 year old Misao Okawa of Japan. Jose dos Santos, if verified, would smash the record by 10 years and be an unusual example of a man reaching such an advanced age, most people reaching those ages being women.

The old people's home now proposes to definitively prove that he is the world's oldest man by using 'Carbon-14' dating techinques.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Photo: São Paulo seen from space

São Paulo as seen from the International Space Station
Taken by NASA from the International Space Station the photo of São Paulo (above) shows us what the city looks like when viewed from orbit.

As a huge urban area, it is easy to pick out although getting a good shot is easier said than done. Due to the earth's orbit the city flies by at a speedy 4.4 miles per second. If we do the maths that means that even at a very fast exposure of 1/1000th of a second there is still 7 metres of Earth motion.

The trick behind the São Paulo picture, and other photos taken from space, is similar to high speed sports photography. The camera is panned in the opposite direction to the natural orbit of the earth but at exactly the same speed thereby compensating the effect which would ordinarily cause blur or streaking.

The result is a photo which clearly shows São Paulo's main arteries as well its geographical footprint. You may notice blue-green lighting in and around the centro region and yellow-orange lighting on the outskirts. The reason for this is mercury-vapor lighting is more prevalent int the old centre whereas sodium vapor lighting is common in more recently built areas. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

VIDEO: SP in Reverse

SP in Reverse is a short, dreamy film by Vaca Barbuda and a São Paulo timelapse video with a difference.

As the title suggests, the whole thing is filmed and produced backwards which adds a surreal touch to the video. It is very literally portrays the city of São Paulo in reverse mode

Check it out on Vimeo or play it below:

The city of São Paulo in the reverse mode
Song: Raining - Kai Engel

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Photo: Rainy days in São Paulo

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