Thursday, 31 July 2014

VIDEO: Ruan Mosca and his BMX in São Paulo

Born and raised in Porto Ferreira, São Paulo, Ruan Mosca is a local BMX rider.

He's only 18 years old but has been riding since 2007 and says he plans to do so for the rest of his life or for as long as his body allows him to.

Below is a video of Ruan filmed during week stay in São Paulo.

Music: MF DOOM – Guinnesses

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Last day to take part in Composta São Paulo

Today is the last day to take part in Morada da Floresta’s Composta São Paulo initiative. All you have to do is sign up on the website and enter the draw to receive one of 2000 home compost boxes.

The initiative is a local government scheme aimed at reducing the 18,000 tons of rubbish generated every single day in São Paulo. Around 30% of that trash is actually organic matter and could be transformed into compost without ever leaving the home.

Successful participants will receive training on how to recycle waste which is organic in nature, how to use the compost boxes and will take part in an online community aimed at sharing best practices and experiences.

For the first 5 months of the Project, the immediate aim is to recycle 300 tons of organic material. In the medium term the strategic goal is to generate public debate and political pressure thereby increasing the number of people generating domestic compost.

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

Street art of lamp post men carrying bins as backpacks

Lamp post men carrying bins as backpacks. It sounds weird but that is the latest street intervention to hit Vila Madalena, São Paulo.

The project was started up by Mentalgassi, a Berlin-based art collective, and Muntano a Brazilian street artist. It has bins being reimagined as rucksacks and a pasted on photo of the carrier going on the lamp post.

It is supposed to be a tribute to the catadores of São Paulo, unofficial wastecollectors who scour the streets for recyclable rubbish in order to earn a few cents per kilo through the recycling centres. The message is indirect but it is supposed to "increase the visibility" of catadores, as well as call "attention to purchases and donation bins for recyclable materials"

Here are a few photos of the new bins. It will most likely be a very ephemeral intervention so enjoy the while you can:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

São Paulo to introduce women only metro carriages


You would have thought that in a civilised society it would not be necessary to have segregated transport. However, the high incidence of sexual harassment in crowded public areas has resulted in the São Paulo Legislative Assembly approving a bill making it mandatory for the CPTM and metro networks to include women only carriages at peak hours.

Following Rio de Janeiro who already introduced them in 2006 São Paulo will now have pink carriages. The bill will now be signed by Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin after which the metro and CPTM train operators will have 90 days to put the pink cars on the tracks.

In Rio the platforms have police enforcement officers to prevent men from, intentionally or unintentionally, boarding the wrong cars. Presumably, São Paulo will have a similar setup.

This type of harassment prevention scheme is already in place in many countries known to have a sexist culture with high harassment rates including Japan, Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Dubai and of course Brazil.

In Sao Paulo as elsewhere it will provide an instant solution to those who suffer public harassment on public transport, which is clearly a good thing but presumably will not do much to educate and change the culture that makes the law necessary in the first place.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Nike Tiempo 94 Mid Jacquard São Paulo

Those of you who love the city of São Paulo will be glad to know Nike has launched a São Paulo specific shoe. The Nike Tiempo 94 Mid Jacquard São Paulo might sound like a bit of a mouthful but those are some neat looking trainers.

Timed to coincide with the world cup Nike has created a street trainer to fit the urban context of São Paulo. It's covered in light brown and beige tones with a white sole underneath.
The upperpart of the sneakers is based on a design which mimics the pavements of the city. They've not gone so far as to include the shape of the state logo but the colonial portuguese style tiles are unmistakeable. 
There's a removable tongue as well and a padded collar with Nike written right on the heel and a huge swoosh on the side drawn as a shadow over the paving pattern. 

How much? Well it`s not cheap but you can pick them up at for $150.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Renato Stockler's aerial photos of football fields in São Paulo


Journalist turned photograhper Renato Stockler took these incredible shots of São Paulo's football fields. All are aerial photos of ordinary neighbourhoods in São Paulo with a communal pitch or "terrão".

A far cry from the lavish world cup stadiums with their green grass and media friendly aesthetics, these are the hardened earth pitches on which you have to play if you are from the impoverished peripheral neighbourhoods of São Paulo.

The pitches symbolise the precious little public space set aside for leisure in poorer districts. But, being less desirable neighbourhoods does not necessarily mean there is a lower demand for housing and, as many of Renato's photos show, open areas are being encroached on and menaced by property development and speculation.

In other words, this is a photojournalistic essay of a Brazilian endangered species; local football pitches.

In his own words Renato explains the symbolism:

"The reddish tone of a soccer field turns into a stage for the resistance of popular soccer. Some of them have their own football clubs, while others are publics spots. Some of them are mainly dirt, while others are of sand, rests of weathered grass.

"But they are a breath [of fresh air] for the hard daily lives of those who live on the outskirts of São Paulo. These fields show the urgent need for public and communal places to practice sports, a portrait of those who fight for leisure in a city such as Sao Paulo"

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