São Paulo # 1

Cities for People


A new heart for São Paulo

In the effort to make the historic downtown of São Paulo lively, safe and attractive to people, Gehl Architects have been hired by Itaú Unibanco to assist São Paulo Urbanismo in the development of new public spaces.

By Stine Behrendtzen, freelance journalist


“When darkness falls, people quickly disappear from the sidewalks. The shops close their shutters and the streets turn into long, dark alleys. The historic downtown is not a place where people go for a drink, a coffee or a walk. In fact it seems a bit deserted at night”

This description is given by CEO of Gehl Architects, Helle Søholt, who shares her thoughts on the ambience in the area surrounding Vale do Anhangabaú, one of the largest and most central squares in São Paulo.

In the 1970’s the city was ahead of the curve in their approach to public spaces. At the…

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