Urban society: metropolis and territory

Research projects:

Everyday life and urban space

Description: To understand some elements on the alienation in the contemporary world and, from this perspective, to conclude the concept of alienation.

Professor in charge: Amélia Luisa Damiani (ameluisa@usp.br)


Fragmentation and unity of the metropolitan region of São Paulo and its surroundings. Flows, centralities, and changes in hierarchy

Description: This research aims to deepen results previously achieved seeking to advance in understanding the new regionalisation of recent socio-territorial processes that are forming a territory in which the expression ‘the metropolitan region of São Paulo and its surroundings’ seeks to manage it and that have received several concepts, which will be object of theoretical discussion. In this ‘metropolitan region of São Paulo and its surroundings,’ we find the highest territorial density of some needs essential to the reproduction of capital. Among these conditions, we will emphasise the means of communication and transport, analysed as networks, which fulfil the task of connecting what is scattered. If on one hand transport networks enable the commuting between cities of this region, on the other hand intangible networks allow to approximate what is different. These networks express a metamorphosis of the urban space, since the predominance of flows is imposed on places and are inherent to the development of an economy of archipelago that fragments and dissolves the characterised compact metropolis of the 20th century. The general objective of this research is to understand the recent social-territorial transformations that have led to the formation of a new metropolitan phenomenon. Specific objectives are linked to these ones, which are mediations to reach an understanding of this territorial unit. This will be done through the examination of industrial activity, characterised as territorial consolidation of innovative and of high technology industry, by strong links with the world market, and by the practice of territorial breakup expressed in the separation, in different cities, between headquarters and its management. Also, by the identification of new areas of centrality that are configured in the main cities, and by the examination of commuting, which constitute a key element for understanding the integration between the cities of this region.

Professor in charge: Sandra Lencioni (slencion@usp.br)


GESP Project Research Group on São Paulo

Description: The Research Group on São Paulo (GESP) started from systematic study meetings about the need to verticalise the theoretical education of students, uniting activities inserted in two movements: 1) study of contemporary urbanisation from research on the metropolis of São Paulo; and 2) methodological deepening through theoretic-conceptual debate related to urban analysis. These activities are being developed since January 2001 under the format of conferences, workshops, and seminars developed by the team coordinated by Ana Fani Alessandri Carlos and composed of undergraduates. Graduates (Master’s and PhD students) aiming at the study and ongoing discussion of works that allow to build a space for reflection on the modern urban phenomenon, theoretically and practically. At this point, GESP assumes a new scope. We need, now, to open it to incorporate other researchers (some professors of the Geography Department and from other departments) to enlarge the possibilities of research on the metropolis of São Paulo, as well as allow new theoretical-methodological developments, always aiming at building a critical geography. Understood as a commitment to understand the urban reality in its contradictory movement able to focus on the content that make explicit the inequality experienced in practical terms, this ‘critical geography’ aims at to construct a project of ‘another city.’ This is because each historical moment opens an unlimited field of possibilities, bringing as a result the need for a reflection that clarifies our time, seeking to overcome, through a geographic analysis, formal analytical assumptions such as systems, indexes, and models. This is our challenge.

Professor in charge: Ana Fani Alessandri Carlos (anafanic@usp.br)


Urban issues in Latin American cities

Description: Studies on urban issues in Latin American countries, particularly on their metropolitan areas.

Professor in charge: Amalia Ines Geraiges de Lemos (amain@usp.br)


Urban restructuring and space refunctionalisations: the health-industrial complex in the state of São Paulo

Description: The regulation of the territory totality is composed of a mosaic of places whose combination results in the general dynamics of social, political, and cultural instances. In this movement, the action is performed by places that comprise global, national (and, therefore, international), and world dimensions. Some places contain the three dimensions, others also participate in this action, but comprise only the national and the world dimensions. Within this line of research, we seek to understand the role of networks of cities in the regulation of Brazilian territory, with attention to those urban spatial formations that outstand in this role.

Professor in charge: Ricardo Mendes Antas Junior (ricardomendes@usp.br)


Corporate use of territory, cities, and urban economy circuits in Brazil

Description: The visible and wide dissemination of two circuits of the higher and lower urban economy in Brazilian cities is one of the effects of the recent process of economic globalisation, causing gaps and inequalities in the urban space. The project includes the analysis of this process and seeks to show how the different agents support uses of dialectical territories, expressed in the conflicts between vertical and horizontal lines.

Professor in charge: Maria Laura Silveira (laurasil@usp.br)