Opinion – É Logo Ali: Revitalization, hygiene and cockroach-fly


I grew up living in downtown São Paulo. My backyard was the streets around Praça da República, Largo do Arouche, the garden that was then Parque da Luz. Life took me to other latitudes, longitudes and destinations, until, six years ago, I abandoned the chic streets of Jardins and moved my suitcase, bowl and husband to the effervescent Praça Roosevelt. The logic was simple: in addition to the cost of living being much lower, there was the difference that the square was always full of people attracted by the theaters, bars, and the cool atmosphere of the place, passing on a feeling of greater security than the darkness of the elegant boulevards. on the other side of Avenida Paulista.

Then came the Covid-19 pandemic.

Watching the deserted square through the window was sad, but worse was having to go out for some basic shopping and realizing that, with each masked excursion, the number of homeless people for whom social isolation had a very different meaning increased exponentially. than the authorities preached. They were (and are) the great isolates, root isolation even: the excluded.

After the restrictions were over, we went back to the streets and, somehow, nothing was the same. It is not. It probably won’t be. Because, taking advantage of the fact that we were all still bewildered, having to relearn by groping the paths of our fields that were once so familiar, the municipal administrations took the opportunity to expand urban apartheid, a type of city pass-boiada, remembering that one who was once a minister.

The first front, in the name of the always invoked and never implemented revitalization of the center, sent to flee, in the only way that the authorities know, that is, in the beating, the sad souls that congregated in cracolândia, in the vicinity of Praça Princesa Isabel . The pretext was to catch some drug dealers and, in passing, put bars in what came to be called Princesa Isabel park —the difference, for the administration, between square and park is, mainly, the railing that closes access to spaces after a certain time .

Since they promoted the craco cockroach, the flow of drug addicts has periodically moved through the neighborhood streets, striking terror among residents, shopkeepers and passers-by, without anyone stopping to think that the policy of wiping ice has not worked until now and it will never work as a social measure. Result: as the large population that gathered there is no longer able to settle in a single place, because of the also understandable protests of the affected blocks at the time, several mini-cracolândias ended up appearing. Against them, the bars of the municipality come in the dead of night.

Last week, it was the turn of Marechal Deodoro square, in Santa Cecília, which follows the path already traveled by the square (is it already called a park?) Princesa Isabel two months ago and 1.5 kilometers away from there. And on Thursday (1), the reform of Praça do Patriarca, in front of City Hall, which Ricardo Nunes (MDB) says will include the tourist signage of the historic triangle, between Praça da Sé, the Largo São Bento and Largo São Francisco. For the time being, there are only fences in place to remove the homeless from under the cover (otherwise quite strange, totally dissonant from the surroundings) that protects the escalators of the Prestes Maia gallery.

Theory, in the projects of the urbanist bureaucracy, is always accompanied by beautiful speeches of the best intentions, of those with which hell is full. But the veneer of improvements does not survive the reality represented by the numbers of homeless people, which, according to the latest figures from the City Hall itself, increased from 24,344 to 31,884 in the last two years. As far as we know, there was no effective program to relocate this brutal contingent of underprivileged people. Formal information from the administration passed to Folha discloses that “only in the month of November, the Seas teams that work in the region carried out 1,687 approaches, which resulted in 955 referrals to reception services, 87 referrals to socio-assistance network services and 645 guidelines”. Ok, and the other 30 thousand, where are they? If not, where do they go?

Driven from square to square, banished under the viaducts (one of them, the Minhocão, another space that pretends to be a park and dreams of the New York High Line), they rub in the face of each citizen, on a daily basis, that this planning does not work. As a bonus, it also bans those who miss the squares in the center, the luxury of coming and going and walking peacefully through the streets of our city. Missing that will only be remedied on the day when the municipality looks at everyone and effectively seeks a non-cosmetic or hygienist solution, without shooting, beating or bomb, but citizen.

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