I live in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil, home to some 12 million people – 20 million if you count the outskirts, which have been sprawling for three decades.
That makes the city an ideal place to observe the phenomena I research: complex social problems. In academia, this concept refers to problems such as corruption, crime, and drug trafficking—problems which, in practice, cannot be solved. They must simply be mitigated or managed.
São Paulo is a dense city, with not much green space and little to no animal life. Urban São Paulo has no squirrels or raccoons, there aren’t even that many birds. So I was astonished to learn, in January, that scorpions had infested my neighborhood.