Where is the center of São Paulo? The question seems redundant, but the answer is hardly obvious. The “center”—certainly the financial center—has been dislocated westward repeatedly, such that it now finds itself some 6 to 8 kilometers to the southwest, on Avenues Faria Lima or Berrini. But there is some suggestion now that the center is coming back—to the center—with important revitalization plans afoot.
After decades of depopulation and deterioration of central regions of the city, real estate speculation has shot up over the past decade. Ten percent of new vertical residential buildings in São Paulo over the period have been in the Sé region, which includes the gentrifying neighborhoods of República and Santa Cecília; this rises to well over 15 percent if one takes only the past couple of years. It amounts to 33,582 new buildings of this type from 2007 to 2017.