Brazil’s lack of urban planning still to blame for disasters

Excessive rainfall in the country's Southeast has caused destruction and deaths; poor urban planning is singled out as the main cause

Rainfall in São Paulo city center. Photo: Paulo Pinto/FP urban planning
Rainfall in São Paulo city center. Photo: Paulo Pinto/FP

Back in the 19th century, a momentous rainstorm in São Paulo “burst dams in Reúno and Bixiga, threw the romantic Anhangabaú from its riverbed, destroyed twelve houses, knocked down the Abdication bridge, which was located nearby the Praça dos Correios, and caused three deaths, besides many public and private losses.”

Since this 1850 flood, São Paulo grew from a provincial town to being one of the largest metropolises in the world. The neighborhoods have changed and the city has expanded, but the havoc caused by the rains remains a reality every summer, when the heavy tropical precipitation causes...

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