The Park and the Favela Visions of the Progressive and Cultured City in Post–WWII São Paulo

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Marcio Siwi


This article explores two parallel histories: the construction of Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo’s symbol of post–WWII modernity, and the destruction of two favelas
located in the area designated for the new Park which resulted in the displacement of over two hundred poor and working-class families to the city’s woefully neglected periphery. By focusing on these two related developments and the discourses that shaped them—one that framed the new Park’s modernist design as emblematic of São Paulo’s progressive spirit and the other that associated favelas as backward and foreign to the city—this article sheds fresh light on the relationship between uneven urban development and racial anxiety in post–WWII São Paulo and explores the consequences of São Paulo’s aspiring identity as a leading center for the arts and a global business hub on the social fabric of the city.

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Author Biography

Marcio Siwi, Towson University

Marcio Siwi is assistant professor in the Department of History at Towson University. He can be reached at