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Intra-metropolitan dynamics and socio-demographic vulnerability in two metropolitan areas in the State of São Paulo, Brazil: Campinas and Santos


This project seeks to understand the dynamics of population distribution and mobility in two of the most important metropolitan regions of the State of São Paulo; the consequences of this mobility for the distribution of population in space; and the social-economics, demographics and environmental determinants and consequences of these factors. Campinas and Santos are highly urbanized regions, whose expansion has long ago extrapolated municipal limits to surrounding municipalities, where growth rates are today much higher than in the central municipality. The central research question is: What are the social-demographic factors and processes which mediate the negative (or positive) consequences of this growth pattern for local populations? How do these factors operate to augment populations capacity to confront different types of risk? While social-economic status is the major factor in protecting populations from adverse effects of social or natural origin, similarly situated populations demonstrate greater resiliency, and others less resiliency, to such perturbations. Other forms of capital may be of equal importance. The concept of vulnerability is used in this project to account for differential capacities for self-protection. The focus is on families and households, and the socio-demographic variables involved in avoiding the impacts of social and environmental risks. Our hypothesis is that such factors as age, marital status, stage in the life cycle, family arrangements, education level, length of residence and the existence of social networks and community organizations represent reserves of social and human capital which may be mobilized to help in coping with risk. The project will first analyze secondary sources, principally census data from 1980, 1991 and 2000, to produce a view of the social-demographic characteristics related to the territorial expansion of the urban areas. Combining three different dimensions regarding physical/financial, human and social capital, this first stage seeks to determine and map zones of vulnerability within the urban areas in the Campinas and Santos metropolitan areas using statistical and GIS methodology. Of special interest are recently occupied areas on the fringes of the region's cities, where outward expansion from the pole city, as well as from each of the smaller cities, has resulted in thinly occupied areas lacking in basic social and environmental infrastructure. The demography of urban sprawl and the importance of its environmental component are understudied phenomena in Brazil. It is hoped that the project, besides its theoretical contribution, will also help to understand the demographic and territorial components of urban growth and, especially, the differential capacities of individuals and households to cape with the negative aspects of this growth. Considering that only part of the information necessary to examine this phenomenon and to carry out the proposed analyses is available from census data, the second phase of the project includes surveys in the two metropolitan regions. The prospects for understanding the more complex matrix of factors involved in reducing vulnerability will be greatly enhanced by the survey research. (AU)

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