São Paulo: Trees and Training (SESC &SENAC)

I am back from my time in São Paulo.  I am not telling anything new when I say the city is big, but I think that it is easy to overlook how green it is in many places.  Most of the streets in the old part of the city are shaded by big trees.  There really is not enough room for them, or would not be enough room in an American city.  This is something good and bad about Brazil.  The good part is that there are lots of trees. The negative is that the tree roots pull up sidewalks. Some of the sidewalks are like an obstacle course.  Overall, however, it is worth it to have the trees.

We visited another SESC, this time SESC Belenzinho.  It is housed in a building that used to be a textile factory in a neighborhood that used to be a little degraded. The SESC anchors that area and has improved the neighborhood.   I wrote about SESC here & here. These are like workers clubs. As you can see from the picture up top, there are lots of nice amenities. The picture just above shows the solar water heaters that produce all the hot water used in the facility.  Below shows some of the old neighborhood around SESC.  This was a neighborhood of Italian immigrants, many of whom moved away, some back to Italy. The ownership of the land under the buildings shown is in doubt. SESC wants to buy the land to expand, but it is taking time. This is complicated by squatters.  The people living in the houses are not owners, but once they sit there it is hard to move them out.

We also went to SENAC, which is the training part of the SESC partnership.  It works a lot like a technical school or university.  Tuition is low.  This branch of SENAC is also built in an old factory. This actually makes a very good campus, as you can see below.

They have lots of computer labs and work with businesses. Reminds me in many ways of community colleges int the U.S.  But there really is no exact equivalent, since SENAC is funded by mandatory contributions from businesses but is not government run.   Below one of the computer areas.

Below is the campus water tower painted to show the old São Paulo neighborhood.