São Paulo: how does one of the financial capitals of South America and Brazil’s largest and wealthiest city perform in international rankings of economic development, sustainability and innovation?
Let’s take a closer look at:
- São Paulo’s environmental sustainability
- The global power of São Paulo
- Innovation in São Paulo
- How attractive for digital nomads?
- São Paulo’s startup ecosystem
São Paulo: how sustainable?
What are the major issues of sustainability in São Paulo, Latin America’s largest city?
As the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere, São Paulo faces some considerable sustainability challenges, such as transporting more than 3 billion passengers a year via its public transportation network, and handling 20 tons of waste per day.
The city’s overall ranking in the 2016 Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index is 79th with a much lower ranking (97th) in the people sub-index. According to the study, this is due to rapid urban growth, aging infrastructure, and a lack of sufficient planning that is felt throughout the city. The profit sub-index is also surprisingly low (84th), considering the market size of São Paulo. Finally, the planet sub-index, which evaluates environmental sustainability of cities, is São Paulo’s strongest pillar in the 2017 study (39th).
According to the 2010 Green Cities index, São Paulo ranks well above average among Latin American cities in the category of energy and CO2 emissions. The city also scores above average in many other categories: transport, water, land use, waste and sanitation. São Paulo’s performance is average only in environmental governance and air quality.
São Paulo’s global power
How much global influence does Brazil’s economic capital have?
AtKearney takes a look at the world’s most influential cities, as well as those that are likely to become more important on the global stage. In their 2017 Global Cities index they refer to São Paulo as an ‘economic powerhouse’ that is distinguished primarily by its high level of business activity, being a hub for trade and finance with easy access to capital and investors. In 2017, São Paulo ranked 31st out of 128, which is three positions up compared to the previous edition.
The 2017 Global Power Cities Index ranked São Paulo 39th, which is six positions down from its all-time best ranking in 2009, when it was positioned 33rd. São Paulo performs best in the dimension of environment (14th), which studies air quality, natural environment and ecology. Its performance is weaker in accessibility (43rd), which demonstrates that there are shortcomings in São Paulo’s infrastructures and traffic convenience.
The city’s economic pillar could also perform better. In 2017 it ranked 40th, showing that the market size, economic vitality and human capital have potential to improve.
Ipsos’ Top Cities index outlines 60 global cities that are best for living, doing business and for visiting. Globally, New York is the best city for work, rest and play, while London occupies the leading position in Europe. In the 2017 study, São Paulo ranked 40th among cities like Delhi, Budapest and Buenos Aires.
Innovation and São Paulo
Are startups and innovation companies attracted to doing business in São Paulo?
São Paulo’s performance in innovation, according to the Innovation Cities Program is not outstanding. In the 2018 edition, it ranked 79th among the 500 participant cities. Despite a somewhat low score, it makes the highest ranking city in Latin America, ahead of Buenos Aires (82nd).
In contrast, The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking positioned São Paulo 12th in their 2015 study. This is one position up from their last, 2012 edition. This study ranks the top 20 startup ecosystems around the world. It looks at five major components: performance, funding, talent, market reach, and startup experience. São Paulo’s performance was strongest in the dimension of performance (9th) and weakest in startup experience and talent (both 19th).
How attractive for digital nomads?
São Paulo might not be the most attractive destination for digital nomads. This is testified by the mediocre score of the city in the Nomad List, which highlights its bad start-up score, few free Wi-Fi possibilities and bad hospitals.
On the bright side, São Paulo is considered very affordable, and nightlife is great. In addition, payments without cash can be easily done. Cashless payments is what Brazil in general is best at, according to the Digital Life Abroad report. Brazil’s 26th position in this area does not necessarily outweigh the bad performances in other categories, however.
São Paulo’s place equity
São Paulo is Brazil’s best-performing city in the 2018 World’s Best Cities ranking, provided by Resonance Consultancy. The Brazilian capital ranks 84th in this index that is based on 23 factors, divided into six pillars that show cities’ overall equity. São Paulo’s strongest pillar is the programming of arts, culture, entertainment and the culinary scene where it ranks 7th. On the other hand, the people (162nd) and place (144th) pillars are evaluated much lower in São Paulo.
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