Today, Brazil's rising economy is propelling the nation to a leadership role in Latin America America. But despite its dynamism and potential, the economic growth has yet to close the gaps in wealth and opportunity that have plagued Brazil's history. To understand the historical context of Brazil's boom, and how such growth impacts the lives of everyday citizens, Perspectives students will conduct a small survey of the formal and informal economic sectors in downtown São Paulo. Fieldwork will be complemented with lectures and a visit to the stock market to understand why foreign investors are betting on Brazil. Other visits will include a multinational corporation's car factory and a tour of both an affluent gated neighborhood and a favela (low-income community), interacting with locals to explore and discuss life on two contrasting extremes of the economic continuum.
The São Paulo metropolitan area is already home of 19 million inhabitants, and the challenges of urban sprawl and sustainability are becoming ever more acute. Resources like water, once abundant and taken for granted, are now becoming serious public policy issues. We will study and debate about it takes to make water drinkable and witness of the impact of unclear housing policies on São Paulo's water reservoirs. Our students will reconsider the paradigm of garbage as waste, visiting recycling cooperatives and thinking about the different ways of reusing and recycling.. In a landscape of concrete and glass, the verdant greenery of Serra de Cantareira stands as a , a huge green stain living reminder of a much bigger the Atlantic rainforest. Students will be immersed in one of the world's largest urban forest, exploring its paths and trails as a break from the urban bustle and a lesson in the importance and potential of conservation.
In recent years, Brazil has become a hot topic in the global energy market and policy field. Besides the discovery of massive offshore oil reserves – which could propel the country into the global top tier of energy producers – Brazil is a key innovater in biodiesel produced from sugarcane. Perspectives will take advantage of São Paulo's role as a research and financial center, inviting top experts to speak on the implications of Brazil's energy future. Complementing lectures and classroom work, we will visit a thermoelectric plant installed at a landfill, a project approved as a United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which allows the sale of certified carbon credits.