Minha Casa Minha Vida Brings Overseas Investors to Sao Luis
Minha Casa Minha Vida Brings Overseas Investors to the Brazilian city of Sao Luis. The programme launched in 2009 and this remote area will finally reap the benefits of this popular and ethical affordable housing programme.
The capital of Brazil's Maranhão state is the coastal city of São Luís. Its location on the map is interesting, based as it is, just above the country's 'nose' jutting out into the Atlantic. The city limits enclose an area of about 320 square miles or 830 km2 mostly on an island in a bay (or peninsula, depending on geographical definitions). The city includes just over one million residents with another 200,000 in the surrounding metropolitan area.
São Luís has an unusual history. To start with, it was originally founded in the 17th century, not by Portuguese settlers but by explorers from France. They took over the site of a native village and called it St. Louis after their patron saint. For some time to follow that part of maritime Brazil was in dispute among European colonial powers, not just France and Portugal, by the way, but the Netherlands too. However, in the end the Portuguese managed to dominate and control the area permanently. They established their presence in the renamed São Luís, which became the administration centre for the area. To this day the place is the only Brazilian city founded by the French. In the mid 19th Century the city and surrounding area became important as an export centre for shipping Brazil's cotton to England. This was because during the American Civil war (1861-5) very little cotton made it through the blockade around Confederate ports to their traditional markets, the English cotton mills. Therefore, alternative suppliers were needed and that's when São Luís stepped into the breach. A great deal of money was made by the city's people (or at least some of them) and the place developed very much, very quickly.
As a consequence, education and other public services became much better and more widespread. The rich sent some of their children to be educated in the big cities in the South and many of them even to Europe. This was not difficult because of the excellent sea links with that continent, a fact that also helped the general cultural development of the area. To this day it prides itself on its cultural and educational sophistication. However, by the twentieth century, the cotton boom had faded in importance and the city had to find other ways of making a living. After a period of almost stagnation the city found a new purpose in the 1960's and afterwards. This was (and is) as a centre for both domestic and international distribution of iron and related products from the inland mining and manufacturing regions. Metal related industries include both the famous Alumar, and also Vale do Rio Doce.
As well as being the capital of the State of Maranhão the metropolis is also home to two public universities plus a variety of respected public and private schools. It is renowned for its education. In terms of its local climate, São Luís has a tropical background with a monsoon rainfall pattern. There are only a very few dry months each year, a fact much lamented by visitors and residents alike.
In recent months there has been an increased presence of construction companies, property developers and government officials in the city when it was announced that there where to be a number on Minha Casa Minha Vida housing projects just outside the city. For those few who have never heard of this project it is a government run affordable housing programme aimed at middle class families who are desperate to get onto the property ladder, the purpose of the scheme is to reduce the current housing deficit in the country. Another positive side to this programme is that it attracts foreign investment from companies and individuals keen to invest in brazil property.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The EcoHouse Group have offices in Brazil, the UK, North America, the Middle East and also Singapore. They have been constructing Minha Casa Minha Vida Houses since 2009, and are reducing the housing shortage and giving people the chance to Secure Investments through a secure government run programme.