In 2006 Sao Paulo mayor Kassab passed a law that caught the attention of the world. In the name of beautifying the much-maligned city he banned all billboards and advertising hoardings. It was part of a “beautification” drive called Cidade Limpa (“Clean City”) designed to improve the notoriously ugly metropolis.
The problem is, it wasn’t the advertising that was making the city ugly. It was the substandard, utilitarian architecture. And now with the billboards removed (which at least would have provided some color) , it is even more on display than ever. Huge walls of flaking grey concrete, where once bright advertisements of happy people buying Colas would have been, now stare down all over the city.
Sao Paulo is greyer and uglier than ever.