People move up and down the stairs of the 22-storey-high Prestes Maia 911 building in downtown São Paulo, Brazil. The building lacks proper electricity, water, plumbing and an elevator. In 2003 over 1,500 people, along with the support of the Movement for the Urban Roofless or MSTC – the counterpart of the rural landless movement MST – occupied the building in an effort to find decent housing. They had to clean out from it enough garbage and sewage to fill 300 trucks.
There are over 3,000 unused buildings in São Paulo, while hundreds of Brazilians arrive in the city looking for jobs and better living conditions. The city population is already over 20 million and growing, with most people living in the sprawling slum areas.
The photographer Carlos Cazalis was born in Mexico, but lives in São Paulo.
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