Skyscrapers and beach, within metres of each other.
So I’ve arrived in Brazil and seem to be acclimatising fairly well so far. My spoken Portuguese is improving in leaps and bounds. Of course, I understand more of the language than I can speak, as with most languages in the beginning.
Now the real work of blending my own European approach with the mindset of the local industry begins, so as to better comprehend how things work here.
My first impressions were of a country not dissimilar to Ireland not so long ago. Of course, it’s hotter and more tropical too.
I have seen a lot of impressive new buildings already, and many more under construction. My current location isn’t even a major city like São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. For example in Balneário Camboriú (a medium sized city by Brazilian standards), I witnessed the impressive high-rise buildings concentrated in an area adjacent to the beach. Most in an Art Deco style of Architecture, with vibrant colours and each one different in some way from the others. This is not something you will see in European cities of this size, it is more similar to major North American cities with the exception of the vivid colour schemes. At the same time, is this the best approach for this particular city to have taken? For a city with the beach (tourism) as it’s major industry, the sun is obscured by the skyscrapers by 2pm in the afternoon. Is this the best situation for the inhabitants, or not?
In my opinion, with the beacon of the World Cup in 2014 & the Rio Olympics in 2016, there is a tangible sense of optimism in the words of the Engineering professionals I have spoken to so far. Brasil sees itself making great strides in the next decade and I agree with this sentiment. This is a time of opportunity for those involved in Brazil’s development. There is a vitality and inventiveness in the approach people have here. Couple this with the opportunity to further advance the infrastructure, and you have a unique recipe for possibly the most dynamic economy of the forthcoming decade.
As a footnote, the salaries of Steel fixers (on-site Rebar workers) in São Paulo, has risen by 4,72% in the last 12 months. Could this be the first signs of the rise in construction in Brazil? Only time will tell.
Of course, it’s not just Civil Engineering I am optimistic about in Brazil… all disciplines will be important in the development of Brazil’s future. Many multi-national companies (IT, Mineral, Oil & Gas etc) have already realised the prospect of Brazil’s potential.
More industry news to follow soon, as I am travelling to São Paulo in February.