Aecom’s UK planning and design arm is set to masterplan the redevelopment of São Paulo’s crime-ridden Nova Luz district, making it the latest British firm to benefit from Brazil’s construction boom

The firm, which designed the masterplan for the London 2012 Olympics, is to create a framework for the regeneration of Nova Luz’s “crack land”, so called because of the number of addicts that congregate there. Aecom is partnering with Brazilian engineering firm Concremat on the 225-acre project and will open up an office in the city.

Other British firms entering the market include Arup and Buro Happold, both of which opened offices last month. A host of other consultants and architects are also pursuing Brazilian opportunities, including Foster + Partners, Davis Langdon, BRE, Pascall + Watson and 3D Reid.

This is enough to set up a permanent base and look for opportunities
Jason Prior, Aecom

Interest in the country was increased by the Brazilian government’s announcement of a £360bn infrastructure investment programme over the next three years. The funding is in preparation for the staging of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, but also includes unrelated developments including 3 million homes.

Jason Prior, executive director of design and planning at Aecom, said he was delighted to win the job and would initially open an office for up to six staff.

He said: “This is enough to set up a permanent base in the city, and we can look to see what other opportunities present themselves. Brazil seems to be a market where you have to be able to get local quickly.”

He added that the firm would hold talks with authorities in Rio de Janeiro over opportunities for Aecom to help with preparations for the 2016 Olympics.