São Paulo's growth into the leading business capital of the Southern Hemisphere started in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, the city has been expanding sharply, a process that has been accompanied by numerous transformations in its physical setting and environment. A paradoxical city, the size and economic importance that São Paulo has achieved are contradicted by a general absence of official urban and environmental planning. As a result, haphazard changes in the urban space - and their environmental side effects - have made São Paulo a cacophonic cityscape, or, as many say, a 'bomb primed to go off'. The assimilation of corporate headquarters contributing to the city's verticalization and expansion has taken place at the interface between the rush to achieve a competitive edge over other cities for the setting up of businesses and, on the other hand, widespread disregard for the environment.