Planning Reconfigurations in a Mega-Event Context

The Case of Rio de Janeiro

Authored by: Abigail Friendly

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Megacities in the Global South

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  June  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367223724
eBook ISBN: 9781003038160
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2007, Brazil was selected by FIFA as the host country for the 2014 World Cup. Rio de Janeiro was among the 12 host cities across the country. Two years later, in October 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Rio de Janeiro as the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games. 1 As a result, over a period of two years, Rio de Janeiro would feature as a mega-event city, making its mark on the spatial fabric of the city. At the national level, Brazil faced an economic crisis, combined with a political crisis that included the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. In 2013, this crisis was manifested by protests that reverberated across the country, starting in São Paulo as the Free Pass Movement (Movimento Paste Livre, MPL), which demanded a reversal of a bus fare increase. Although the protests began specifically around transportation, they evolved through a broad focus on a range of issues including public spending on the World Cup and corruption, “calling attention to a gap between promises and results and urban issues in Brazil” (Friendly 2013, 113). Ultimately, at the center of these issues was a critique around public spending on mega-events in contrast to the reality of Brazilian cities marked by inequalities, and a condemnation of Brazil’s pattern of urban development (Fernandes 2014).

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