What happens to the messy parts of Rio in 2016?

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012

An opinion piece in the New York Times today argues that the Rio plans to vacate through illegal evictions a large portion of the city’s poorest living in favelas in preparation for the Olympics to be held there in 2016:

Last month, Unesco awarded World Heritage Site status to a substantial portion of the city, an area that includes some of its hillside favelas, where more than 1.4 million of the city’s 6 million residents live. No favela can claim greater historical importance than Rio’s first — Morro da Providência — yet Olympic construction projects are threatening its future.

The author of the article, Theresa Williamson, maintains that it would be “more cost-effective to invest in urban improvements that communities help shape through a participatory democratic process.”   Rio is not the only city that would prefer to eradicate the messy bits of its city.  Cities that are under pressure from a massive influx of global investment – and attention – begin to feel they must look like a shopping mall in New York City or Cannes.

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