514.4 The entitlement to the spectacular city: The case of forced evictions in Rio de Janeiro

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:30 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Nelma GUSMÃO DE OLIVEIRA , Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano e Regional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Gabriel SILVESTRE , Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (UCL), England
Brazil emerged as an important contender for the hosting of mega-events over the past decade, ultimately securing the rights to organize both the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. The city of Rio de Janeiro has been central in this strategy, due to play a prominent role in the former event and to take the lead from London after 2012. International press coverage have been keen to explore geopolitical readings in this scenario as a coming out to party for Brazil as an  influential economic force, but on a local scale the hosting of mega-events have also been pursued as a strategy for disciplining the urban space and to open up new areas for capital accumulation.  This paper focuses on the process of Olympic city-making in the West End of Rio de Janeiro, where the planning and construction of facilities and transport network have adversely affected low-income settlements. The planning of the Olympic Park have become the latest episode in a series of attempts to drive out one of the longest established poor settlements in the borough of Barra da Tijuca. Attention is given to the changing discourse justifying the relocation and the context in which residents have resisted eviction. In another case study, the paper considers the construction of Bus Rapid Transit corridors aimed to improve the difficult access to the area. In this instance, some communities were not able to avoid eviction, being relocated to the western edges of the city or financially compensated. Analysis of the eviction process is drawn from material collected by visiting the affected communities. The paper concludes reflecting on the inexorability of Olympic city-making Rio 2016and the entitlement to the emerging geographies.