21 July 2016

Cidade complicada, cheia de troços mil

After nearly three weeks back in Rio, much appears to have changed, but the extremely complicated and contradictory reality remains the same. I have been charmed, yet again, by the exuberant natural setting, the easy socialbility of Cariocas, and the infinitude of problems that scream out for direct action. I continue to be amazed by the breadth, depth, and expense of the mega-events in a city that has not managed to provide the basics for the majority of its citizens. The news cycle when read from abroad is more depressing than the lived experience of the city, principally because there is none of the context of daily interactions, a bowl of açaí, or random outbursts of evangelical sabma on the streets of Copacabana.

This last sentence, of course, applies to those who can afford to construct their life-bubbles in places like Jardim Botanico, Urca, and Ipanema. For the majority of Rio’s population that live in favelas, the Baixada Fluminense and the Zona Oeste, the daily reality of crushing urbanism, banal violence, toxic food supplies, crumbling schools and hospitals, and mind-numbing traffic does away with the romanticized geoporn that is the core of the city`s well-oiled marketing machine.

In a recent trip to the Zona Oeste on the SuperVia train (run by Odebrecht), I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, this was off-peak, on a stretch of track that has to look good for the Games. The train system as a whole carries far fewer people than it did 40 years ago and received over the last ten years only about double the investment for its 270km of track that was put into the 23km VLT in the center of the city. This kind of disproportional investment has exacerbated uneven development and defines Rio’s urban planning regime for the Olympics. It also speaks to the reality of low expectations – why shouldn’t Rio have a decent train with all of the money that flowed into the city and state in the ten years preceding the World Cup and Olympics? The perverse priorities of entrenched elites joined forces with the Olympic shibboleth to torque urban planning agendas in a summarily retrograde way.

This is not so different from other Olympics and forms a core element of a global business model that uses cities as platforms to extract monopoly rents. The development of elite sporting facilities is by nature exclusionary and the suite of privileges that the IOC and FIFA demand of their hosts reinforce this outcome. There is never a Zone of Inclusion around venues, only Exclusion.  The launching of a series of talks and activities called Rio 2016: The Exclusion Games will express the real politick of the Games from the perspective of those who have been most negatively impacted by their implementation in a radically unequal city whose elites have pursued a decade of sports mega-events to consolidate the status quo ante.

Of course, now that the public calamity has been declared, the expectations for post-Games Rio will be lower than ever. Without the cloying narratives of hosting the global spectacle to drive urban investment and development, the difficult task will be to make the Olympic-related infrastructure serve the needs of Cariocas (and those who don’t live in Rio proper). This will be an increasingly difficult task as finances dry up and maintenance costs for hi-tech flights of Calatravan fancy spiral upwards.

The mayor has called the Olympics a missed opportunity, the same thing that everyone said about the World Cup and the Pan American Games. Most people agree with that assessment, but who is responsible for the failure?

No comments:


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar