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Brazil: Twenty-First Century Architectures of the Mega-Event

Brazil: Twenty-First Century Architectures of the Mega-Event

In the summer of 2013, approximately two million people took to the streets in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and more than a hundred other cities in Brazil to protest pricing changes to public infrastructure in advance of the World Cup. Led by the MPL (Movimento Passe Livre), the protests expanded from a focus on transportation access to include messages about public investment in education and health, lack of social welfare, and entrenched corruption. At the center of these issues was the World Cup or, more broadly, the mega-event as a means of transmuting abstract capital into infrastructure and public services. As the protests reveal, the mega-event encompasses much more than the production of sporting facilities. In anticipation of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of a massive urban regeneration project. This comes on the heels of the World Cup—and the Pan-American Games before that—and has made the city a case study in the spatial logic of the megaevent. Jorge de La Barre, a sociologist in Rio, for instance, characterizes the mega-event as an urban shock doctrine.  Following the global games and successive stadium-packed concerts in the city, de La Barre, writes, “As a time-lapse movie, the city is projecting in the future; the present disappears to leave room to the accelerated movement of change for mega-events.”  This accelerated movement is, he says, a “shock escape from the present.”

Author: Ana Paula Pimentel Walker
Co-author: V. Mitch McEwen
Publication: The Avery Review
Published: September 2015
http://averyreview.com/issues/9/mega-event