Mega-Events and Urban Poverty: Legacy Projects in Rio de Janeiro

CROP Poverty Brief no 31, April 2016:

Sporting mega-events are regarded as vehicles for urban and economic development, leaving host cities and nations with lasting ‘legacies’. But what kind of development do the events facilitate, and which legacies do they produce? This Brief considers the case of Rio de Janeiro. It argues that in order for mega-events to play a constructive role in the reduction of poverty and urban inequality, this must become a genuine priority of the events’ organising bodies in Rio as well as in future host cities and nations.

Main points:

• Sporting mega-events are considered vehicles for urban and economic development; providing impetus to the local economy while creating ‘legacies’ in the form of infrastructure and other upgrades.

• In Rio de Janeiro, legacy projects intended to improve living conditions in self-built neighbourhoods have been mostly abandoned. Instead several such neighbourhoods have been targeted for removal to make valuable land available for other purposes.

• In their current form, sporting mega-events exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and economic marginality. In order for this to change, the priorities of the events’ organising bodies and host cities must be radically reconfigured.

Read the full text here.