It is a scene we see every four years when the Olympics come around: Development that displaces a group of people who lack a good defense, unlike the futebol team they used to pay $1.80 to see.
There used to be a standing-room only general admission area in theÂ MaracanÃ£ stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, years ago, but no longer exists today, according to an article yesterday in the New York Times. (Rio will host the 2016 Olympics after beating Tokyo, Madrid, and Chicago.)
The price of tickets is important to cariocas (residents of Rio) because of the stadium’s “role as an egalitarian space in a heavily unequal city like Rio.”
â€œWhat could be lost is the nature of the stadium experience as something that cuts across the class segregation of the city as a whole,â€ Bruno Carvalho said,Â a Rio native who is an assistant professor of Brasilian studies at Princeton.Â â€œDo you give up the vitality of the MaracanÃ£ as a public space, a rare type of space in Rio where you can actually get together people of different social classes?â€
Members of the National Fans Association understand that safety and comfort upgrades, for which the general admission area was removed, have to be made for an event such as the World Cup 2014, but they want to ensure that other venues under construction be integrated and their designers consult local urban planners and neighborhood groups.
Nine new venues will be constructed for the Rio Olympic Games, and seven venues will be constructed but removed after the closing ceremony. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, thousands of city residents were “relocated.” Some reports say 15,000 moved voluntarily with compensation and another says 300,000 were evicted.
I have a concern that in the next five years, there will be founded accusations of cariocas’ civil rights as “progress” pushes them out of the way.
Photo of the MaracanÃ£ stadium by Phil Whitehouse.