2.36 - Urban transformations in the city of Rio de Janeiro after mega-events

Project Description

The choice of a city as the seat of sports mega events almost always means the contribution of an expressive amount of resources, in addition to the contributions usually present in the municipal, state and federal budgets. However, it is important to highlight some issues in this context: how are new capital resources socially used and distributed? How does urban regeneration, often necessary for the adaptation of the city to the new demands, impact on existing socio-spatial inequalities?

Finding answers to these questions gains relevance in the scenario in which Brazil has been consolidating, since the country historically registers great levels of social disparities and has hosted in the last ten years three sporting events of international importance: Pan American Games of 2007; the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016, with Rio de Janeiro as its central city. All these events, together, create a horizon for Brazilian metropolitan development, especially for the city of Rio de Janeiro, in view of the expectation of deep urban regeneration due to its impacts.

The increasing population of tourists, athletes and support teams requires investments in sports structures, infrastructure, transportation logistics, security, training. On the other hand, discussions about the legacy of major sporting events occur mostly without empirical studies and under theoretical premises with the support of political and market interests. The legacy, often financed by governments or agencies responsible for mega-events, seeks to suggest normative typologies and the global transfer of "good practice models" among host cities. Therefore, these models can be seen as contributing to the "success stories" of the mega-events, ignoring the sober side of the "legacy."

In seeking to look beyond these models, one seeks to understand recent debates about the kind of contribution that the assemblage approach can bring to a critical understanding of the increasingly globalized conception of legacies. In particular, it examines how assemblage, with its emphasis on the composition of diverse elements, can provide conceptual and methodological tools beyond the theoretical understandings that characterize mega-events, such as neoliberal urbanization, corporate governance, economic impacts. Therefore, as a contribution, this thesis seeks to broaden the methods of analysis of mega-events to incorporate a broader method of evaluation than, conventionally, underpins urban theory. The case study will be conducted in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which during the last ten years has hosted three international sports events.

Research team
  • Amanda Felix
  • Paulo Conceição (supervisor)
  • Daniel de Mello Sanfelici (co-supervisor)
Financial Support


Time Frame
  • 2017 to 2020