The host of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics faces many questions as it prepares for mega-events that are changing the way things are working in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro has changed hugely in just the last four years. Thanks to economic growth, investment, and pacification (in the notoriously violent slums known as favelas), the city is more integrated and vibrant than perhaps it has ever been. Cariocas— what Rio inhabitants are known as — of all classes are freer than they were before to move around and try out a gamut of cultural experiences, to invest in their dreams, and forge new partnerships.
In 2010, Sérgio Cabral was reelected governor of Rio state and this year, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes received his own overwhelming show of approval. Clearly most citizens of both Rio state and the capital city support the continuity, consolidation, and deepening of their urban policies.
As the overall context has improved (with exceptions and backtracking), hardworking, visionary, and creative cariocas have done much to contribute to the tricky process of urban integration.
Notably, O Globo newspaper’s Faz Diferença award candidates this year include United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Raquel Rolnik, who has criticized the city’s removal policy, and the pioneering FLUPP, or International Literary Festival in Pacified Favelas, organized by Écio Salles, Toni Marques, and Julio Ludemir. Other candidates include the telenovela Avenida Brasil, which brought hidden aspects of life in Rio de Janeiro to national television; Marcus Faustin, the creator of the groundbreaking pacified favela youth program Agência de Redes para a Juventude; Jailson da Silva e Souza’s instrumental think-tank Observatório de Favelas; and the overwhelmingly successful new art fair on the wharves, ArtRio.
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