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Fernanda Pereira Liguori Title : Porto Maravilha: socio-spatial contradictions in the port of Rio de Janeiro

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Porto Maravilha: socio-spatial contradictions in the port of Rio de Janeiro


Fernanda Pereira Liguori

The Consortium Urban Operation - CUO Porto Maravilha radically modified the old structures of the port area of ​​Rio de Janeiro, due to the conversion of the city into the headquarters of the 2016 Olympics. Executed between 2009-2016, the CUO covers an area of ​​5 million m2 , encompassing three entire neighborhoods (Santo Cristo, Gamboa and Saúde) and sections of three other neighborhoods (São Cristóvão, Cidade Nova, Centro and Caju). It was one of the most expensive urban operations in recent decades, where there was no lack of forced removals and non-compliance with environmental legislation, corruption scandals (bribery scheme, misuse of public money, diversion of resources), in addition to the lack of transparency in actions. The socio-spatial contradictions generated by the process will be discussed in this article in the light of Harvey's theory (2005) of urban entrepreneurship, especially the strategies created by the government to legitimize the process such as the reinvention of a “typical” heritage, the spectacularization of the landscape, the relativization of socio-spatial conflicts and gentrification.The Porto Maravilha Project considered the port area of ​​Rio de Janeiro as a virgin land, with no past or present, disregarding its cultural and historical importance, aiming only to serve the interests of financial capital and contractors. What aggravated the urban crisis in Rio de Janeiro and deepened the socio-spatial inequalities there. The low-income, mostly black population living in the region was left out of the process, although its history was co-opted by the consensus that raised and legitimized the urban restructuring of the port region. Today Porto Maravilha has a set of attractions of great public interest such as Museum of Tomorrow, Museum of Art of Rio (MAR), AquaRio and infrastructure to support tourism such as Píer Mauá (cruise ship landing terminal), hotels, abundant offer of public transport, food establishments, among others. All are elements of a fictitious scenario that tries to cover up the existing social and spatial inequalities.

Keywords: urban entrepreneurship, port area, urban restructuring, socio-spatial conflicts.


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