Meeting – The Olympic city: Rio de Janeiro

A researcher from the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), talked about the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, during a breakfast meeting at NHO on February 9th. The meeting gathered more than 20 people. Among other topics, Einar Braathen presented an outlook about how the economical and political challenges that Brazil is facing have impacted the Olympics. He also told about the impact the Olympics is having to the citizens of Rio.

According to Braathen, the economical and political challenges have brought some impacts to the Olympics. Firstly, many of the main entrepreneurs responsible for some of the infrastructure improvements in the city are involved in the corruption scandal in Petrobrás, the semi public Brazilian multinational energy corporation. Secondly, Rio de Janeiro is a city dependent of oil commodities and because of the crisis on this industry; the city is facing a difficult situation to host the event.

Hosting the event is also bringing some impacts to its citizens, as said by Braaten. The main infrastructure coming with the Olympics is the “corridor buses”. However, this rapid bus transport system is only bringing advantage to the residents in the southern zone. Legal housing zones has been removed from the area where the Olympic games will take place, and houses of hundreds of families have been demolished. Brazil is still facing problems with polluted water where some of the water sports will be hosted. To close this critical scenario, Brazil is struggling to comprehend the epidemic Zika crisis.

Six months to go until Rio de Janeiro host the next Olympics, the country struggles with an epidemic and a combination of political and economic troubles. The government hope that all this will be only a bad memory by the opening ceremony on August 5th.– Maybe all that Brazil needs is a breath of fresh air that the Olympic can be to the country.