Rio de Janeiro, towards Apartheid.



Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States of America and Nobel Peace Prize, once said that the State of Israel has created “a system of apartheid, with two people occupying the same territory but completely separated from each other – and the Palestinians deprived from their basic human rights under the pretext of combating violence. ” the Cisjordânia Wall, built under the pretext of preventing the infiltration of terrorists into Israel, confiscated Palestinian´s land and segregated the population.

Here, the Wall received another name: Olympic Legacy. Under the cover of the excuse to solve the city’s problems, heavy investments in areas of City already wealthier culminated in a real estate speculation that has exacerbated the stratification of the “Cidade Maravilhosa” (wonderful city), dividing the society according to its walk of life.


The set of neighborhoods of the area of Leopoldina, in North Zone of Rio, looks a lot like the district of Stratford, England, at London 2012. An old industrial area that also obtained the promise to take the Olympic´s investments to rescue a large degraded area of the city. In London it worked, but not here. Two decades ago, when Rio de Janeiro experienced for the first time the euphoria to compete the hosting of 2004 Olympic Games, then the mayor Cesar Maia has launched a project to revitalize the North Zone.

Fundão Island Olympic Project (Jornal O Globo)

With Athens winning the selection process, the former proposal from Brazil to make Fundão Island the center of the competition, with teachers and students from UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) learning and teaching a generation of future athletes in the region of Maré and Complexo do Alemão, plus the creation of an ecological park in the region (which would be the largest leisure area of the city) were abandoned. The international shame of its sewer ‘in natura’ from Guanabara Bay made Rio lose the competition.

Canal  do Cunha – The river still delivers sewer into Guanabara Bay (Jornal O Globo)

In the current Olympic model, where Barra da Tijuca is the sports center, the city chose to miss the opportunity to be positive transformed derived from games. The evaluation from Gilmar Mascarenhas, post-doctorate in urban planning and urban geography professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). “The Olympic Park in Fundão, in the north zone, would allow the construction of sports facilities to benefit the poorest people,” says the teacher.

Prefeitura do Rio

On the other way around, who agrees with the current model, explains that the conditions from Leopoldina area are too precarious for the event. “The International Olympic Committee (IOC), questioned the Canal do Cunha River, which is inexplicable; we promise that it would be clean, with jumping dolphins, which was not possible until now “, says Ronaldo Cezar Coelho (from the PSDB political party), who at the time commanded the Rio 2004 Committee.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), made the following statement about changing the project to Barra da Tijuca area: “Now, let’s get visitors in the living room.” The strategy, which does not solve the city’s problems, but hide them, was clear. While Barra da Tijuca is considered the “living room of the house”, to Leopoldina area has left the title of sewage competition.


Although 38% of Cariocas live in the north zone, only 12% of the city’s leisure facilities are there. Even the beaches from Guanabara Bay are unable to bathing due to high pollution. There is a serious imbalance in economic dynamism between Barra da Tijuca and Leopoldina Area.

In the Simplified Environmental Report, official document of the implementation of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Transcarioca in Leopoldina Area, it was reported that there is a “lack of parks in all districts and the lack of gardens in the neighborhoods of Ramos, Olaria, Penha – densely populated neighborhoods.” What is not new; Carlos Lacerda, Governor of the State of Guanabara (1960-1965), gave the same diagnosis half a century ago, during the construction of park Ary Barroso.

The only Olympic intervention in Leopoldina Area was the BRT Transcarioca. An urban transport system connecting the Tom Jobim International Airport – Galeão – to Barra da Tijuca. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the North Zone is on the way for those leaving the international airport destined to Barra da Tijuca.


“They just want to focus on the market. See what happens here in Rio with the Olympics. Much of the investment went to Barra da Tijuca, where there is already basic infrastructure. ” – Fernando Janot, federal director of the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB).

“Rio turned his back for a long time for the North Zone, which is the most consolidated area of the city. People are leaving Bonsucesso. You cannot build social housing in some areas of the West Zone, where there is no city, and let the North Zone get empty. ” – Clarisse Linke, deputy director of the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP Brazil).

It is essential for Rio de Janeiro that the quality of life in suburban neighborhoods improves, not just where are the trendsetters. Many areas suffer decades of degradation. Any urban planner today believes that the city should expand to the most needy areas, and not to Recreio. ” – Mauro Osorio, a law professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

“We are focusing on an area of the city already privileged, while stimulating a historic increase in property speculation. Whose interests are behind it? The (mayor) Eduardo Paes was deputy mayor from Barra da Tijuca and all economic interests in the region are behind it” . – Christopher Gaffney, an expert in urban legacy of major sporting events.

The funds will be very important. But if they are directed primarily to Barra da Tijuca, the city will suffer greatly. And the great change that the Olympics can bring will be minimized because the entire population will have fewer opportunities than it would have, for example, if the Olympic Games were concentrated in the port area. The port now is available. When the Olympics were scheduled, there was no agreement between the three levels of government. The Port areas were impossible. That has changed. “- Sergio Magalhaes, president of the Institute of Architects of Brazil.

“The Olympics, with its BRT’s directed to Barra da Tijuca and all of its housing equipment in Barra da Tijuca as well, besides most sports, frontally contradicts the position of the architects of Rio de Janeiro and the latest international trends: The Olympics, instead of democratizing the city makes it more elitist “- Flavio Ferreira, professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU).


Unlike London, the apartments built for hosting the athletes will not lead to housing affordable to the poor. In Rio it was created the “Jadins do Rei” (King’s Gardens), built apartments for accommodation at Barra da Tijuca, which can cost more than R$ 1 million (US$300,000). On the other hand, Mayor Eduardo Paes, spoke at a news conference that “not only the implementation of the BRT stations are enough and done, but, making drainage, qualification, making sidewalks, implementation of squares and recreation area, “he said.

Two years after the BRT Transcarioca, Ramos waiting for the promises.

However, observing the true legacy of the Olympics for this area, we found several
irregularities as the destruction of a recreation square land in Ramos for the construction of BRT; now the site has become a point for drug users and assaults. The end of a lawn with toys and a soccer field, at Travessa Viúva Garcia, which was turned into Cardoso de Morais BRT station. The reduction of one third of the square Professor Mourao Filho, to the creation of Santa Lucia BRT station.

Google Street view of “Praça Professor Mourão Filho” in Ramos neighborhood. Before and after the Olympics.

The consequences came at Olympic speed. Children have been caught playing on the express bus corridor of BRT Transcarioca. About 40 trees were not reemplantandas in Ramos. One of the most architecturally important buildings in Rio, Cine Rosario remained abandoned in Ramos while building up the beloved Museum of Tomorrow, at Praça Maua. A man was stabbed during a robbery in a BRT bus near Olaria BRT station.

Almost two years after the inauguration and close to the Olympic games, Ramos and
Leopoldina Zone continue in Rio de Janeiro, but outside the Olympic City, even though they are an obligatory path of tourists who leave Galeão BRT station.

First impression remains…

Text by Patrick Barbosa
Translator (Portuguese to Englsh) Andreia de Lima
Technical Consulting Hugo Costa

Reference material:


Instituto Pereira Passos – Rio de Janeiro – Mapa de Uso e Ocupação do Solo:

Instituto Pereira Passos – Rio de Janeiro – Mapa de Limites Geográficos (Bairros,
Regiões Administrativas, Áreas de Planejamento):

Prefeitura da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro – Plano Estratégico da Prefeitura do Rio de
Janeiro 2009 – 2012

Prefeitura da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro – Secretaria Municipal de Obras Coordenadoria
Geral de Obras 5ª Gerência de Obras – Relatório Ambiental Simplificado da
implantação da Transcarioca Etapa 2


1. ENTREVISTA: Gilmar Mascarenhas – ‘O Rio insistiu em um modelo fora de moda’,
diz Gilmar Mascarenhas (Estadão – 13 de fev de 2016)

2. 20 anos depois: candidatura Rio 2004 tinha Fundão como eixo esportivo – (O Globo
– 22 de mar de 2016)

3. Luiz Fernando Janot critica modelos de desenvolvimento sem integração entre
bairros (O Globo – 31 de mai de 2015)

4. Urbanismo aliado ao transporte propõe remodelar Bonsucesso (O Dia – 18 de ago de

5. Copa do Mundo e Olimpíada: investimento público, lucro privado (Carta Capital – 26 de jul de 2011)

6. Em entrevista, urbanista critica concentração de recursos das Olimpíadas na Barra
da Tijuca (Jornal O Globo – 09 de out de 2009)

7. Arquitetos e urbanistas debatem as grandes obras da Cidade no OsteRio (IETS –

8. Especialistas criticam mudança da Vila de Mídia e Árbitros (IAB RJ – 19 de mar de

9. Olimpíadas: o legado de Barcelona, a experiência de Londres e as perspectivas para o Rio de Janeiro (UrbanMedia Reports – 29 de nov de 2012)

10. ‘Como é que você vai botar o pobre ali?’, diz bilionário ‘dono da Barra da Tijuca’
(BBC Brasil – 10 agosto 2015)

11. Prefeitura inaugura Transcarioca, o segundo corredor BRT da cidade (Prefeitura do
Rio – 01 de junho de 2014)

12. Paes testa BRT Transcarioca dois dias antes de inauguração com Dilma (Portal G1 –
30 de mai de 2015)

13. Obras no Rio elevam temperatura do solo em vinte graus (Jornal Extra – 16 de jan
de 2015)

14. Orgulho da Transcarioca (Portal Cidade Olímpica –

15. Passarela em Ramos está abandonada, com sujeira e tem problema de iluminação
(Jornal O Globo 03 de nov de 2014)

16. Moradores reclamam de obras inacabadas em passarelas no Rio (Portal R7 –
Balanço Geral Manhã – Out de 2015)

17. Ruas completas ao longo do Transcarioca: oficina de desenho e segurança viária
(ITDP Brasil – 26 de mai de 2015)

18. Grade do BRT colocada em curva da Rua Teixeira de Castro expõe motoristas a
acidentes (Jornal O Globo – 31 de dezembro de 2014)

19. Mulher fica gravemente ferida em acidente na Zona Norte do Rio (Jornal O Dia – 11
de novembro de 2015)

20. Obra para o BRT deixa viaduto em meia pista dez meses após inauguração do
corredor (Jornal Extra – 26 de mar de 2015)

21. Buraco ao lado de viaduto do BRT Transcarioca, em Ramos, é cercado, mas não tem
dono (Jornal O Globo – 24 de out de 2014)

22. Moradores de Ramos, na Zona Norte do Rio, ficam sem área de lazer após obras do
BRT (Jornal Extra – 24 de abr de 2015)

23. Com praças inutilizadas, moradores de Ramos ficam sem opções de lazer (Jornal O
Globo – 07 de dez de 2015)

24. Imagens mostram crianças brincando no meio da pista do BRT, no Rio (Portal G1 –
14 de jan de 2015)

25. Avenida Brasil vira área de lazer durante interdição das pistas no feriado (RJTV –
23 de Abr de 2014)

26. É temporada de pipa no corredor do BRT Transcarioca (Folha de S.Paulo – 06 de
ago de 2015)

27. Árvores não foram replantadas em Ramos (Jornal O Globo – 23/10/2015)

28. Um final feliz para cinemas de rua (Jornal O Dia – 03 de mar de 2012)

29. Promessa de resgate de cinema em Ramos (Jornal O Globo – 15 de mar de 2014)

30. Após anos de abandono, antigos cinemas de rua do Rio vivem o suspense da
reestreia (Jornal o Globo – 14 de jun de 2015)

31. Ônibus do BRT Transcarioca é apedrejado na Zona Norte (Jornal O Globo – 28 de
set de 2015)

32. Passageiros relatam rotina de roubos e arrastões no BRT; veja imagens (Portal G1 –
20 de jun de 2015)

33. Homem é esfaqueado dentro de ônibus do BRT durante assalto na estação de Olaria
(Jornal O Globo – 19 de jun de 2015)

34. Vandalismo no BRT gera prejuízo de R$ 150 mil ao mês; veja flagrantes (Portal G1
– 19 de jun de 2015)

35. Rotina de medo: Assaltos nos ônibus do BRT sobem 147% (Jornal O Dia – 03 de
mai de 2015)

36. Perguntar não ofende (Jornal O Globo – 11 de abr de 2015)


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