Residents of the Vila Harmonia community in Rio de Janeiro are being evicted as part of a road-widening project in advance of the 2016 Olympics.
As Brazil "cleans up" its cities for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, many of its poorer urban residents risk losing their homes and jobs. Projects linked to the games have already displaced thousands of families in at least eight cities, and the mayor of Rio de Janeiro announced a $4.5 favela redevelopment plan last year that will tear down 123 areas and relocate 13,000 families. Street vendors have also been evicted to make way for roads and other developments, and more will be pushed out when zones around event sites are fenced off for official sponsors.
Catalytic Communities and StreetNet International are among the organizations working to reduce the games' negative impacts on low-income families and workers. Catalytic Communities is training youth from favelas to use digital media to bring attention to evictions and share local perspectives on the mega-events. The organization started Favela.info and its English-language counterpart RioOnWatch.org to publish local news online. Mainstream city papers in Brazil have mostly ignored evictions or presented them as solutions to "lawless occupation."
The municipal government of Rio de Janeiro has marked more than 300 houses in the Pavão Pavãozinho favela for demolition.
StreetNet International launched a World Class Cities Campaign in Brazil earlier this year to draw attention to the effects of World Cup preparations on informal workers, organize street vendor organizations into a national network and help them benefit from business opportunities. Read more about their work on the StreetNet blog.
Credits: Video from RioOnWatchTV.