In preparation for the 2007 Pan American Games, Rio de Janeiro invested heavily in sporting infrastructure. The urban and social legacies of the Pan 2007 are deeply ambivalent yet have positioned Rio de Janeiro and Brazil in a situation where more investment in sporting infrastructure is forthcoming.
Twelve Brazilian cities will host the 64 games of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Incredibly, there are currently no stadiums in Brazil that meet FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) requirements for the month long event. Therefore, the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) in conjunction with national, state, and city governments have embarked upon an ambitious stadium building program. The minimum projected cost for seven renovated and five new stadiums is in excess of R$4.3 billion (US$ 2.15 billion). The financing for the stadium projects and their associated tourist, communications, and transportation infrastructures will come from the public sector with significant contributions from private enterprise.
The World Cup is a global event that occurs in local stadiums. These stadiums function as stages for sport but also serve as repositories of global memory. Residents, tourists, and television audiences share the emotional and cultural space of the stadium, remembering what happened there long after the floodlights dim. Despite the importance of the game and stadium in peoples’ lives, there are very few mechanisms through which they can build upon, share, and connect with the memories and events they helped to create. Long after the World Cup has passed, the stadiums and the games they host occupy a permanent position in the global memory of sport. My 2014 World Cup Memory Project intends to augment and preserve this memory in multiple forms.
Brazil is also one of the four remaining candidate cities to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. On October 2, 2009 the IOC will make its choice between Rio, Tokyo, Madrid and Chicago. If Rio de Janeiro is chosen, the process of preparing for the Olympics will begin immediately, stimulating large scale construction projects thoughout the city. In the event that Rio is selected I anticipate beginning a longer-term project.
My research into mega-events in Rio de Janeiro will build upon my book, Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press, 2008). In Temples, I trace the development of soccer stadiums in Rio and Buenos Aires, situating the stadiums in their political, urban, and cultural contexts. The book was runner-up in the Association of American Geographers's Globe Book Award competition and was called a "damn fine geography book" by one of the reviewers. There is a permanent link to the book at the right of the page.
I am really excited about heading off to Rio for the rest of the year and hope that you subscribe to the blog so I can keep you posted on what I'm up to.
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