Christopher Gaffney

I am an academic geographer living and working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have conducted research in Brazil since 2004 when I began work on Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press, 2008). Temples investigates the history and culture of football stadiums in Rio and Buenos Aires, using them as lenses to observe the shifting urban landscape from the late 19th to the early 21st century.

After finishing my graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, I taught in the department of Geography, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, and the Curriculum for International Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2009, I returned to Rio de Janeiro on a Fulbright Fellowship where I began an investigation of the urban, political, and economic interventions for the 2014 World Cup while teaching in the Geography Department at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). In the fall of that year, the IOC and Rio signed an agreement, opening up new avenues of research.

I am currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture and Urbanism  at the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niterói, just across the bay from Rio. I teach courses on  urban planning, the construction of Olympic Cities, and theoretical approaches to urbanism. My current research projects focus on:

§  The social and urban changes associated with the 2016 Olympics, in particular the installation of Bus Rapid Transit lines (funded through CNPq-PIBIC), changing security dynamics, and issues of real-estate / gentrification.
§  The development of a national-scale research project that analyses the social, political, economic, sporting, and urban impacts of the 2014 World Cup in its 12 host cities. This project can be accessed through the Observatório das Metrôpoles website at UFRJ.
§  The daily management of the city and the ways in which the Olympic City is being constructed on top of the “real” city. This includes the political, economic, structural, and symbolic. My refelections on these issues are the subject of most of the blog posts.
§  The discourse, symbolism, and function of the Maracanã, 1946-2016.

I work with a number of academic and civil society institutions on these projects, including: Comitê Popular da Copa e Olimpíada, Observatòrio das Metrôpoles (UFRJ), CatComm, ABRAJI among others.

A native of Vermont (USA) I attended high school in Texas, studied History and Philosophy and ran down the left side of midfield at Trinity University (San Antonio), traveled through Central America and Mexico before teaching English in Taiwan, where I won the 1997 Footballer of the Year trophy. I then taught ESL, Spanish and Geography and coached soccer at Suffield Academy (CT). I earned a M.Sc. in Geography from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (thesis: Soccer and the Geographic Construction of Reality) while teaching in the Geography and Anthropology departments and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin where I taught courses on urbanism, Latin America, and cultural geography. 

In 2015 I will join the Space & Organization group at the University of Zurich's Department of Geography, which compares the planning and impacts of mega-events in Russia and Brazil. This four-year project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup are governed across space.


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar