The 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the utopia of Latin America’s first smart city. The case of Recife as host city.

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the utopia of Latin America’s first smart city. The case of Recife as host city.

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This article aims to present and discuss the proposals and impact upon the western area of Recife’s Metropolitan Region (RMR) in Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil, of the decision to host the 2014 World Cup, selecting Recife, amongst the 12 host cities of the football championship, as its empirical object. Based on the idea that a mega sports event provides cities, the urban planning of this region was redefined, on the premise that this would be the ideal opportunity to develop this area, which possesses RMR’s lowest indicators. On the spur of this planning, besides the construction of the sports arena, the state and municipal authorities planned the construction of a new urban centrality, called Cup City (Cidade da Copa), announced as Latin America’s first smart city, with the ambition of attracting around one hundred thousand new residents, since a real estate complex including shopping center, hotel chains, houses, and other facilities, was planned. Six years on from the World Cup, and after changes in urban legislation, the creation of public-private partnerships, changes in the territory, hundreds of family evictions, high financial investments – indicators presently evaluated in this article – we can observe the presence of a sports arena built to world football standards but obsolete, as is the rest of the idealized territory, encompassed by the real city, historically built spontaneously, and with this region’s typical precariousness. Given these results, the article will seek to reflect the regional planning strategies, based on major events, and, furthermore, appropriating supposedly ephemeral concepts, introduced by property speculators in partnership with the public administrations, which envisioned the opportunity for the sale of the city to a creditworthy public, and imposed an uncertain destiny upon many of its existing residents.

Corresponding Author

Ana Maria Filgueira Ramalho

Dinâmia'CET - IUL

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Ana Maria Filgueira Ramalho


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Preferred Track

1. Mega-events and mega-projects: trends and demands

Second Preferred Track

9. The Syndrome of Grand Projects: contamination processes between North-South, West-East, Global-Local