In Rio, Police Reclaim a Favela
November 14, 2011
Image (c) Mauricio Lima for The New York Times.
But right now, Rio is animated by anxiety over the impeding building and population boom. Will Brazil’s infrastructure hold up? Where will people sleep? And the big one: in a city where broad-daylight carjackings are a banality, how to treat the millions of tourists who will arrive in the city for the Games?
The New York Times reports this morning on a massive military operation called “Shock of Peace” in one of Rio’s many favelas, in which tanks and bulldozers full of soldiers entered the slum and “pacified” it. The soldiers arrested gang members and wanted criminals. The take-over comes as no surprise to many Brazilians – in Rio, certain favelas are controlled by drug lords, independent of the law. The military exercise was designed to re-take control of one such favela, and was met with seeming ambivalence by many inhabitants, who clearly don’t have much reason to imagine that a polcie takeover will end up “sticking.” The Times portrays the operation as an exercise for the media – someone calls the helicopters “more Coppola than Vietnam.” More.
Rio is an architecturally animated city. It’s worth noting that interesting design happening there ranges from the first percent to the last. Artists like Haas&Hahn have made art in the favelas, while architects like Jorge Mario Jáuregui speculate on civic engagement through design. Meanwhile, Rio’s 1% builds high-design compounds atop Rio’s hills. The 2016 Games will be fun to read about when they happen, but it will be even more interesting to see what happens in Rio’s urban fabric in the lead up (and away from) from the events.
One of Dutch artists Hass&Hahn’s pieces inside a Rio favela.
Operation “Shock of Peace,” image (c) Mauricio Lima for The New York Times.
Residence outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, built by SPBR Architects.