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As Olympics approach, favela residents face eviction

A resident of Rio's Vila Autodromo slum looks at the Olympic Park construction site from her home in July of last year. An estimated 80 percent of the area's 700 families have accepted financial compensation in exchange for agreeing to relocate. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The official blueprint for the Olympic Park emerging in Rio de Janeiro states that favela residents won’t be displaced by development. Mayor Eduardo Paes has made similar promises in advance of the Summer Games, which begin August 5.

Adam Talbot writes for The Conversation that despite the assurances, residents of the Vila Autódromo slum on the edge of the Olympic site feel pressure to leave. The favela is located on what is fast-becoming prime real estate, he writes.

An estimated 80 percent of the 700 families there have accepted financial compensation in exchange for agreeing to relocate. Talbot warns that when slum dwellers agree to vacate, they often end up in poor quality housing with high electricity costs. The mayor states here that the remaining 30 families are welcome to stay.

The better option, says Talbot, a doctoral researcher in the sociology of sport and RioOnWatch contributor, is for the city “to make Vila Autódromo part of the show.” It’s not too late for the city to upgrade the infrastructure for the remaining residents, and showcase their favela as a cultural asset, Talbot writes.

The Conversation

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