One of our Partner Leads, Prof Marcelo Cortes Neri, from the Fundacion Getulio Vargas has edited a newly published book from Routledge entitled Evaluating the Local Impacts of the Rio Olympics. Below is a short blog post from Marcelo highlighting some of the links between the book and the EventRights project.

This note evaluates the local impacts of the Olympics in Rio, testing the ways in which the Games might have served the city. It summarizes the results of a book with 16 chapters. The book also compares Rio with other Olympic experiences and describes related urban planning activities. Rio2016 took place in a scenario of enormous economic challenges and persistent inequalities. In contrast with all previous Olympic experiences, Brazil faced its worst economic recession ever recorded during the preparation phase for the Games. In addition to the national crisis, falling oil prices and corruption scandals fueled the State of Rio’s economic downfall. This combination creates a critical research environment where key issues related to the EventRights project such as diversity and inclusion are central.

What were the impacts of the Rio2016 on the well-being of Rio’s citizens? This exercise translates in multiple dimensional scoreboards of relative changes with respect to control groups. First, it shows mild improvements in traditional aspects of the Games’ legacy such as tourism, infrastructure and sports practice. There were marked gains in ordinary day-by-day aspects of the city’s life, such as education, housing and employment. There was an inclusive growth process within the city of Rio but rising spreads with respect to other regions of the metropolitan area. The main drawbacks observed were in transportation time, informality and sewage coverage. So separate chapters of the book scrutinize problematic areas such as urban mobility, gentrification and Guanabara Bay’s pollution.

Data on the population’s perceptions do not always walk hand in hand with objective indicators in times of marked economic changes, spreading social networks usage and large street protests. We performed fieldwork that tracks how the supply of different public policies evolved in relation to the population’s demands. Statistical tests show an increase in the chances of improving the perceived quality of most public services in Rio, before and after the Olympics, such as universities, health, transportation, security and schools, including nurseries. However, these gains were not permanent. We also show low and deteriorating levels of social cohesion after the Games.

One particular dimension that combines subjective and objective elements is the inclusion of people with disability (PWD). We tested the diversity in the coverage of formal jobs  for PWD  in the city of Rio de Janeiro since 2000, after the employment Quotas Act became operational and major para-sports events happened in the city. We show different trends for different PWD groups over the years. The first decade shows gains in the formal employment for Rio´s adult PWD group, but a decline for people with intellectual disability (PWID). Coincidentally the intellectually disabled were excluded from the Paralympics after Sidney2000 and only came back in London2012. In the 2010s, PWID´s formal employment rates increased four times more than other PWD´s. In general, there were labor achievements for the PWD, but losses for the PWID, in the first decade of the millennium, while the second decade was particularly favorable for the latter. Overall, the period of megaevents produce produced many positive and negative social changes in the land of Carnival.

Neri, M.(Ed.) (2020). Evaluating the Local Impacts of the Rio Olympics. Routledge, UK.