On October 5, 2014, Brazil held national and state elections. These elections, coupled with the award to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, make Brazil a relevant destination for the study of urban transformation. Many observers of Brazil note that this nation of 200 million people has arrived “onto the world stage.”
Brazil has a long history of strong public participation to influence political and social change. Public places have been integral in providing space to facilitate these changes. As well, open communal space is central to the values of the modern city and the globalized, developed country. Yet, these spaces are becoming increasingly more rare in cities throughout Brazil. As crime rates rise and the proximity between the rich and poor increases, certain populations are looking to find more security, and spatial segregation becomes a prevailing characteristic of Brazil’s prominent cities.
The research submitted looks at the organization of urban space in Brazilian cities. One of the goals of the study is to add to the small quantity of English language scholarship on Brazilian urbanism. It looks at the segregation of the city and how this leads to the decline and degradation of public space. The research highlights public spaces in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo before they are completely lost. It also exposes the hostility that arises from a “city of walls.” It further showcases the differences in the treatment of public space between these two metropoles.