The “Operação Urbana Porto Maravilha” is a massive urban renewal project occurring in Rio de Janeiro’s Downtown Port Zone, involving an area of 5 million square meters (1,120 football fields). This is by far the largest neighborhood revitalization project in Brazilian history. This area, although historically prominent and architecturally aesthetic, has suffered from huge devaluation, problems with crime and poverty, and infrastructural deterioration. The goal of this project is to completely redefine the area as a new cultural epicenter of Rio de Janeiro as well as a new center of commerce.
On top of creating new working and living spaces, transportation systems, and cultural and leisure areas, the scale of the project is hoped to rejuvenate the whole downtown of Rio de Janeiro by the ripple effect. The ripple affect is a progression that occurs after a specific area of a city receives investment and infrastructural improvements which then attract more investment and new improvements to the adjacent area, and then the areas surrounding that, and so on. The result of a ripple effect can change the face and identity of a neighborhood, a city region, or an entire city (a common example of the ripple effect is waterfront in Brooklyn, New York).
This Porto Maravilha project has already completed entirely new sewage, drainage, and water systems (700 km) in the 5 million square meter area. There is a high standard of trash collection and efficient and economical public street lighting. Prominent green spaces (15,000 trees will be planted) and plazas have been built with permeable concrete for effective water and temperature control, as well as new vias (70 km), new ciclovias (17km) and walkable sidewalks (650,000 square meters). Big cultural museums (Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro, Museu do Amanhã, a Santiago Calatrava futuristic design) have already opened its doors, and some of the new transportation accesses in and around the area are in full function (4.8km of tunnels, a high tech light rail, new street access, and the demolition of previous elevated vias).
Rio de Janeiro’s Porto Maravilha project involves an area of 5 million square meters (1,120 football fields), the biggest neighborhood revitalization in Brazilian History.
This much needed face-lift to Rio de Janeiro’s neglected port area, the entrance of many travelers to the city, is attracting international and national businesses, and new residents to the area. Startups and co-working spaces have already began to inhabit and establish themselves, and Google and other tech Giants are following suit. Rio de Janeiro is known for its leisure, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle, but with a renewal project of this magnitude a profession side will be added to its repertoire.