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Where do Political Will and Community Needs Meet? The case of the Aerial Cable Cars in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Krassner, Anne

In the last 10 years, aerial cable cars have been popularized as the leading remedy for the mobility hurdles faced by informal settlements in Latin America. The literature hails cable cars as an innovative and effective solution to increasing access to and from informal settlements in cities of the global South. Additionally, academics credit aerial cable-car systems around the world with helping change the perception of informal settlements and help integrate them, both physically and socially, into the formal city. However, the community of Complexo do Alemão, where the city of Rio de Janeiro inaugurated its first aerial cable-car system in 2011, is unsatisfied with the government’s choice to build a cable car in their community, and proposals for cable-car systems in other favelas around the city have been met with heavy protest. This thesis explores the disconnect between the government’s effort to increase mobility and accessibility by building the cable car, and the community’s negative response to this “innovative” technology. Through a community survey and interviews with community leaders and officials, this thesis unpacks the process of planning the cable cars in Complexo do Alemão, as the community experienced it and as it was framed by the state of Rio de Janeiro. The lack of transparency throughout the planning process and integration of the project with the most pressing needs of the community, as well as absence of accountability of the government to the residents of Complexo do Alemão, resulted in a missed opportunity to truly improve the life of the people living in the neighborhood. As the Brazilian government continues to invest heavily in large infrastructure projects such as the Teleférico, it is imperative that these projects be in touch with the needs in the communities which they affect so that government funds can be utilized and optimized to truly improve the quality of life in Brazilian cities.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
King, David Andrew
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2014
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