Rio de Janeiro's Waterfront: Urbanism and social representation of reality

Nara Iwata


Post-modernity and economic globalization is inciting the competition among countries, regions and cities, in search of investments, consumers and resources. To pursue a new position in this global market, cities use new urban practices to re-discover and re-invent their identities and traditions, taken as attributes to attract consumers. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, the mythical dimension of the South Zone is inseparable and incorporated to its identity. In evaluating the history of Rio de Janeiro’s seaside, the social construction of its imagery and the projects that redesigned its urban signs, we can identify an intermittence of urban interventions, marked by the lack of a continuous management of the waterfront. We verify that, even though tourist marketing appraises the seaside as the main image of the city, it does not receive proportional attention from urban interventions, may be in account of not being understood as a social construction. We conclude that the importance of caring for the seaside must not be understood only as an esthetical question, but also as the valorization of Rio de Janeiro’s image, its inhabitants’ self-esteem and citizenship itself.

Palabras clave

Rio de Janeiro; Postmodenity; Waterfront

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