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Culture and creative economy in Rio de Janeiro : the challenges of a changing city


Since its adoption by the UNCTAD, the concept of creative economy has gained ground in Brazil and became a key issue for the economical development of the country. Most efforts are now focused on Rio de Janeiro.

Nowadays more than ever, all eyes are on Brazil. With two upcoming major events, the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, the country is about to deal with a great deal of opportunities in terms of tourism and investments. The city of Rio de Janeiro keeps drawing lots of attention, first as the Olympic Games Host City, but also because of its leading role toward the rest of the country. In that view, the concept of creative economy is more and more mobilized by public authorities and investors seeking the development of the city as a major cultural pole.

Rio de Janeiro is going through great changes, mostly due to the construction of Olympic infrastructures. Their implementation in the harbor area led to the development of a diversified cultural supply. Therefore, several major projects are planned within the Porto Maravilha project : a museum of sustainable development, a Pinacotheca, or even the creation of audiovisual and art restoration private schools. This heritage dynamic initiated in the Morro da Conceiçao –a popular housing district in the heart of the Olympic project – will finally come complete with the rehabilitation of old buildings and abandoned warehouses, in order to create the “City of Samba”.

In addition to these investments, the cidade maravilhosa has one of the highest potentials in the field of creative industries in the country. Whether in television, film, fashion or arts, markets related to these sectors now account for almost 4.1% of GDP of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Many other initiatives are underway, from an international contemporary art fair (ArteRio), to the first Brazilian edition of the festival of contemporary French cuisine, “Omnivore”, in 2013. Still, the city must now live up to the expectations. That’s why the State of Rio de Janeiro has developed a program called Rio criativo, which seeks to stimulate the creativity potential and cultural influence of the city while promoting its socio-­‐economic development.

For the first time in Brazil, culture and creativity are seen as growth factors. In a city where so many social inequalities are at play, the development of a creative economy appears as a major challenge, since it has the potential to create income and jobs while promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development.

Pascal Lopez


Photo credits : @Doug88888