Some thirty years ago, dictators ruled and inflation soared. Today, Brazilians freely elect their presidents, while millions rise from poverty. The South American nation can teach the world something about building a prosperous democracy.
Hosting the finals of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association brings glory to Brazil. But the globalization of the tournament also challenges the sporting culture of a nation whose name is synonymous with football.
Something important happened last June: hundreds of thousands of Brazilians began marching for better public services and government accountability—and against police brutality. The question is not only whether the unrest will disrupt this year’s World Cup, but also how it may change Brazilian politics.
Long a national pillar above party politics, the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations has fallen under heavy public scrutiny. It must resolve crises in three areas: ideological neutrality, bureaucratic harmony, and social legitimacy.
Middle Eastern immigrants began arriving in the 1850s, and Brazilian governments have long promoted a narrative of harmonious relations between Arabs and Jews. Is this a myth? Is it a basis for a more robust Brazilian foreign policy for the region?
When the author arrived in 1995, she purchased an armored car and retreated to a gated community. Rio de Janeiro was a city at war with itself: elites of the wealthy enclaves versus the urban poor of the favelas. Society is now changing for the better, in ways that cannot be undone.
The former mayor of Curitiba says decisive battles for the quality of life are being fought in cities, with the future of the planet at stake. He calls for citizen participation on a global scale to overcome poverty, ignorance and environmental degradation. To innovate, he argues, is to begin.
Government bulldozers flattened the Badia East squatter district in Lagos earlier this year. Suppose its nine thousand residents had drawn maps, kept records, and documented their community’s dynamism over the past thirty years. Would it have been quite so easy to evict them?
The urban centers of the New Economic Powers are bent on GDP growth to become influential global cities. Yet the Western model being emulated is itself facing serious sustainability challenges. It is necessary to ask whether material possessions and use of natural resources are the best measure of prosperity.
From Cairo to Casablanca and beyond, millions of Arabs live in munatiq ‘ashwa’ia, or random areas. Informal developments continue to expand in response to state failure and incapacity. Arab governments should stop focusing on hyper-modern schemes and start empowering the poor for the creation of formal, legal neighborhoods with affordable housing.
Once the site of a garbage dump, Al-Azhar Park is a verdant haven in the heart of one of the world’s most densely populated cities. The development project, led by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, achieved a grand urban vision for revitalizing center-city neighborhoods, restoring Islamic historical sites and reviving ancient crafts.
The modern metropolis is vulnerable to all sorts of sudden and gradual threats, from hurricanes and earthquakes to the consequences of global warming. To cope, society must be resilient and the city managed well. Be prepared! Here’s an Urban Dweller’s Guide to the Elements.
By the year 2100, our cities may be home to eight billion people, 80 percent of the projected global population. Much depends on how we navigate the intersection between urbanization and digital technology. Build the Smart City, but one street corner at a time.
The Motor City, once the world automobile capital, is now better known for urban decay. Public services are abysmal, crime rampant, and leadership absent. But a promising comeback may be in the works, thanks to civic-minded corporate executives, leaders of charitable foundations, and nonprofit neighborhood groups.
A Yangtze River boomtown reveals the dark side of China’s rapid urbanization. The skyline looks like another Hong Kong, with towering modern buildings and soaring bridges, but a closer look reveals worsening social stratification. By focusing on short-term economic gains, Chinese leaders risk creating divided cities with expansive slums and ghettoes of extreme wealth.
Since the September 11 attacks, Gotham lives under a blanket of tight security. Police and guards seem everywhere. Inspections, intrusions and blockages are the norm. The financial cost is huge. Quality of life is diminished. Is there anything to show for it?