The 2012 London Olympics are only beginning, but the next ones are already underway.
In preparation to host the past UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 and the coming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is undertaking an ambitious urban improvement plan which includes setting up new transportation alternatives, retrofitting existing infrastructure, urbanizing its slums, and building new facilities across its whole metropolitan area.
The latest inauguration of such works is Madureira Park, which at 93,000 Sq. meters (22 acres) became the city's third largest green area after Aterro de Flamengo and Quinta da Boa Vista. It was born thanks to the rearrangement of some electricity transmission lines and the relocation of families who occupied the area.
Built and launched with a sustainability theme, it has an irrigation system for controlled use of water, water reuse, permeable floor, LED illumination and sewage treatment. About 800 native trees and 450 palm trees were planted around five lakes with illuminated fountains, surrounded by 31,500 Sq. meters (7,7 acres) of grass. Additionally, an Environmental Education Center was set up to reinforce the participation of the community and of students in the preservation of the park. All of which doesn't prevent the park from looking a bit lean in its early stage.
Most importantly, however, is that the new area hopes to lift a large commercial and residential region in Northern Rio which had suffered from deterioration and lacked cultural and leisure facilities. The relevance of a world class event like the 2016 Olympics for a city like Rio has got to be the improvement of lives in the lower-income levels of society.
In this line, apart from the sporting facilities, the park has a cultural stage for concerts and presentations (Samba Square), a 415 Sq. meters (4,400 Sq. feet) center with internet access and a virtual library (Knowledge Ship), and a 400 seats, 1,350 Sq. meters (14,500 Sq. feet) cultural room for presentations (Arena Carioca).
A new BRT line, Transcarioca, will connect the park through public transportation. Key point considering Rio's chaotic traffic outside the richest and most touristy areas of the city.
With four years to go, the city is sure going to show a whole new face when it receives the torch.