Mega-events in India, Brazil, and South Africa: Lessons for safer cities

December 13, 2016
Brij Maharaj

Hosting global events is a popular strategy for boosting city profiles and spurring economic development. But these mega-events produce winners and losers, as infrastructure projects and private sector development compete for space in established neighbourhoods. Most research on mega-events has focused on western experience. In this 2015 paper, Brij Maharaj of the University of Kwazulu-Natal presents a missing perspective, examining three recent mega-events in the Global South: the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India; the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The paper documents evictions, loss of livelihoods, and violations of human rights resulting from public-private partnerships characterized by cost overruns and a lack of accountability. It argues that, despite bringing some infrastructure benefits, the Indian, Brazilian, and South African experiences with mega-events deepened inequality, and benefited the privileged at the expense of the poor.  

Read the paper “The Turn of the South? Social and Economic Impacts of Mega-events in India, Brazil and South Africa” (PDF, 169KB) in the journal Local Economy.

Explore the IDRC-supported project People, places and infrastructure: Countering urban violence and promoting justice in Mumbai, Rio, and Durban.

Learn more about IDRC’s research support to make cities safer through the Safe and Inclusive Cities partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.