By my informal calculations, Beijing probably killed or incarcerated two or three million people as part of its riff-raff cleanup ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. Give or take a dozen or so -but it worked. And now we see Brazil hard at work on a similar effort – albeit probably with way less political prisoners and state-sponsored “disappearance” programs.
Anyway, one of the ancillary benefits of a citywide cleanup led by government is that investors from the private sector, both foreign and local, come to the table at the same time. I’m not for government-directed investment in general, however the occurence of this sort of thing surrounding big projects around the world is impossible to deny. Witness the gentrification of some pretty frightening parts of Brazil…
From the AP:
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Five years ago, Rio de Janeiro’s “favela” hillside slums had such a bad rap that they were virtual no-go zones, where drug lords laid down the law and outsiders set foot at their peril.
But since 2011, police have seized control of dozens of favelas from drug gangs, and things have changed so dramatically that some of the slums are now seen as hot real estate investments — so hot, in fact, that two Europeans recently locked horns in a legal battle over a battered favela house.
Rio’s slum “pacification” program is part of a strategy to make the city safe ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Murder rates are down, and SecoviRio, an organization representing Rio’s real estate professionals, estimates that in the 72 hours after police took the first three favelas, property prices there jumped by 50 percent — and are still climbing.