On the heels of the widespread protests in Turkey sparked by threats to destroy a public park, Brazil’s protests also mark a global trend toward greater awareness of urban issues. In the case of Brazil, it’s understandable that officials want to reach for international recognition, positioning their message with powerful investors abroad. But this expense can’t come at the expense of average Brazilian citizens. Some claim that the protests are about “much more than just 20 cents”, and in a way they are. But they are nevertheless inherently linked to improvements to the urban landscape. As Brazil charts its course for future development, it can’t just focus on big ticket projects such as multi-million dollar sports arenas, it has to think about how to make life better at the street level. That means less police repression, better fare structures, and well designed infrastructure that benefits everyone.
A government plan to raise bus fares has sparked protests in several Brazilian cities. The protests are a symptom of both a stratified social structure and short-sighted urban planning.