Rio’s bid to become a smart city


When you think of Rio de Janeiro, you will probably think of its famously chaotic favelas, Sugarloaf mountain or even the scantily clad Copacabana beach, but few would think of it as a natural home of smart technologies.

But according to the BBC, this is all about to change due to a new project that is under way and one which the city’s government hopes will put Rio on the map as Latin America’s first smart city.

The project, co-ordinated by Unicef in collaboration with local non-government organisation CEDAPS (Centro de Promocao da Saude) has local teenagers digitally mapping five favelas in order to highlight some of the challenges for those living there.

Teenagers take aerial shots of their neighbourhood using digital cameras sitting in old bottles which are launched via kites – a common toy for children living in the favelas.

They then use GPS-enabled smartphones to take pictures of specific danger points – such as rubbish heaps, which can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying dengue fever.

The data is uploaded to a website and added to an online map.

It is proving an effective way of getting changes made.

A nursery school that once balanced precariously near the edge of a sheer drop now has a balcony, many of the steepest steps in the favela have had railings fitted and recycling bins dot the area to discourage residents from stockpiling rubbish.


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