Google removes ‘favela’ from Rio maps

11th Apr 2013
Written by: Macca Sherifi

Google removes ‘favela’ from Rio maps

Rio de Janeiro looking to clean up its image

Rio de Janeiro is an amazing city in Brazil and a popular stop off on any round the world trip. With a population of well over 6 million, the city seems endless.

One of the enduring images of Rio is the favelas, sprawling shanty towns for a large proportion of the city’s inhabitants.

However, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the city is looking to clean up its image. So much so that they’ve asked Google to remove the word ‘favela’ from some of its maps of the city.

Hundreds of the shanty towns crowd the undeveloped parts of the city and have always been identified on maps using the Portuguese word ‘favela’.

Google removes 'favela' from Rio maps

Since 2009, the Mayor of Rio and tourism company Riotur have campaigned to have the word removed from the maps in order to reduce their prominence.

While the word ‘favela’ remains attached to certain areas, such as the famous Favela do Vidigal near Ipanema, Google has allegedly removed the word  from areas such as Favela Sumaré and Favela Morro do Chacrinha in the north of the city.

These favelas are now being described using the word ‘morro’ or ‘hill’.

The term has also been removed from one the south zone’s largest favelas, Rocinha.

Critics argue that the move may pose a risk to tourists, who could  unwittingly enter a dangerous, unmarked favela.

Do you think the move to remove the word favela from Google maps will help clean up the city’s image? Post your comments below.


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