Minimize Rio de Janeiro, then and now

Brazil's second city, Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the Olympics this month.

In 1960, 5 million people lived in Rio de Janeiro. By 2015, the population had swollen to 12.2 million. During the event, the city expects 500,000 people to visit.

To accommodate all these visitors, billions of dollars has been spent upgrading and building infrastructure, reducing crime, and addressing environmental issues. While Olympic venues are located in several neighbourhoods, most events will take place in Barra da Tijuca, a coastal neighbourhood in the West Zone of the city.

Barra da Tijuca is one of the youngest and most affluent neighbourhoods in Rio - and the fastest growing. Between 1990 and 2010, the population boomed from 100,000 to 300,000 people. Many people have been drawn there by its access to an 11-mile beach, and a large shopping centre. The neighbourhood is also home to Barra Olympic Park, a triangular tract of land near Lake Jacarepagua, with seven sporting venues, including facilities for swimming, tennis, basketball, and gymnastics.

Natural-colour images acquired by Landsat satellites show how Barra da Tijuca and the West Zone have changed since the 1980s. The top image was captured by the Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 during 19 September 1984. The image at the bottom was acquired by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 on 25 September 2015.

View the full resolution images.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory - Edited by the eoPortal team.


Rio de Janeiro 1984


Rio de Janeiro 2015

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