Not in Brazil for the World Cup? No problem! Sure, you can catch the games at your favorite local sports bar, but did you know that you can experience the atmosphere of the city streets, as well?
Google Street View has compiled an interactive series called “Brazil’s Painted Streets,” featuring festively decorated avenues from each of the Brazilian cities playing host to the World Cup. Brazilian soccer fans adorn the streets with patriotic decorations every four years, but this year, they’ve taken their task to new heights, with the eyes of the world squarely focused on Brazilian cities.
These efforts, with the obvious intent of celebrating the country’s sporting legacy, in reality do far more than this. Much like tactical – or “guerilla” – urbanism trends in cities around the world, painting the streets builds community ties, sense of place, and fosters a shared investment in the future of the neighborhood. This helps to build close-knit communities that not only care deeply about the urban environment around them, but also know how to pick up the paintbrush and make the changes they want to see on their streets.
From the testimonies of Brazilian citizens like those in the video above, the World Cup and even soccer itself clearly represent far more than sport, informing the country’s cultural legacy and enriching the definition of Brazilian identity and brasilidade. Painting the streets, then, is a beautiful expression of this shared identity on the urban landscape.
Below, we at TheCityFix have compiled some of our favorite views of Brazil’s painted streets, courtesy of Google Street View. If you’re lucky to enough to be in Brazil, you can even upload your own photos of painted streets. And there’s a bonus: some of them even come car-free and pedestrianized!
Natal (above), famous for being the city in the Americas closest to the African continent, has adorned many of its streets not just with paint but also colorful streamers hung from nearby rooftops.
The city of Cuiabá (above) lies at the geographic center of South America, and is nicknamed “the southern gate to the Amazon.”
Rio de Janeiro’s (above) street art is the most directly aimed at the World Cup itself, celebrating not only the Brazilian players but their rivals from around the globe. Rio’s famed Maracanã stadium will host the 2014 World Cup final.
Manáus (above), smack in the middle of the Amazon jungle, was deemed an unlikely pick to host World Cup games due its high heat and humidity and related travel difficulties. We think the city has more than made up for that with its colorful street art, this one taking inspiration from the official ball of the 2014 World Cup.