Beyond the Arena
Itaquera is the district in the eastern outskirts of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Although close to half a million U S dollars has been spent in the construction of a new stadium, Arena Itaquera, and approximately thirty percent of its cost has been granted by Sao Paulo in the form of tax incentives, part of Itaquera's impoverished population still lack basic infrastructure in the areas of housing and sanitation.
In May 2014, taking advantage of the spotlight on the World Cup, more than 4,000 homeless families occupied over 150 kilometers of unused land, focusing attention on their living conditions. On the other hand, Itaquera emerging middle class use the local shopping center as their main leisure area, though the region offers some options for outdoor leisure such as Sesc Itaquera and Parque do Carmo, used mostly by children skating, playing football or flying kites. Built according to so-called "Fifa Standard", the sumptuous new stadium stands out in stark contrast to its surroundings, figuring as a metaphor for social inequality in Brazil.