The organisation and hosting of major events, whether cultural, political, sports, economic or social, forms part of a broader strategy adopted by cities to compete in the global arena and to attract capital and investments and to boost tourism and at the same time to address their economic and social problems. This paper reviews the sociological, economic and planning literature in order to discuss to what extent these complex events represent an opportunity to stimulate the economies of cities and to transform their socio-economic and geographical structure. It does this by analysing the most critical aspects of the changes and redevelopment carried out in Rio de Janeiro to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. The analysis focuses on the negative social and economic effects which these events are already having on the city.
Keywords: Great events; urban transformations; social impacts