Urban transformation from hosting the Olympic Games, Stephen Essex & Brian Chalkley
The infrastructural requirements of staging an Olympic Games are substantial. The event demands investment in world class sporting venues as well as in urban transport, telecommunications, accommodation and environmental improvements. The Olympic Games are much more than a sporting event: they have evolved into a tool of urban renewal and a catalyst of urban transformation. The aim of this paper is to review the role of the Olympic Games in changing and modernising the built environment of its host cities and to assess its role as a tool of urban regeneration. The paper is divided into three sections. The first outlines the procedures for the selection of Olympic host cities as essential background to the discussion. The second evaluates the way in which past Olympic hosts have used the Games to stimulate infrastructural investment, and considers also the legacy likely to be created by each type of infrastructure. The third section highlights some of the potential dangers that have been experienced by past hosts. The conclusion focuses on the lessons learned and the main policy implications for infrastructural investment related to the Olympic Games.
Stephen Essex is Principal Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Plymouth (UK). His teaching and research focuses on rural planning and tourism and the infrastructural implications of the Olympic Games. Brian Chalkley Brian Chalkley is Professor of Geography at the University of Plymouth. His teaching and research focuses on geographical education, urban planning and the infrastructural implications of the Olympic Games.