Mega-event cities: the urban impacts of large events

Prof. Dr. Martin Müller

Department of Geography University of Zurich


Mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup have become global urban phenomena. At a cost of often more than USD 10 billion, they are the single most transformative urban project in many host cities for decades. This paper compares the impacts on urban politics and the built environment of six of the most recent mega-events: the Olympic Games in Vancouver, London, Sochi and Rio and the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil. It finds that impacts are far from uniform and that national and local context play a key role in shaping impacts. Less corrupt, more market-led economies tend to experience fewer negative impacts and are better able to use the event to accelerate urban development than more corrupt, more state-led economies. The results caution against generalizing from one mega-event to others, both in research and in the management of these events. There is no one mega-event city, but rather multiple mega-event cities.


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Discussant: Ramon Ribera Fumaz

Internet interdisciplinary institute, head of the Research Program in Urban Transformation in the knowledge Society


3 May 2016.  15 h.-16 h. Room 106. Facultat d’Economia i Empresa. UB

Avinguda Diagonal, 690