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Mega-Events and Social ChangeSpectacle, Legacy and Public Culture$
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Maurice Roche

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526117083

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526117083.001.0001

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Embedding mega-events: staging spectacles in changing cities

Embedding mega-events: staging spectacles in changing cities

(p.115) 4 Embedding mega-events: staging spectacles in changing cities
Mega-Events and Social Change

Maurice Roche

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that the ‘spectacle’ of mega-events needs to be understood particularly at the level of host cities, and at that level in both in positive and negative terms and also in short and long-terms time-frames. Negatively events can, in the short-term, create spectacles and controversies in the form of the security they need, and in the long-term can create debts and ‘white elephant’ waste. They can also be understood in more positive terms as short-term performative ‘spectacles’ which are ‘embedded’ in the long-term physical legacies they leave in their host cities. It suggests that there are two main types of mega-event urban legacy. The main type is that of ‘place-making’ buildings and facilities, exemplified by iconic ‘starchitect’ architecture or functional architecture or both. The more secondary type is that of the ‘space-making’ creation or renewal of major green parks and open public areas. The chapter shows that while both Olympic and Expos mega-events have left ‘starchitecture’ legacies, Olympics have traditionally tended to leave more of the ‘functional complex’ type of urban places, and Expos have tended to leave more of the ‘open public space’ and ‘recreational green park’ type urban spaces.

Keywords:   mega-events, ‘spectacle’, ‘embedded’, host cities, legacies, place-making, space-making, ‘starchitect’ architecture, green park

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