The triple legacy of Olympic cities : a morphological assessment of Olympic stadia

Brown, Laura and Vialard, Alice; (2022) The triple legacy of Olympic cities : a morphological assessment of Olympic stadia. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 1576-1587. ISBN 9781914241161

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The Summer Olympic Games have the ability to significantly change the urban fabric through modification of the existing or the redevelopment of sites, depending on the choice of site procurement (Gold & Gold, 2008). Over the course of the twentieth century, models and visions for Olympic urban development shifted as the possibility for events to create infrastructural change in host cities and regenerate urban areas was realised. Whilst this had potential benefits for host cities, it also brought challenges for reuse, raising concerns around the sustainability of mega events. To deliver a more sustainable Games (International Olympic Committee (IOC), 2018), the current trend is to reuse existing buildings constructed for previous Olympics or other mega events. To assess the impact of the Games on the urban fabric, this study performs a historic survey of Olympic sites in three cities that have thrice been awarded the Summer Olympic Games (Paris 1900, 1924, 2024, London 1908, 1948, 2012, and Los Angeles 1932, 1984, 2028) through different periods of Olympic urban development. To appraise morphological changes to the urban fabric surrounding stadia: changes in density and size of building footprints are analysed in the 3 periods: before, during and after the construction of venues. Through the comparison of Olympic stadia, this paper examines the impact of implementing large individual buildings on the urban fabric. The implications of this study can help in making more informed choices in site procurement (city centre, urban fringe, or brownfield), scale of urban interventions and the benefit of reusing or upgrading existing venues in large scale events for a more resilient city.

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