MEGA-Event Stadiums as vehicles for urban transformation : an argument for integration
Author(s)Mendez, Soledad (Candace Soledad)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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All cultures across the world engage in significant public events whether religious, traditional or competitive. Many of these celebrations, small or large, are central to their communities and cultures, bringing people together on common grounds. Events of this nature have had a long history of contributions to the built environment; often they are a means to exhibit the newest building technologies and national pride and serve as catalysts for urban regeneration. Mega sporting events such as the Olympic games and the World Cup soccer tournaments are classic examples of hallmark events. They have the ability to attract worldwide attention as people from across the globe join together in the host city to cheer for their favorite competitors. These events can correct misconceptions, blur cultural boundaries and even transcend wars, as in the civil war truce in the Ivory Coast during the 2006 World Cup. The cultural and social impacts that reverberate in host cities can be felt across the world. Mega-events leave a footprint on these cities, physically, economically and socially. It has been argued that these enormous endeavors are worth their equally enormous costs as they often aim to be important catalysts for urban transformation. The international spotlight on the host cities is sufficient reason to draw a large pool of bidders hoping to host these prestigious events. The pride in hosting the event and the opportunity to enhance a nation's image on a worldwide stage can spur investment and growth for the country and city in which the games are located. In addition, the events are a means to focus national and local attention on general improvements, infrastructure projects and the city's expansion. The stadium has the power of becoming the iconic and identifying image of a place; it is more than just a place where sports are held, it is the heart of the people and center of the city. How the structures built for this one-time purpose will be integrated into the future of these cities is a perennial question. These Mega-Events will continue to be planned and executed, if anything, with more grandeur and lavish spending; it is crucial, therefore, that host-cities achieve progress through these urban transformations on the greater goal of serving the long-term needs of their permanent inhabitants. Site selection is the first, and perhaps most important, step in the process of bidding for and executing these mega events. The site location can have great implications on both the event itself as well as the host city. Amongst other things site selection will produce a ripple effect onto other mega planning efforts such as infrastructure, transportation and long-term urban design goals. In this thesis, I examine World Cup stadia as an example of mega-event structures, their design principles, development, and long-term use. I posit that careful site selection and innovative design and programming can allow these facilities to thrive as economic and social assets for their host cities both during and well after the event. Furthermore, I argue that the archetypal stadium form needs to be reconsidered in the light of long term impacts and benefits to cities. I suggest that much can be learned from the piazza - another classic urban public form - about how to design a stadium that can function as a connective element in a network of public urban spaces. Through a thorough analysis of the piazza form, I draw inherent characteristics of the piazza and attempt to overlap these on the stadium form. I argue that this flexibility will maximize post-event use of the stadium and enable it to be integrated into the urban fabric and the larger future visions for a city. Planning and design efforts can expand the life and viability of the stadiums both during the event and long after, by supporting the every-day life of their communities.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2010.Vita. Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 205-212).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.