Urban development through hosting international events: a history of the Olympic Games
In recent years, there has been increased interest in the idea of promoting urban development and change through the hosting of major events. This approach offers host cities the possibility of 'fast track' urban regeneration, a stimulus to economic growth, improved transport and cultural facilities, and enhanced global recognition and prestige. Many authors attribute the increased importance of event-led development to wider transformations in the global economy, such as post-Fordism and globalization. However, event-led development has a long history and can be recognized, for example, in the World Fairs of the nineteenth century. The Olympic Games, the world's most prestigious sporting event, has been held for over one hundred years with significant consequences for the host cities. This paper reviews the effects of the Olympics on the urban environment of the various cities which have acted as hosts in the modern Olympic period (1896-1996). The material outlines the varied motivations for staging the Games and examines their outcomes in terms of urban development.