2015 Volume 3 Issue 1 Pages 74-87
Mega-event strategies and their impact on the development of host cities have drawn increasing interest as they have become part of wider city development strategies. However, many city leaders are challenged by a gigantic and complex task after the events: how to deal with the post-use of large event venues and facilities, and how to use the events as a catalyst to facilitate urban development. Mega-event strategies may provide a stimulus for wider urban investments and change. They help to provide host cities an engine for economic growth, facilitating city revitalisation and even urban physical restructuring, enhancing city image, and transforming a city into a globally competitive city. Where every host city expects to experience some form of short and long term impacts, the so-called ‘legacy’, it is, however, difficult for most host city organisers to think beyond the Games in any systematic fashion due to the pressing nature and planning complexities involved. Therefore, although the post-Games period is by far the longest period that stretches for decades after the Games to affect a host city, it is “clearly the least-planned for period”. Due to time pressure, poor consideration of the long-term impact may make Olympic venues ‘white elephants’ after the Games have taken place, isolated in their city landscapes. These possible negative impacts raise the following questions: 1) What strategies can help a host city improve post-event usage of event-related facilities? 2) What strategies should a host city follow to facilitate post-event development in a more sustainable way? Based on the examination of legacy creation strategies of a number of Olympic host cities, with Beijing and London in particular, the research aims to identify what urban strategies lead to the improvement of the post-event usage of event-related facilities and long-term benefits for the city development of host cities.