The cities of today are anything but virtuous, and the majority of the population currently living in urban areas consumes the majority of our planet’s energy, producing the great part of greenhouse gases. These figures are sufficient to make us aware of how the quality of life of billions of people will depend upon the extent to which urban agglomerations will be capable of becoming virtuous. Transforming the cities of today into sustainable cities, therefore, has become an inevitable course of action. In this context, planning mega events can be the occasion for the transformation of large urban areas that, in the ordinary practice, they would hardly find occasion and means for their implementation. Mega events, from the Olympics to soccer World Cup, are often regarded as key drivers for the overall redevelopment of a city. Mega-events have driven the urban transformation of cities such as Barcelona, London, Rio, Beijing, and Shanghai, but while the prospect of economic growth is the driving force for hosting a major event, the legacies that follow their hosting, especially in terms of sustainability, are difficult to design and quantify. Focusing specifically on mega sports events, the paper intends to identify how they can be used as catalysts for promoting sustainability awareness, and sustainable urban regeneration and growth. This paper discusses the urban legacies from two main case studies (i.e.: 2006 South Africa World Cup and 2012 London Olympic Games), and analyses major processes involved in the design and development of a sport event. The conclusions question how an emerging global city as Doha, which will be the first Middle Eastern and Gulf city to host a soccer World Cup, will benefit by hosting this event, and indicate potential directions for further research, framed particularly around Gulf countries.
For the full article, go to The Built and Human Environment Review!