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

Laura Brown, Alice Vialard

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Conference Proceedings of the XXVII International Seminar on Urban Form
EditorsAlessandra Feliciotti, Martin Fleischmann
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781914241161
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022
EventXXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form: Urban Form and the Sustainable and Prosperous City - Strathclyde University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 20213 Jul 2021
Conference number: XXVIII

Publication series

NameISUF Annual Conference Proceedings
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde


ConferenceXXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form
Abbreviated titleISUF
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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