Major sporting events and geographies of disability

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Major sporting events for athletes with disabilities have become part of a strategic agenda to create positive social legacies for those typically marginalized in their communities. These events are subject to strict guidelines set forth by the International Paralympic Committee to deliver broad based accessibility. In some cases, changes to accessibility are temporary, where in others upgrades remain as permanent fixtures for venues, transportation, and public spaces. However, the temporality at the heart of major event projects can also work against long-term, sustainable improvements to the material conditions persons with disabilities face as they experience the urban realm. In this paper, we draw upon case studies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games to explore the value of major sporting events in delivering urban accessibility improvements and offer a critical commentary on the limitations of the event project to herald sustainable change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number3
Early online date16 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 May 2017


  • Critical Disability Theory
  • parasport
  • major sporting events
  • geographies of exclusion
  • urban accessibility


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