Mega sport events and spatial management: zoning space across Rio’s 2016 Olympic city

David McGillivray, Michael B. Duignan, Eduardo Mielke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Hosting the Olympic Games demands the efficient and effective sequestration of public space across the city to stage official sports, cultural, and commercial activities. Specifically, this paper examines how fast-tracked urban development processes create exclusive, commercial enclaves to maximise leverageable benefits for external actors. We focus on the case of Rio 2016, drawing on: i) observations across the city and event zones, including Live Site, Last Mile, and transit spaces, ii) interviews with key event, policy and visitor economy stakeholders, iii) documentary analysis of Rio’s plans and promises outlined in official bid documentation, and iv) supplementary sources documenting Olympic planning effects. Our findings illustrate how the legal power of the Host City Contract and highly-circumscribed Olympic regulations create the conditions for managing urban space that enables the circulation of visitor flows to - and the containment of consumption within - newly privatised, temporarily constructed urban zones that favour global interests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
Early online date21 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2019


  • Mega sport events
  • Spatial management
  • Visitor economy
  • Event zones
  • Visitor circulation and containment
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games


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