The long-term implications of mega-event projects for urban public spaces

Andrew Smith*, David McGillivray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


An emerging theme within the mega-events literature is the ways they affect the provision, regulation and design of urban public spaces. Parks, streets and squares host competition venues, and are also used for supplementary occasions and facilities associated with hosting megaevents. Using examples from the London 2012 Olympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, this paper examines the long term significance of mega-events for urban public spaces. The paper contends that these events can be used as ‘Trojan Horses’, allowing new systems to be introduced under the cover of an event. It also emphasizes how temporary mega-events transform public spaces into venues for subsequent commercial events. Finally, the paper acknowledges more positive legacies, showing how mega-events can change how public space is imagined by users and by those responsible for managing it. Both cases highlight how events influence the ways spaces are used, designed and managed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2123
Number of pages17
JournalSport in Society
Issue number10
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2022


  • Olympic Games
  • London
  • Glasgow
  • public realm
  • eventalisation
  • Commonwealth Games


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