The architectural design and planning legacies of the European Summer Olympic Games 1948-2021

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Hosting an Olympic Games can considerably change a city and community, its image and its infrastructure. The Games have the power to deliver long-lasting benefits in cities, but in recent decades the exponential growth in size and popularity of the event has been accompanied by escalating costs and economic pressures. The ability of the venues and Olympic Village to meet the needs of the host city after the Games is central to their long-term function, but the specialist nature and size of venues creates a major challenge for post Olympic use. Whilst some buildings constructed for the Games have prospered and attracted frequent use by the local community for many years afterwards, others have quickly fallen into intermittent and sporadic use, become abandoned or fallen into a state of disrepair. With the growing desire to host a sustainable Games a clear need for more longitudinal research has been identified. To address that need, this thesis examines architectural legacy, and its urban contextual dimensions, in the post-War European Summer Olympic Games cities of London (1948), Helsinki (1952), Rome (1960), Munich (1972), Moscow (1980), Barcelona (1992), Athens (2004), and London (2012). With a focus on four building types (Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Velodrome, and Athlete Village) the thesis presents a 64 year journey, examining urban and architectural legacy across these editions of the Games. A comparative case study methodology is used to identify the aspects of urban and architectural design that contribute to positive legacy in host cities. The overview of the unfolding of legacy, and proto-legacy developments, across a range of Olympic cities is a new contribution to knowledge in the field of Olympic Studies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthumbria University
Commissioning bodyNorthumbria University
Number of pages662
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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