Think Tank 1: Abstracts

Using mega-event sustainability indicators to inform legacy practice: Lessons from South Africa

Scarlett Cornelissen, University of Stellenbosch & Kamilla Swart, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town

International scholarship on the utility of mega-event sustainability indicators generally assume there to be a universal set of conditions under which the impacts of sport mega-events have to be assessed. The aim of such scholarship is usually to develop a broad analytical template by which to measure the economic, infrastructural and environmental impacts of a sport mega-event on a host, and to provide insights – or a knowledge base – for future hosts. In the main, the emphasis in sustainability analysis is on generalisability, and rarely does scholarship reflect enough on the internal conditions that differentiate hosts from each other or consider the importance of context in the development of indicators. Nor is there much attempt to match up indicator assessment with the parallel discourse on sport mega-event legacies. South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has raised critical debates that relate not only to the ability of developing countries to successfully host mega-events, but also to the methods and indicators that are appropriate for evaluating ex post impacts in those settings. In this paper we take stock of the processes and practices around indicator assessments and legacy advancement for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and consider the lessons that this case yields for broader scholarship on mega-event sustainability. In the first part the key elements of sustainability indicators in the context of events such as the Olympics and the World Cup are contextualised. The second part provides a framework for understanding and assessing mega-event impacts in the developing world. The third part focuses on practices for developing impact assessment indicators in South Africa’s 2010 World Cup by reporting on the case of the South African Cities Network agency, which attempted to construct an indicator framework for the nine World Cup host cities. A concluding section raises issues for further discussion.

Institutional challenges to Olympic Games sustainability

Eleni Theodoraki, Edinburgh Napier University

To understand the process of impact creation whilst hosting a mega sporting event of the scope and complexity of the modern Olympic Games it is important to consider the broader institutional context within which the various stakeholders interact. Informed by the call for phronesis (acting morally and with a long term perspective) in planning research this paper discusses the challenges for Olympic Games hosting in a sustainable manner that stem from contractual obligations, the structure and modus operanti of the organisations involved as well as games’ inflation from gigantism, nationalism and commercialism in the global context of the Games’ operations. By considering the ways in which such challenges affect the IOC, the local organising committee, the infrastructure delivery organisations and significant others such as sponsors and the media, the paper concludes with an overview of how they mitigate against comprehensive impact assessment efforts or calls for planning for legacy requirements (instead of just games’ requirements).

Issues and alternatives in indicator-based impact assessment

Holger Preuß, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

The presentation starts with the controversial discussion of “boosters” and “event opponents” which both (ab-)use economic impact analyses to argue that the staging of a mega sport event is positive/negative for a city. In the first part the variety of stakeholder interests on mega sport events will be discussed. It becomes clear that efficiency and opportunity costs depend very much on the stakeholders’ perspective. Furthermore it will be shown that impact analyses have only a narrow focus compared to Cost-Benefit Analyses which are more complete measurements of welfare changes due to the consideration of opportunity costs and intangibles. The central part is about the general ideas and theories used in impact analyses. It will be stressed that a mega event causes not only consumptive demand but also a change of “location factors” which changes the supply side considerations of a city. The presentation will conclude by outlining the most often made mistakes in impact analyses but also show the limitations each impact calculation has.

Olympic transport contributions to sustainability

Philippe Bovy, AISTS, Lausanne

In October 2009, the Olympic Congress of Copenhagen approved new recommendations and guidelines for the future of the Olympic Movement. Focused on sustainability, recommendation 19 has these words: “The Olympic Movement fully embraces the importance of embedding the key values of environmental protection, development and sustainability within the Olympic ideals. As part of this commitment…. the IOC should accelerate the integration of sustainability principles in the hosting of the Olympic Games to safeguard their status as a premier event” In fact the sustainability paradigm has been “maturing” for quite some times during Olympic Games recent history. The 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games were the first to widely embrace environmental objectives in Games promotion, planning, construction and operations (Chappelet 2008 paper on Olympic environmental concerns as a legacy of the Winter Games). Sydney 2000 Summer Games marked the turn of Olympic transport planning and policies towards overwhelming priorities to public transport and no automobile access to Olympic venues. In an automobile dominated society, it meant a considerable temporary change of travel behavior well accepted by spectators and visitors of these very convivial and successful Games. Tremendous non-sustainable traffic congestion and air pollution growth led Beijing 2008 Summer Games organizers to enact the strongest automobile traffic reduction policies ever – cut of about 35-50% of all traffic inside Beijing 200km 5th Ring during 60 days. Some of these 2008 traffic reduction measures are still in force in 2010 on a temporary-experimental basis. London 2012 Summer Games is integrating substantial sustainability measures in Games preparation, particularly for construction of the new Olympic Park and for improved transport services to serve East London where the main Olympic hub will be. 2016 Summer Games bids incorporated questions on environment, sustainability and legacy issues. All four candidate Cities: Chicago, Tokyo, Rio and Madrid had their own programs and answers. Rio 2016 transport concept with an ambitious multi billion USD boost of high performance public transport interconnecting all four poor and rich Olympic City quadrants will be an outstanding long lasting legacy triggered by the Games. In terms of impact analysis, the main handicap is the very short duration of these unique mega-events in Cities life, but their potential long term effects. Although transport impacts might be easier to measure and quantify immediately than others, their sustainability at medium and long term remains open to question. Indeed it is only after 10-15 years, that Barcelona 1992 Games real impacts on City development and international attractiveness could be tentatively assessed.

Sports mega-events indicator based assessment: examples and perspective

Jean-Loup Chappelet, IDHEAP, Lausanne

This presentation gives a short overview of sports mega-events impact assessment from the economic impact studies of the 1980s to wider impact assessments based on the concept of sustainable development starting in the 1990s. It presents three current frameworks using a set of indicators and outlines future perspectives for mega-events impact evaluation based on the Global Reporting Iniative framework.

Olympic Games Impact (OGI) study: Results and lessons from the Pre-Games Report

Rob VanWynsberghe, UBC, Vancouver

The Olympic Games have potential wide-ranging effects on sustainability in the region where they take place, including effects on public policies. The Olympic Games Impact (OGI) Study is a project mandated by the International Olympic Committee to monitor, measure and report on the overall social, economic, and environmental impacts of the Games on a host city, region, and country in a series of reports that capture and assess changes over a period of twelve years. The University of British Columbia was selected as the independent research institution to conduct the OGI Study for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. This marked the first time a university was tasked with following the full OGI protocol. This presentation introduces OGI as it was theoretically conceptualized by the IOC, and describes the steps taken by the UBC-OGI team to implement the study in practice as a research undertaking grounded in sound methodology and best practices. We describe our general methodology for identifying and measuring changes in the host city, region and country over time and for attributing these changes to the Olympic Games, while highlighting some difficulties we encountered in this process. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of the importance of OGI for achieving the host’s sustainability goals, allowing comparisons across different Games and supporting future Olympic bids.

Think Tank Abstracts

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