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Olympic Legacies: International Conference

Impacts of Mega-Events on Cities

4-6 September 2013, University of East London

Olympic stadion under construction

About the Conference

This international conference is designed to bring together researchers, policy makers, representatives of national and international bodies and institutions and anyone interested in and engaged with urban development issues arising from hosting mega-events such as Olympic and Paralympic Games, Football World Cups, International Fairs and World Exhibitions.

More than 100 abstracts have been received from researchers from around the world . The programme promises an interesting mix of parallel paper sessions, round table discussions and keynote speeches. Confirmed speakers from five continents and from a range of backgrounds, including academia, policy, local government, NGOs and national and international institutions, will provide a variety of different perspectives on the impacts of mega-events on cities. Seventeen bursaries were awarded to postgraduate students.  The bursaries are designed to help postgraduate students to attend the conference and present their research at one of the themed sessions. 

Please register now  to guarantee your place at this major international conference. You should also book your place on the  field trip to the Olympic Park and for the conference reception which will be held there.

Early bird registration is now no longer available.

Bursary Scheme for Postgraduate Students

The conference organisers are very pleased to announce that seventeen bursaries were awarded to postgraduate students.  The bursaries are designed to help postgraduate students to attend the conference and present their research at one of the themed sessions.  The bursaries include the payment of the registration fee, plus a certain amount to offset a proportion of the participant's travel/subsistence costs.

The Call for Papers is now closed.

We received more than 100 abstracts from researchers from around the world. All abstracts will now be reviewed by the International Advisory Committee. Participants will be informed of the outcome of the review process at the beginning of May.

Key Conference Themes

The aim is to provide a space to share and exchange knowledge that is focused on, for instance, but not exclusively, the following key themes:

The Changing Urban Order and Mega-Events

Evaluating Legacy

Future Mega-Event Cities


The conference programme will consist of a mix of high profile keynote presentations, themed sessions and panel discussions. Highlights of the programme include:

Opening keynote presentation by Neale Coleman, Deputy Chair, London Legacy Development Corporation, previously advisor on London 2012 for London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Closing remarks by  Prof. Lamartine DaCosta, Professor of Olympic Studies, Universidade Gama Filho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rationale and Background

The speed and scale of urbanisation this century is unprecedented. Not only is the majority of the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities are also predicted to be the main engines driving future economic growth. This new urban order will generate new patterns of production and consumption, with cities competing and collaborating to secure economic advantage and regional/global recognition.

Given this context, cities are seeking to accelerate their development and their regional and global status by hosting mega-events – cultural, commercial and sporting events that have mass appeal to global audiences. The host cities use the event to associate the spectacle with the process of urban development or ‘city-building’. Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games is perhaps the greatest prize and the most researched in relation to evaluating impacts but many other events have emerged over recent years to rival and emulate the Olympic effect.

In the recent period, and in the wake of Barcelona’s (1992) success, the urban transformation achieved by hosting the Olympics, has become synonymous with the language of ‘legacy’.

However, harnessing the mega-event to achieve the wider objectives of the host city is a complex affair. This international conference is aimed at researchers, policy makers and postgraduate students engaged with urban development issues arising from hosting mega events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including, but not exclusively, Urban Studies, Olympic Studies, Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Tourism Studies, Event Management, Sport Science, History, Architecture or Geo-Science.

An International Advisory Committee (IAC) has been created to ensure participation from cities and researchers from across the globe; drawing upon multi- and cross-disciplinary insights into cities and the social changes that arise from the catalytic effects of the mega event.

Conference Dates

Wed. 4th September 2013
Thur. 5th September 2013
Fri. 6th September 2013


Docklands Campus

Olympic Legacies: International Conference will be held at the University of East London at the Docklands Campus. It is situated in a stunning waterfront setting within 25 minutes from London's West End and it has great transport links including the Docklands Light Railway and London City Airport.

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