6 – The declining appeal of mega-events in American cities: From Los Angeles 1984 to Los Angeles 2028

The declining appeal of mega-events in American cities: From Los Angeles 1984 to Los Angeles 2028

Mega-events appear to be losing their appeal as tools for urban development. These urban spectacles have long been funded by local governments on the promise that events can act as a catalyst for economic growth. This ‘mega-event strategy’ is common in US cities, but constituents and leaders are questioning the approach. This has disrupted the relationship between municipalities and global sports institutions. These political shifts are analyzed with a comparative study of Olympic planning in American cities, from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics to present day preparations for a Los Angeles 2028 Olympics (during this period, Olympic planning also took place in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Salt Lake City). The paper examines the development, mobility, and contestation of an ‘LA model’ of mega-event planning, which emphasizes municipal fiscal conservativism, and which has provided a political rationale for city leaders wanting to invest in mega-events. The paper evaluates the shifting urban politics of mega-events, and new planning strategies accompanying this shift.

  • 11 May 2021 | 10.30 – 12.00 (New-York) | 16.30 – 18.00 (France) | 23.30 – 1.00 (Japan)
  • Online – In English
  • Speaker: Professor John Lauermann (City University of New York)
  • Discussant : Alexandre Faure (FFJ, EHESS)


John Lauermann

John Lauermann is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the City University of New York. He analyzes the planning and socio-spatial impacts of large scale real estate developments. His research on mega-events has examined the global mega-event planning industry, the urban politics of bidding, and anti-Olympic social movements. Recent work on these topics has appeared in Antipode, Journal of the American Planning Association, Urban Geography, and Urban Studies.

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