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Mega Events

Back to the future? Urban transformation and public protest in Rio de Janeiro

by Matthew Richmond

Protests against World Cup in Rio: Protesters display a banner of Mayor Eduardo Paes and State Governor Sergio Cabral holding Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ statue hostage. The banner below reads “Who gives the order? Who gets the progress?”Protesters display a banner of Mayor Eduardo Paes and State Governor Sergio Cabral holding Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ statue hostage. The banner below reads “Who gives the order? Who gets the progress?”


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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.


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FIFA's Rotten Reform Record

Alexandra Wrage is the president of TRACE, "an organization that provides sane, cost-effective compliance solutions to the problem of international commercial bribery". She served, for a time, on the Independent Governance Committee of FIFA, football’s governing body. She recently resigned due to a perceived lack of progress from the organisation in improving internal transparency.


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The joys of boosterism

A fascinating little boosterist gem from the Standard. First, it reports that Carat, 'one of Britain’s biggest media-buying agencies', says there was no boost in 2012 to advertising from the London Olympics. Well, that's in line with most other results and easy enough to understand. But then, second, we are told Carat expects higher growth in 2013, even though there are no mega events. Third, 2014 should be 'even stronger thanks to the football World Cup'. 'Even stronger'? Why 'even' stronger? 2012 showed no boost so what 'even stronger' growth can 2014 produce? And as the Olympics did not boost advertising in 2012 why should advertising grow in 2014 'thanks' to the World Cup? Fourth, the article rounds off saying Carat thinks 'Brazil and Russia should see double-digit increases as they host the World Cup and Winter Olympics.' London showed no boost in growth despite hosting the Olympics yet Brazil and Russia are expected to show double-digit growth because they are hosting these mega events?


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Vienna waltzes away from the Olympics

After the Swiss it's the turn of the Viennese to refuse to bid for the Olympics. 72% voted against bidding for the Summer Games in 2028. Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl said: "apparently most people are not convinced that the city would benefit in the long term from investing in the games."


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The not so inspiring Olympics

Far from inspiring a generation to take up sport it seems the Olympics has actually been accompanied by a decline in the level of participation among the target group of young people. Sport England's latest survey shows a decline among 16 to 25 year olds from 55.7% to 54% since the Olympic bid was won in 2005. Adults and women have shown an increase, with a leap in July and August, although the rise among women follows a fall in last year's survey. The main increases have been among the better off who already enjoy far higher levels of activity while the much lower levels of participation among poorer groups have barely changed. The original target set by the previous government was to get one million more people to participate in sport three times a week in the five years to 2013. They are still 500,000 from that goal.


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Hosting a mega event parasite

Christopher Gaffney has written a great little piece 'Host and Parasite' on hosting FIFA's World Cup:

I would like to have a party at your house. This is a great opportunity for you. I won’t pay you anything, but really, your house is inadequate, unseemly even, so please reform it and beautify the streets. When I get there, no one else can come within two kilometers, a condition you will guarantee by force of arms. You are responsible for the music, drink, getting me and my friends there, telling others about it, and providing everything that I can think of, whether or not I have told you about it....


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Carpenters: UCL Students vow to continue struggle despite 'intimidation'

Students have vowed to continue their struggle against UCL's proposals for a Stratford campus after being forced to end their occupation in solidarity with residents of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. They were served with an injuction after beginning the sit-in on Wednesday 28th after an inconclusive UCL General Council meeting, which failed to agree the University's plan to develop the housing estate at Carpenters Road, Stratford, as a new campus. Students and academic staff have been expressing concern at the plans and offering support to residents over the past months but UCL has pressed ahead regardless in its collaboration with Newham Council prompting the sit-in.


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