Great Events - Great Changes. The New Image of the City due to the Olympic Games
Institute of Sociology, Faculty of Social Science, University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland
The Olympic Games are one of the largest cyclical sporting events in the world. It is no wonder then that the organization of such a large project has such a significant impact on the place where it is carried out. However, the Olympic Games are not only a sporting event, but also a cultural, economic and technological event that is a challenge for the organizers and the local community. Everything must be organized at the highest level. New objects are created, some are modernized, others are demolished, and others change their function. The city is gaining a new road network, subway or bus lines. New accommodation places, numerous gastronomic establishments and places of play and rest are being created. To learn about specific changes in urban space, the author conducted field studies in Athens in 2013 and 2015 and Barcelona in 2019, as well as did Desk Research, so he could find out what the city looked like before the organization of the Games, what changed for the needs of the Games and how sports facilities are used today. These studies have clearly shown that cities are changing significantly, by creating new objects and places and by changing their urban spaces. Cities are gaining new public spaces, an urban transport network and degraded areas are revitalized and made available to residents and tourists. However, the future of the organizing cities looks different after the end of the Olympic Games. In the case of Barcelona the Games have become the driving force behind the promotion and development of city tourism. On the other hand, in the case of Athens, success is half-hearted. Some of the sports facilities are deteriorating and demolished, but changes in public transport or the new road network have been beneficial for Athens. In this presentation, the author will not only show the effect of research conducted in Athens and Barcelona, but also bring closer other examples of cities that have organized in the past, both summer and winter Olympic Games.