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Infrastructure debate ahead of vote on Olympic hosts

Tour Eiffel  F Grunberg 3x2

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is today expected to vote for Paris to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

The move will see major infrastructure investment in the cities. According to a report in Bloomberg, £2.4bn will be invested in new sites in Paris.

Bouygues Construction is an official partner of the city’s bid and the firm has been working with the bid team to provide construction solutions. The bid team is aiming for Paris 2024 to be the most sustainable and environmentally managed Games in history.

Meanwhile, a report published by Arup today said cities should use the Olympic Games as a “catalyst” to tackle long-term problems and develop an infrastructure legacy that benefits citizens.

The recommendations came amid concerns that cities are becoming less willing to host big events after Boston, Hamburg, Rome and Budapest pulled out of the running.

Cities Alive: Rethinking Legacy for Host Cities said that to rebuild popular support in major events post-2020 host cities must reinvent ‘legacy’.

Arup global planning and cities leader Jerome Frost said:  “Using technology to personalise and increase access to events; developing smaller, temporary venues and placing value-based, socio-economic and city resilience outcomes at the centre of event planning are crucial.

“Cities need to look at these measures to reduce cost; maximise the transformational impact of hosting the Games and gain the support of the public. 

“Legacy has been viewed too narrowly, with the emphasis on the physical structures left behind. We need to think about how we build institutional muscle power – able to deliver benefits before, during and after the event.

“All too often Games planners focus on event only infrastructure, exclusive ticketed participation and short-term delivery capacity, with cities reverting to their normal operations and frustrations immediately post-Games.

“Cities need to see the Games as a ‘partner’ in helping them deliver solutions to meet the growing longer-term challenges they are facing. They should be a focal point for citizen engagement and galvanising investment momentum.”

The report said the Los Angeles and Paris bids were a “new era of hosting major events” and use existing or temporary venues to maximise efficiency and minimise costs but also warned that this creates the risk of “no tangible legacy at all”.

It said the games could be used to tackle major challenges, such as air pollution, energy shortages and housing, rather than just focusing on event-related outcomes.

The report recommended the use of virtual reality and live sites which allow more people to get involved with the games.

It also said that “affordable off-the-shelf or pre-engineered venues become a realistic proposition”, which can make savings and also reduce capacities which could lead to fuller venues and a better atmosphere.

The report continued “the greatest single risk to the successful legacy of a major event is the potential disruption it can bring to the daily life of the host city” and said this can be avoided by creating logistics hubs outside of city centres.



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