Mega-events in Heritage-rich Cities Workshop

Mega-events have been changing their relationship with the city, now more commonly using existing infrastructures and facilities. In Europe, this may put historic city centers and their heritage at risk. By the same token, the presence of mega-events can become an opportunity for valorizing heritage and for city development, as has been seen in the five cases studied in the HOMEE Research Project. The event brings together international experts and policy makers together to explore these controversial issues through cultural mega-events. In particular, issues of governance, planning, urban effects and long-term legacy will be addressed. This event will be a launchpad for the works on a charter regarding mega-events in heritage-rich cities.

April 3, 2020

Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Europe, the event planned to be held in Pafos is postponed; there will be an online workshop, by invitation only.


Keynote speech: 

“Mega-events in Heritage-rich Cities: A Challenge for Europe”
by Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra

Click here to watch the speech 

Seminar Series – Mega-events and the City

Mega-events have long been synonymous with the creation of mass investments in iconic venues, new infrastructures and large development schemes. Yet many cities have come to question this model, either by rejecting mega-events altogether or instead seeking smaller, less expensive and more sustainable models. The last several bidding cycles for the Olympic Games in particular have seen many candidate cities abruptly cancel their bids, leading to the unprecedented move of both the 2024 and 2028 Games being awarded simultaneously. In particular, the plans for the upcoming Paris 2024 and Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Games clearly demonstrates a change in thinking and approach to hosting mega-events as both events will largely utilize existing venues while also involving heritage sites in varying ways. At the same time, cultural mega-events, like the European Capital of Culture program, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Though comparatively smaller in size and budget, such events also have come to have an important impact on the infrastructure, urban fabric and promoted image and development of these cities.

In this context, the ”Mega-events and the City” series draws on multiple kinds of mega-events, their similarities and differences to pinpoint which lessons and learning can be translated among different experiences and how the plans for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics as well as others may benefit from the past cases. The seminars will be clustered to investigate 3 specific perspectives:
– Urban governance and legacy
– Cultural heritage and landscape
– Urban regions and networks


Click here to watch: Mega-events and the City: An introduction

with Davide Ponzini, Zachary Jones,Nicole De Togni and Stefano Di Vita (Politecnico di Milano)




April 21, 2020

Mega-events and cultural policy: Urban effects, legacies and governance [Click here to watch]

with Franco Bianchini (University of Hull)


April 28, 2020

Effects of Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture: A long-term perspective [Click here to watch]

with Sampo Ruoppila (University of Turku)


May 5, 2020

Liverpool 2008-2018: The impacts of the European Capital of Culture  [Click here to watch]

with Beatriz García (University of Liverpool).


May 12, 2020

The (un)sustainability of the Summer Olympic Games  [Click here to watch]

with Eva Kassens-Noor (Michigan State University)


May 19, 2020

Dubai’s urban and regional development and the 2020 Expo project [Click here to watch]

with Khaled Alawadi (Khalifa University)


May 26, 2020

How (un)sustainable are the Winter Olympic Games? From Salt Lake 2002 to Sochi 2014 and beyond [Click here to watch]

with Martin Müller (University of Lausanne).



The video of each seminar will be posted online the day prior on this webpage, with a live online discussion taking place at 17.00
Please request access to the online discussion by sending an email to:;

Click here to download the seminar series poster


With support from DAStU, JPICH HOMEE Project, Urban Center Milano, Triennale Milano

Mega-events and heritage: The experience of five European cities

n the past, many cities used mega-events as a strategy to boost development. The creation of new facilities and infrastructures for mega-events typically targeted areas of expansion outside of historic city fabric. Today, on the contrary, mega-event organizers are increasingly opting more for the re-use of existing facilities and areas. This paradigm shift represents both a potential opportunity and threat for heritage-rich cities in Europe. This book explores the relationships between the planning and implementation of mega-events and cultural heritage through the in-depth study of five cases: Genoa 2004 European Capital of Culture, Milan Expo 2015, Wrocław 2016 European Capital of Culture, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture. The book draws on these case studies in order to spark further research and policy debate regarding the emerging opportunities and threats for context-specific policies and projects, for long-term urban development, for cooperation among actors and capacity building at different levels, for the multiple social and cultural identities that help heritage and cities to flourish

This publication includes the National Case Studies Reports and it corresponds to one key output of WP1 (activity A1.4 in particular) in the JPICH financed project “HOMEE – Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe”.

Ponzini D., Bianchini F., Georgi-Tzortzi J.N., Sanetra-Szeliga J. (Eds. 2020). Mega-events and Heritage: The Experience of Five European Cities. Krakow: International Cultural Centre. 

Edited by Davide Ponzini, Franco Bianchini, Julia Georgi-Nerantzia Tzortzi and Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga

Available here

HOMEE sessions at the 5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe

The HOMEE research project (Politecnico di Milano is the leading partner) was featured in a dedicated session of the 5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe on September 19, 2019 in Krakow. After the introductory lecture by Prof. Franco Bianchini (University of Hull), the intermediate results of the projects were presented: the Literature Review Regarding Mega-events/Cultural Heritage as well as the Report Briefs of the National Case Studies.


A roundtable with Polish policymakers and scholars discussed the issues of mega-events and their consequences for cities rich in cultural heritage resources.


On June 24-26, 2019 the workshops part of the Living Lab took place in Matera. The four teams of the HOMEE project in collaboration with the Associate Partners University of Balisicata at Matera and the Institute for Heritage Conservation and Restoraion (MiBACT) interacted with local stake holders and decision makers of the Matera Basilicata 2019 European Capital of Culture Program.


The program of the workshops can be dowloaded here.