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