1. Hazardous planning: improvising the Olympics
Research fields: Urban studies; Sustainable urban development; Cities, Policies and Environment
Keywords: Sustainable urbanism, Project management, Mega-events, Uncertainty
Duration: April 2016 – present.
Researchers: Müller Martin
This project is about planning the unplannable: mega-projects that stretch over several years, sometimes decades, and run to several billions of euros. Among those, it focuses on the largest events in the world – the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. The project is situated between the disciplines of geography, sociology, organisation studies and sports and leisure studies, drawing on each to better understand how organisers try to rise to the challenge of preparing for mega-events with scrupulous advance planning. But the more people plan, the more effectively chance strikes: that is what I call the planning paradox. Staging a mega-event is thus much like what Alain Badiou, philosophically, describes as an event: ‘the hazardous passage from one state of affairs to another’ (Badiou 2009, 384). It is these hazardous passages, and the states of affairs they engender, that the book project traces – through interviews and documents – in the planning of the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. Each hazardous passage means passing through murky waters and dealing with unforeseen challenges. These challenges require a departure from plans and bring forth improvisation. The project develops this notion of improvisation and argues that it is crucial to staging mega-events under even the most adverse circumstances.
2. Thinking the Global East
Research fields: Urban studies
Keywords: Global North, Global South, Social theory, Postcolonialism, Postsocialism
Duration: August 2016 - present.
Researchers: Müller Martin (PI)
Carving up the world into Global North and Global South has become an established way of thinking about global difference. This binary, however, erases what this project calls the Global East – those countries and regions that are often labelled post-socialist and are neither clearly North nor South. This project seeks to think the Global East as that unbounded region which is suspended between globalising processes and the legacies of multiple transformations from imperialism to communism to neoliberalism and neopatrimonialism. It works through cases ranging from IKEA to Sci-Hub to recover the Global East for scholarship and probes the distinctiveness of its contribution for a global theorising of state, cities and society.
3. Mega-events as urban interventions: growth and impacts
Research fields: Urban studies, Sustainable urban development, City and economy, Cities, Policies and Environment, Politiques urbaines, Villes et globalisation, Gouvernance urbaine
Keywords: Sustainable urbanism, Project management, Mega-events, Impacts
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation
Duration: August 2017 – July 2019.
Researchers: Leick Annick (Investigator), Müller Martin (Principal Investigator), Wolfe Sven Daniel (PhD Student)
The costs and infrastructural requirements of mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup put them among the single most transformative ventures for cities today. At the same time, their complexity and tendency to exceed budgets make them highly risky undertakings. Despite this, little is known about the impacts of different mega-events across time and the driving factors behind these impacts. This project – Phase 2 of the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship – proposes to establish the size, costs and impacts of a longitudinal sample of 66 mega-events since 1960 and the driving factors behind these impacts. It will consider three types of mega-events: (1)the Olympic Summer and Winter Games as a uni-local sports event (2)the Football World Cup as a multi-local sports event (3)the World’s Fairs (Expos) as a uni-local non-sports event The project is split into two modules. Module 1 will build a database with indicators describing the size, costs and impacts and potential driving factors of the 66 mega-events. For building the database, the module will draw on existing documents from official reports and audits, press releases, media reports and academic studies. The data will be analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics to extract trends and patterns. Module 2 seeks to establish the driving factors behind impacts. For this it works with cross-case comparison and bivariate regression modelling, using different definitions of impacts as dependent variables and a suite of potential driving factors, relating to planning processes, interests, biases, governance and complexity. Module 2 seeks to establish what factors are associated with what kinds of impacts. The project will result in two major innovations. First, it will provide the first longitudinal record on the size, costs and impacts of the largest mega-events. Second, it will contribute to reorienting discussions on what drives impacts in mega-events through exploring a much wider range of antecedents of impacts than previous studies. As a practical implication, the project will provide transparent and comparable information on the impacts of mega-events that a range of stakeholders concerned with bidding for or hosting mega-events – policy-makers, governing bodies, the media, citizens – can draw on to make informed decisions about bidding and hosting.
4. Policy Multiplicities: The 2018 Football World Cup in Russia
Research fields: Urban studies
Keywords: Mobility, City, Urban renewal, Transport infrastructure, Urban Inequalities, Urban project, Actor network theory, Mega-events, Multiplicities
Duration: June 2016 - July 2019.
Researchers: Müller Martin (Thesis supervisor), Wolfe Sven Daniel (Doctoral candidate)
Mega-events like the World Cup have a documented history of profound effects on the cities that host them. Proponents of mega-events, whether the event owners, the hosting coalitions, associated business or government elites, the media, or in the academy, tend to emphasize that hosting benefits the city through urban re/development, economic growth, and image improvements. At the same time, other groups base their opposition on well-documented cases of white elephant infrastructure, a lack of public involvement, misuse of public funds, gentrification, and destruction of the natural environment. In contrast to these approaches, this project focuses on the multiple realities enacted simultaneously in mega-event host cities. It proposes that we should not look at mega-event hosting from an either-or viewpoint, and instead suggests that we replace this binary with multiplicities. This move brings to light heretofore under-examined aspects of the 2018 World Cup urban development process in Russia, focusing specifically on the preparations in the host cities of Volgograd and Ekaterinburg. In so doing, this project demonstrates the ambiguities inherent in hosting mega-events, expands policy mobilities beyond a linear conceptualization of mobilization/mutation, and grounds multiplicities thinking in the sociomaterial landscape of the city. This project is part of the Swiss National Science Foundation project "Mega-events as urban interventions", under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Müller.
See here for more information: http://igd.unil.ch/projrech/index.php?idPage=69&page=viewDetails&lang=en&id_projet=255.
Created / Updated: 18 March 2018 / 5 May 2018