The Role of Heritagisation In Managing Uncertainties Linked to Major Events and Mega Urban Projects : Comparing the Olympic Games in London (2012) And Athens (2004)

Geneviève Zembri a contribué à l’ouvrage :

Hosting the Olympic Games. Uncertainty, Debates and Controversy
Edited by Marie Delaplace and Pierre-Olaf Schut
Routledge, September 2019, 248 p.

Elle y a écrit un chapitre avec Cécile Doustaly :

The Role of Heritagisation In Managing Uncertainties Linked to Major Events and Mega Urban Projects: Comparing the Olympic Games in London (2012) And Athens (2004)

This chapter introduces the Heritrisk research programme in comparative urban studies analysing the role of heritagization in the reduction of risks and detection of opportunities typical of mega urban projects. The methodology relies on the theoretical analysis of categories of uncertainty and heritagization, reinforced by both author’s fieldwork, interviews and literature reviews. The contribution tests the theoretical and methodological framework by focusing on the opposite examples of London (2012) and Athens (2004) Olympic Games to fill research gaps on post-Olympic logics. Indeed, a future Olympic site is often a wasteland, on hold, with an uncertain future. From the conception of the project to its legacy, actors are exposed to (unmeasurable) social, political, financial, archaeological, regulatory etc. uncertainties which can become (measurable) risks or opportunities. The construction costs and the upkeep of Olympic infrastructure amount to long-term risks. Spontaneous or planned forms of heritagization concern all scales, time frames and human dynamics. In what way can heritagization, when it implies preservation and enhancement of urban, archaeological, historical and environmental assets, answer these issues in anchoring the Olympics successfully in their territories? The first part contextualizes how Athens’ and London’s Olympic projects were fitted into wider urban strategies, and analyses which governance models were chosen. The second part identifies and crosses types of risks and forms of heritagization to set out the theoretical and methodological framework. The third part cross-analyses the risks, uncertainties and opportunities faced by the two projects. The fourth part demonstrates how heritagization can be a response to these uncertainties and risks while the conclusion highlights its strengths and limitations, particularly in terms of governance. We conclude that heritagization can be an efficient way to limit risks and seize opportunities in Olympic urban projects, but can be contested and can clash with conflicting temporalities and logics, notably financial ones.


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