Sport in the City: The Role of Sport in Economic and Social Regeneration

Sport in the City: The Role of Sport in Economic and Social Regeneration

Sport in the City: The Role of Sport in Economic and Social Regeneration

Sport in the City: The Role of Sport in Economic and Social Regeneration


Sport has become a major industry as well as a major cultural preoccupation in the contemporary world. Cities are increasingly using major sporting events and activities to re-image themselves, promote urban development and fund economic growth and regeneration. Including case-studies from the Sydney Olympics to urban school sports, Sport in the City looks closely at how sport has been used in contemporary cities across the world, and evaluates policies, strategies and managment. Five key areas are examined: * sport and urban economic regeneration * sports events: bidding * planning and organization * Urban Sports tourism * Sport and urban community development * Urban politics and sports policy. Sport in the City therefore represents an essential resource for urban policy makers and the sports policy community. It will be invaluable reading for sports studies students and urban geographers.


Research issues

Ian Henry and Chris Gratton

Although until relatively recently sport might have been described as a neglected topic in social analysis, the significance of sport in contemporary societies seems undeniable. In economic terms sport is estimated to represent 3 per cent of GDP in the OECD countries. In cultural terms more than two-thirds of the world's population saw some part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games via television (LIRC, 1998). In political terms sport has been employed as a policy tool by nation states, as for example in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and in the Olympic Games' boycotts of the 1980s, or more recently in promoting the new or reviving nationalism of the post-communist Central and Eastern European states.

However at the same time that sport has come to be recognised as being of considerable significance for the nation state as a social, economic and cultural concern, ironically, the role and significance of the nation state as the primary policy influence has been subject to pressures (della Sala, 1997). Developments in economic policy such as the advent of the Euro, and associated harmonised economic planning, have de facto reduced national powers, while globalising trends have also impacted considerably on social policy (Wilding, 1997) and cultural life (Featherstone, 1995; Negus, 1993).

Globalisation is of course not a unidirectional phenomenon, nor are its effects uncontested at the local level (Hirst and Thompson, 1995; Keil, 1998). Nevertheless recognition of its significance does imply the need to move beyond state-centric approaches to analysis, and to incorporate a recognition of both transnational and sub-national elements of governance. The city in particular is considered to play a key role in the evolving system of governance (Andrew and Goldsmith, 1998; Wilheim, 1996). As cities compete with one another for inward investment and struggle to deal with problems of social and economic disruption, increasingly cultural policy, including policy for sport, is developed to address the twin aims of economic development and social inclusion (Mayer, 1994).

A concern related to the diminution of the role of the nation state is that of the 'hollowing out of the state' (Patterson and Pinch, 1995; Rhodes, 1994). This phenomenon relates both to the movement of policy concerns upwards to the transnational level and downwards to the sub-national level, as well as to the growing trend in privatisation and contract culture, and the involvement of the commercial and voluntary sectors that is evident in policy areas previously . . .

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