Spaces of mega sporting events versus public spaces: Qatar 2022 World Cup and the City of Doha

Azzali, Simona (2019) Spaces of mega sporting events versus public spaces: Qatar 2022 World Cup and the City of Doha. Journal of Public Space, 4 (2). pp. 57-80.

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In the last decades, many emerging countries have been staging mega sporting events more and more frequently. Among those nations, Qatar stands out for being the first Arab country to host a FIFA World Cup. With the rationale of diversifying its economy and promoting itself as a tourist destination, Doha, its capital city, has recently staged many international events and is literally under construction, undergoing important changes in terms of transportation, infrastructure, and sports facilities. While hosting cities and organising committees often promote the supposed benefits of a mega event, experience shows an opposite trend: outcomes from staging major events are mostly harmful, and their effects are planned to last only for a short time. When it comes to sporting events sites, stadiums, and their precincts, they usually become under-used and very costly to maintain in a very short time, and their precincts are completely abandoned. What will be the destiny of the 2022 World Cup stadiums and infrastructure? How can this event be leveraged as a momentum of experimentation and sustainable growth of its capital city, Doha? Is it possible to transform the Cup’s stadiums and precincts into liveable, enjoyable and well-integrated public spaces and neighbourhoods? This work focuses on the city of Doha, which hosted the 2006 Asian Games and will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and aims to identify strategies to plan and maximise the post-event use of event sites and venues, more specifically stadiums, to generate more liveable and sustainable public spaces. The article investigates Doha’s public spaces, and analyses the government’s legacy plans for the 2022 World Cup, with a specific focus on stadiums and their precincts. The research aims to be a warning to future hosting cities and presents a series of suggestions on how to best leverage the stage of mega sporting events to promote healthy and liveable public spaces.

Item ID: 61154
Item Type: Article (Scholarly Work)
ISSN: 2206-9658
Keywords: open public spaces, mega sporting events, sustainable legacies, Qatar 2022, stadiums, Doha, liveability
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Copyright Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial 4.0 International License
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This article has been double blind peer reviewed and accepted for publication in The Journal of Public Space.

Funders: Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF)
Projects and Grants: QNRF grant # GSRA1-1-1119-13007
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2020 03:19
FoR Codes: 12 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120508 Urban Design @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160514 Urban Policy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 87 CONSTRUCTION > 8701 Construction Planning > 870105 Urban Planning @ 100%
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