In the past few decades, there has been increased popularity of Olympics games and related events. The increased popularity can be attributed to the huge impacts that Olympics events have on socio-economic and political status of the host city. Professionals such as engineers, architects, and town planners play a significant role in the preparation of the Olympics Games, since hosting this event involve huge construction projects. There are also many sporting infrastructures involved such as roads and houses, which in most cases need renovations.
For the past years, Barcelona has utilized mega-events to transform and promote its economic and social status. For instance, Barcelona hosted the Universal Exposition 1888 and used “Paris of South” as its slogan to promote its image (Chalkley, 2000). The major city campaign was initiated in the 1901 immediately the industrial and nationalist party entered power and enforced the new urban policy (Chalkley, 2000). The major focus of the policy was to develop an ideal city with good plans and structures, including good monuments.
In the 1903, Barcelona Town Council advertised the bids for the design of a city and the French Architect Leon Jaussely was awarded the tender to develop a plan of Barcelona Municipal Strategy (Botella, et.al, 1995). The international marketing of Barcelona as a tourist destination started in the 1908, in conjunction with various European cities, after the initiation of the ‘Society for attraction of foreigners’ in Barcelona (Brunet et.al, 1995). This presented Barcelona as a cosmopolitan city and attracted high number of tourists. During this time, major tourist attraction sites such as Sagrada Familia Church, the Plaza de Cataluna, and Paseo were constructed. These historical buildings and monument showed the uniqueness of Barcelona as a modern city.
Barcelona and the Olympic Games 1992
The opportunity to host the Olympic games of the 1992 facilitated the shifting of its traditional architecture into the modern facilities. The 1992 Olympic Games played a significant role in setting up new restructuring strategies (Brunet et.al, 1995). The city went through enormous changes that later transformed the region from the traditional city into a lithe city. The major constructions that were undertaken during this period included reconstruction of the structures in the Gothic Quarters and those situated in the Montjuic Mountains and the restoration of the ring roads within the city area.
During this period, renowned Architects played significant role in designing major projects such as Calatrava 5, which was invited to restore the Montjuic Telecommunications Tower. Gregotti 6 was invited to restructure the Montjuic Stadium (Brunet et.al, 1995). Additionally, Isozaki8 was invited to reconstruct the Palau San Jordi gymnasium. The major reason that facilitated the invitations of the distinct architects was the fact that these projects were supposed to have been completed prior to the games. However, a high number of these highly expensive projects were not completed by the time the Games begun.
The major aim of Barcelona planners was to maximize the funds injected into the Olympic Games and ensure that valuable investments remained behind after the Games. This major world event, Olympics Games, had enormous structural impact on the city of Barcelona (Chalkley, 2000). Using indirect investments, Barcelona focused on and injected most of its funds on road and carriage system infrastructure, housing and agencies and commercial setting. It is evident that Barcelona learnt from the past events and invested heavily on infrastructure that has continuously revitalized the city
Impact of Olympic 1992
The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games had huge economic and non-economic impacts. The economic impact was mainly generated from the construction projects that were undertaken prior to the Games. The economic impact is one of the largest among all other impact and was felt five year prior to the Games. The table here below outlines the groupings of the economic impact percentage wise.
In addition to the economic benefits that Barcelona reaped from 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona gained publicity internationally as the host of the world recognized Games. According to the survey carried out in the 1992, tourist acknowledged the City as the best environment to host Olympic events due to its favorable Olympic setting, high standard Olympic amenities and signage (Botella, et.al, 1995). Additionally, investors were also attracted and wanted to inject their funds into Barcelona due to its availability of human resources and services and general competitiveness.
The next achievement that Barcelona achieved due to its valuable Architecture and its professionalism is the award of the 1999 Gold Medal, presented by the Royal Institute of British Architect (The Royal Gold Medal 1999: The City of Barcelona, 1999). This award has for extended period been awarded to individuals who had unique service to architecture, but Barcelona broke this monotony in the 1999 when the award was presented to the city rather than an individual.
In conclusion, hosting mega-events has become a major trend for countries and cities to market themselves. Barcelona, through its projects initiated prior the Olympics such as construction of its seafront, the Ring Road and the sporting facilities in the Montjuic hill has gained great popularity today. Urban reconstruction and change is a continuous process are huge assets that are still unoccupied and has the potential to be expanded in the future.
- Botella, M., Moragas, S. M., & Centre d’Estudis Olímpics i de l’Esport. (1995). The keys to success: The social, sporting, economic and communication impact of Barcelona ’92. Barcelona: Centre d’Estudis Olímpics i de l’Esport.
- Brunet, F., Moragas, S. M., Botella, . P. M., & Centre d’Estudis Olímpics. (January 01, 1995). An economic analysis of the Barcelona’92 Olympic Games. Keys to Success: the Social, Sporting, Economic and Communications Impact of Barcelona’92, 203-237.
- Chalkley, B. S. E. (January 01, 2000). Urban development through hosting international events: A history of the Olympic Games. Journal of Planning Literature, 14, 4.)
- The Royal Gold Medal 1999: The City of Barcelona. (September 01, 1999). The Journal of Architecture, 4, 3, 229-244.