Industrial heritage regeneration in times of Mega-Events: at the cross of economic, cultural and environmental stakes. A comparative case study of Torino 2006, London 2012 and Beijing 2022
Helena ROUX, EPFL, Switzerland
The Olympic Games were developed as an occasion to boost urban development, to show the positive outcomes of hosting mega-events, both for the city and its population. In some cases, Olympic projects included industrial heritage reuse strategies. The cases of Torino, London, and Beijing are relevant to compare, as similar strategies to integrate industrial heritage sites – Dora Park and the Lingotto, Lower Lea Valley, Shougang – to an evolving conception of urban and economic development. Each site may be of different industry type, size and local history, but we find common tendencies on the urban imaginaries they nourish, the cultural scope they refer to, and the planning strategies put in place to keep them at the core of development dynamics, as well as environmental goals. Indeed, along with the emergence of legacy requirements from the IOC and ecological concerns from official bids or Olympic Committees, the sustainability narrative impose itself to industrial heritage conservation, by regeneration processes, by innovative depollution techniques, and by the growing integration of surrounding landscapes and local biodiversity. Yet, this same Olympic frame puts into question the real sustainable dimension of these strategies, especially in cases where sports infrastructures were created ex nihilo on top of existing industrial ones. Moreover, the focus on long-term impact and legacy of the Games, under cover of sustainability and local cultural narratives, actually helps integrating these spaces to the global neoliberal economy, linking heritage and sports towards the development of the experience economy, in a consumption-based model. The actual social outcome of such processes should also be addressed, as a way to measure the repercussions of current heritage policies on urban lifestyles and practices.
 International Olympic Committee
 Torino Organizing Committee (TOROC), London Organizing Committee (LOCOG), Beijing Organizing Committee (BOCOG)
Keywords: Industrial heritage|Olympic Games|Urban Regeneration|Legacy|Experience Economy