Project: Sport Better Cities
2014 – 2019
We love football, especially when it leads to better cities.
This site provides quick facts with original sources on the good, the bad, and the ugly – from a city perspective – of hosting the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games.
I started the project, and was later joined by one of my former students (Garen Gary Srapyan, who was a Harvard Graduate School of Design student, and became a research fellow in my Lab). Gare and I have since managed the site together. Prior to my current work, I worked on the South African 2010 FIFA World Cup preparations and before that did a Fulbright fellowship focused on Barcelona’s 1992 Olympics as well as the 2004 World’s Fair transformation of the Diagonal District. In that period, I researched the history of the anticipated versus actual urban development impacts of the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.
The intention with Sport Better Cities was to make it easier for journalists, sports, city and other enthusiasts to see the 2014 World Cup in its urban infrastructural and historical context. We hoped that this would help stimulate more conversation about how sport can lead to better cities. Eventually, we want to help explore ways that FIFA and the IOC can work with hosts as peers, and to make the long-term urban development and infrastructural needs of host cities as much of a priority as hosting the Beautiful Game.