Olympic and Mega-Event Security

Description and Timescale: This project emerged from work undertaken on a range of separate funded projects (see for example the Resilient Design project) and as a result of concerns over the level, materiality, and governance of security being planned for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, and what this meant for the regeneration and urban resilience of East London. Empirical work was conducted between 2008-2012.

Project Summary: Since the 1960s both regeneration and security have been prominent themes in Olympic planning. However, the prominence given to post event ‘legacies’ in London’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Games has fomented a merger of these hitherto distinct ambitions oriented around notions of ‘resilience’. In addition to identifying this merger, this project focused upon its component features and considered a range of key implications. These included the accommodation of Olympic security amid shifting national security arrangements and, at a local level, the impact and importance of the 2011 London riots on Olympic safety and security processes. To do this we analysed of the altered physical and institutional landscape of London ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and identified the ways in which urban rejuvenation and securitisation are increasingly being combined into resilient designs and master plans in the Olympic context and, crucially, standardised, exported and transferred to new urban hosts of similar events.

Lead partners: Jon Coaffee (University of Birmingham) worked collectively with Pete Fussey and Dick Hobbs (University of Essex), and Gary Armstrong (Brunel University)

Key outputs:

  • Coaffee, J. and Fussy, P. (2012) Resilient planning for mega sporting events: designing and managing safe and secure urban places, URBE (Brazilian Journal of Urban Management) (in press)
  • Fussey, P. and Coaffee, J, (2012, in press) Urban Spaces of Surveillance, International Handbook of Surveillance Studies, Ball, K, et al Eds, London: Routledge, in press
  • Fussey, P., Coaffee, J., Hobbs, D. and Armstrong, G. (2012) The Late-modern Olympics and the suburban theme park, British Journal of Sociology (In Press)
  • Fussey, P. and Coaffee, J.  (2012) Balancing Local and Global Security Leitmotifs: Counter-Terrorism and the Spectacle of Mega-Sport Events, International Review of Sociology of Sport (advanced online publication February 2012)
  • Fussey, P., Coaffee, J., Armstrong, G., and Hobbs, R. (2011) Sustaining and Securing the Olympic City: reconfiguring London for 2012 and beyond. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Coaffee, J., Fussey, P., and Moore, C. (2011) ‘Laminating security for London 2012: Enhancing security infrastructures to defend mega sporting events’, Urban Studies, 48 (15), 3311-3328
  • Fussey, P., and Coaffee, J. (2011) ‘Olympic Rings of Steel: Constructing security for 2012 and beyond’, in C. Bennett and K. Haggerty (eds.) The Security Games; surveillance and control at mega events (London: Routledge), 36-54
  • Coaffee, J. (2011) Strategic security planning and the resilient design of Olympic sites, in Richards, A. et al Terrorism and the Olympics: Major event security and lessons for the future, Routledge, London. 118-132
  • Coaffee, J. and Fussey, P. (2010) ‘Olympic Security’, in J. Gold and M. Gold (eds.) Olympic Cities: City Agendas, Planning, and the World’s Games, 1896 to 2016, 2nd Edition, London: Routledge, 167-179

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