Russian Olympic City's Vast Transformation
As it prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian resort city of Sochi has transformed from a "blank slate" into the "world's biggest construction site".
AEG Making Downtown L.A. NFL Stadium Pitch
Having brought the Staples Center, L.A. Live, and a convention center hotel complex to the South Park neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, Tim Leiweke, is now pitching an NFL stadium that will double as an addendum to the convention center.
Planning for the Vancouver Olympics
The Winter Olympics will begin later this week in Vancouver, British Columbia. Like other hosts of such large-scale sporting events, the city has been getting ready for the international spotlight for many years. To hear more about what's been going on in the city in terms of urban planning, I interviewed Vancouver Planning Director Brent Toderian, and you can read a transcript of that Q&A on Places.
Brazil's $42 Billion World Cup Investment
It's going to cost Brazil more than $42 billion in infrastructure costs to host the 2014 soccer World Cup, according to a recent report.
London's Big Stadium Gamble
The Olympics can be awesome for cities. Or they can be devastating. Rarely they're both, and most often they are an economic drain caused by over-investment in facilities with limited long-term usability. So when London's plans for a 2012 Summer Olympics stadium that would reduce from 80,000 seats during the games to a more realistically usable 25,000 seats after, Olympics experts, city officials and taxpayers rejoiced. But recent news has turned that rejoice to disgust.
Comparing Celebrations in Championship Cities
Here in Los Angeles, the local professional basketball team just won its league's national championship. When I was in Barcelona a few weeks back, the local soccer team won a major international championship. These were two days for the cities to celebrate their home teams' triumphs, but the differences in how they celebrated says a lot about these cities and their civic cultures.
Who Really Needs A World Cup
Whether you've realized it yet or not, soccer is a big deal in this gloabalizing world. And every four years it's a huge deal for one country: the host of the FIFA World Cup. All eyes are on the host country for the 32-team tournament, which is the most-watched sporting event in the world. And though showtime is just one month long, the host spends years vying, preparing and investing for the tournament. It has major potential to spur broad countrywide improvements and economic development. So when the U.S. made news recently by offering forth 70 stadia as possible host sites for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup (along with a reputation booster from President Barack Obama), I had to filter out my national pride. Sure, the U.S. would make a good and clearly able host for the event, but it seems that the potential of the World Cup could be better directed towards a country that really needs large-scale civic improvement and investment.
Free Pancakes, Free Rides, and (Almost) Free Beer
We Americans love a discount. Wal-Mart and the discount retail boom are proof enough of that. What we love even more, though, is free stuff. Just slap the word "free" before almost anything and we'll line up. This mentality represents some challenges for cities, but also some opportunities. The challenge is that if people don't have to pay for something, they probably won't. And the opportunity is that if people don't have to pay for something, they're way more likely to want it. Let's think of this concept in terms of three innately American traditions: pancakes, mobility, and beer.
Booze It Up for Barry and Save the Capitol
When President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated on January 20, the city of Washington D.C. is likely to be the most lively, exciting and vibrant city in the world. Millions will be there. Hotels for miles around are booked full, couches across the city will be crashed upon, and many in the city are expecting the party to last for days. City officials are doing what they can to make sure the party does indeed happen.
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