Visualising sustainability at the Olympics (2019)

Visual products are an important tool for articulating sustainability initiatives. Through maps, models, renderings, and sketches, urban planners seek to persuade local stakeholders that the Olympic Games, or other project, will produce positive long-term legacies and impacts. Generally, these visual products portray a hypothetical future success story that encapsulates the benefits of the event, and downplays the drawbacks.

This study collected visual products used to visualize the sustainability initiatives in Olympic Games bids, and identified common practices used to assist in the visualization of future sustainability: erasure (erasing current infrastructure or landscapes that are not sustainable), insertion (creating or building new sustainable buildings and infrastructure), integration (integrating various concepts, or multiple strategies, into one image), and modelling (models of best practice or ideal future outcomes).

The article concludes that sustainable city visions are highly speculative, and may be unattainable, however their delivery is not the purpose. The purpose of visualization is to advance conceptualizations of what is possible, so managers can develop urban development strategies toward those goals.

CITE: Lauermann, J. (2019). Visualising sustainability at the Olympics. Urban Studies, 0(0), 1-18.

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