Cities in the Marketplace, the Costs and Benefits of International Spectacle Economies

Thomas McFarlane


This essay gives an overview of the costs and benefits associated with the pursuit of international spectacle economies by urban governments in the late 20th century through the hosting of international events such as the Olympics and World Expos. Areas covered include cities in the marketplace; the direct costs of trying to attract, and subsequently hosting, international events; direct and indirect economic benefits; tourism gains; infrastructural changes; changing urban images; and ultimately the effects on residents and the community.


International spectacles; spectacle economies; urban government

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