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Olympic Cities: The Netherlands As Game Changer / XML

Amsterdam. Photo via Flickr CC User MarcelGermain.
Amsterdam. Photo via Flickr CC User MarcelGermain.

As we’ve discussed at length here at ArchDaily, an Olympic Bid is no thing to take on lightly. Our 3-part series on the subject, “How NOT To Host the Olympics,” made very clear that this mega-event is a major urban project with long-term economic, social, and environmental consequences. So, it’s no surprise that Olympic bidders research and strategize well in advance – consider London 2012‘s “Sustainable Olympics” bid or OMA’s perhaps premature interest in Turkey- to ensure, first, that they get the bid and, second, that the Games leave renewal (rather than destruction) in their wake. Architecture, Research, and Urbanism practice, XML, are already taking on the task of preparing its home country, the Netherlands, for its 2028 bid. Their just-released report compares Olympic City bids across the globe – from the 2020 contenders of Madrid, Istanbul, Dohan, and Tokyo to a 2024 contender, South Africa. Interestingly, they’ve noted a cyclical nature of the Games’ socio-economic significance and have thus come up with a 3-prong strategy that will position the Netherlands to spearhead a new Olympic paradigm. You can check out XML’s full Report, well worth a look, after the break...

The following is taken from XML’s Olympic Cities web site XML presents Olympic Cities report XML has completed a comparative study on Olympic candidatures commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Atelier Making Projects. The study placed Dutch aspirations to host the 2028 Olympic Games in an international perspective by comparing the various bids by Madrid, Istanbul, Doha and Tokyo for the 2020 Games and the South African bid for the 2024 Games. Furthermore, XML developed three models for a possible Dutch bid for the 2028 Games. On the eve of the London Olympics, the two parts of this study are combined in the publication ‘Olympic Cities: the Netherlands as Game Changer.’

XML Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.
XML Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.

  The Amsterdam based architecture office XML worked on a comparative study on Olympic candidatures in the fall of 2011, as commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Atelier Making Projects. The study, which compares the various bids by Madrid, Istanbul, Doha and Tokyo for the 2020 Games and the South African bid for the 2024 Games, discusses three themes, Cultural Pride & Marketing, Economy, Infrastructure & Design and Power Geographies, and clarifies the narratives that cities use in their bids, the various spatial concepts for the Games, and the power geography surrounding the bids. In this way, XML provides the first international perspective for the development of a Dutch bid for the Games. In the project XML collaborated with local correspondents in each of the researched cities: Gillian Benjamin (South Africa), Mirai Morita (Tokyo), Selva Gürdoğan & Gregers Tang Thomsen (Istanbul), Todd Reisz (Doha) and Gianpiero Venturini (Madrid).

The study established that existing bids, including the current Dutch proposals, are based on the paradigm of the Olympic Games as a mega-event. As XML shows, however, the Olympics are not a neutral autonomous, immutable event. Olympic history points to cycles of twenty years, in which the Games are closely linked to political, economic and social developments. Each period has a specific paradigm that defines the meaning of the Games and their significance for the times. The study also shows that it is highly probable that the 2028 Games will coincide with the start of a new cycle.  Under the heading ‘The Netherlands as Game Changer,’ XML proposes, therefore, that a Dutch bid should not focus on what the Games mean today, but should incorporate long-term global developments and their future ramifications for the Netherlands.

In line with these conclusions, XML has developed three spatial models that show how the Netherlands can host the 2028 Games by effectively responding to these long-term global developments. In the ‘Deltapolis’ model, the two Randstad areas, North Wing and South Wing, are integrated into a single, internationally competitive urban  region: the Deltapolis. The ‘Virtual Games’ model is a response to technological developments and the rapid digitalization of society. In ‘Global Games,’ finally, XML proposes a new organizational model for the Games that reinforces international networks and exchange between cities.  These visions for the Games, each with a specific narrative, are atuned to long-term global trends (instead of the limitations of current IOC requisites) and show how the Dutch bid can become an effective response to these trends. The visions may be viewed as a design postscript to the comparative study of Olympic candidatures.

XML Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.
XML Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.

Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.
Olympic Cities Report. Via XML.
Cite:Vanessa Quirk. "Olympic Cities: The Netherlands As Game Changer / XML" 22 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/256245/olympic-cities-the-netherlands-as-game-changer-xml/>