Keynote 2: John R Gold, “Cities, Urban Planning and World Exhibitions”

Friday, November 3
3:00 PM–4:00 PM

Speaker/performer: John R. Gold

Days: Friday, 3 November
Lecture: Keynote lecture

John R Gold (Oxford Brookes): "Cities, Urban Planning and International Expositions"

The staging of sporting and cultural mega-events invariably leaves an important legacy with planning implications for the cities that stage them.  Sometimes this takes the form of a fund of social memory; recollections that often become mythologised as civic leaders filter them for their own purposes.  World’s Fairs and Olympic Games are ambulant events that demand sizeable spaces for temporary congregation and conversion for post-event use.  Sometimes the task essentially means restoring the status quo ante, particularly when parklands have been commandeered.  The recent record more frequently shows that city planners regard post-event site conversion as a historic opportunity to redevelop spaces in a manner that produces positive outcomes both locally and for the city as a whole. Sometimes they achieve their goals; at other times they are sadly disappointed.

The talk will feature the legacy of Montreal’s mega-events, Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics, against this backdrop. After a contextual introduction that sketches the broad characteristics and spatial requirements of the World’s Fairs and Summer Olympics and highlights the notion of legacy, I will consider the ways in which the showground for Expo 67 was developed and how it fitted the strategic objectives of Jean Drapeau’s mayoral regime.  This will be followed by comment on the ways in which the showground on the islands was reshaped when accommodating further events, particularly the 1976 Summer Olympics and, later, for Formula 1 motor racing.