36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”

Event Evening 04

Paris Olympics: rearguard action or new method. Designing Games for the legacy?




  • Alain Bourdin, Lab’urba
  • Helene Dang Vu, Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Joel Idt, Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Jules-Mathieu Meunier, Lab’Urba
  • Raphael Languillon, University of Geneva

The Olympic Games are about to open in Paris. But while everything has been done for the event, the real challenge will come afterwards. Legacy is clearly the central issue of this Paris edition. This issue is all the more important, given that the main Olympic facilities are located in an area that has undergone major changes as a result of deindustrialization, and which was the focus of major projects long before the Olympic bid. But what exactly does this mean ? How does it differ from previous editions? These are the main themes of the session.

Clearly, legacy is an important key to ensuring games' acceptance. Few cities are willing to take on decades of debt, or to manage oversized facilities ,and they are increasingly questioning the relevance of such major events in times of climate emergency. The only way forward is to see these investments and projects as part of a longer-term development path for the host regions. This emphasis on post-event planning needs to be discussed, as does its practical impact on the organisation of the Games. As such, the session will examine the following questions: 

  • How was the idea of legacy integrated into the design, content, and facilities of the Paris Games? 
  • What are the very practical manifestations of this ambitionin the preparation  and organisation of the Paris Games? 
  • To what extent did the city’s stakes determine the choices made for the Olympic projects?
  • Does this represent a shift in the way the  Games are prepared? 

This special session is linked to the roundtable “ Paris Olympics: rearguard action or new method. What is the future of megaprojects in urban planning?”. It will be organized by the COUBERTIN research program, which is initiated by the French Ministry of Transition and carried out in partnership with the company in charge of delivering the Paris Olympic facilities (SOLIDEO). Within this framework, and over a period of six years (2020-2026), the program's researchers are mandated to monitor the evolution of the major development operations of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic construction sites, their piloting, their impact in relation to social, environmental, innovation and legacy issues. The team consists of 4 researchers: Alain Bourdin (Lab’urba), Hélène Dang Vu (Université Gustave Eiffel), Joel Idt (Université Gustave Eiffel) and Jules-Mathieu Meunier (Lab’Urba). 

Keywords: Games, legacy, Greater Paris, planning and design