2001 volume 33(5) pages 845 – 861

Cite as:
Jones C, 2001, "A level playing field? Sports stadium infrastructure and urban development in the United Kingdom" Environment and Planning A 33(5) 845 – 861

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A level playing field? Sports stadium infrastructure and urban development in the United Kingdom

Calvin Jones

Received 21 September 2000; in revised form 10 February 2001

Abstract. A number of cities in the United Kingdom have recently placed a policy focus on the ability of sports events and stadia to stimulate economic and physical regeneration. Such development is most often justified from a development and regeneration perspective. Under this paradigm, the urban redevelopment which occurs consequent on stadium construction creates benefits which `trickle down' from property developers, sports teams, and stadium operators to the wider community -- largely in the form of employment growth. However, the attraction of the hallmark events which are (in the United Kingdom) the major revenue stream of the stadium can be reread in the context of the constant competition evidenced between cities and between regions to draw in mobile capital resources via a programme of public subsidy for private business. Under such a paradigm, the potential for the stadium to contribute to uneven development, both within and between cities, is problematic. The author examines the arguments for and against stadium development in terms of the likely effects on the economic and social fabric of the city, and identifies likely winners and losers. The role of mobile capital, political elites, and growth coalitions in driving changes in the structure and use of common space in the urban core is examined with the aid of a case study of Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium.

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