Mega-events as a response to poverty reduction: the 2010 FIFA world cup and its urban development implications

SOURCE: Urban Forum
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): U.Pillay, O.Bass
KEYWORDS: POVERTY, SOCCER WORLD CUP, URBAN POLICY, URBAN RENEWAL AND DEVELOPMENT (URD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 5365

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Abstract

This paper reflects on the trajectory that urban development associated with the 2010 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup has taken in South Africa. The argument suggests that a unique moment has been lost regarding the ability of the World Cup to serve as a catalyst for urban development. This notion is supported by a digest of the international literature which takes a cautious stance in its assessment of the benefits of mega-events. Hence, this paper posits that it is unlikely that poverty alleviation, as a result of fast-tracking South Africa's urban development impetus, will constitute a significant outcome of the World Cup. Rather, development benefits in cities are likely to be fairly circumscribed. Legacy, the paper argues, should therefore advance beyond an exclusively pro-poor language. In this regard, vigorous public debate is required to arrive at a national consensus of what kind of legacy the 2010 FIFA World Cup is realistically able to achieve.