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Host cities

Hosting major events presents both challenges and opportunities for cities. At Arup, we believe that strong collaboration is at the heart of every successful event – allowing you to draw on a wealth of experience to address the needs’ of everyday citizens.

Hosting major events presents both challenges and opportunities for cities. At Arup, we believe that strong collaboration is at the heart of every successful event – allowing you to draw on a wealth of experience to address the needs’ of everyday citizens.

The appeal of hosting major events is understandable. They’re a chance to put your city or country on the world stage. An opportunity to demonstrate your people’s talent. And a chance to regenerate an area and build a better future for local people.

Equally, hosting major events is a significant consultative process, from social and economic considerations to infrastructure, systems and space. They require a vision that is at once creative, rigorous and achievable, backed by considerable financial commitment. Our Host Cities team will help you succeed.

The partnership model

Whether the event is cultural or sporting, there is now worldwide agreement that the partnership model is central to overall success. Hosts work with partners to set the vision and governance, drawing on external partners’ deep knowledge, experience and expertise. It’s a highly collaborative approach that allows hosts to benefit from other cities and nations’ experience, building on their partners’ skillsets and experience.

Arup’s Host Cities team is comprised of experts across venue design, operational planning, environmental consulting, masterplanning, city economics, transport planning and digital services from across the globe.

With experience in Melbourne’s AAMI Park, to the London 2012 Olympics and the recent Lima Pan American and Parapan American Games 2019, we offer a wealth of knowledge and experience to cities hosting major events from bidding through to the delivery. Beyond that we bring creativity, reliability and most importantly a strong ambition to maximise the value and create a rich legacy for each host city.

Discover more about our work

A good host does well by everyone

Every city is different, but they typically face common challenges. We take a longer-term, holistic view of a proposed scheme, to ensure that a city’s real needs are addressed with relevant and sustainable investments in transport, public housing, and leisure facilities.

Becoming a host city represents a big bet on economic stimulus and with that comes a responsibility to make sure the benefits are widely shared. They are also a chance to address difficult long-term issues like challenges to biodiversity or air pollution. Our approach is always to understand real local need and let that shape the project and programme.

Lima 2019 leaves a new model of procurement, innovation and transparency as legacy, with tools that allowed carrying out and organizing the event with a lower budget than that originally planned. The work demonstrated efficient organisation and execution, and with this dedication, we returned the confidence to the people of Peru to undertake great and new challenges as a country. ” Lima 2019 Organising Committee:

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Setting new standards

At the Lima Games, as part of our technical assurance role, we produced a series of programme wide guidance documents including fire and evacuation, commissioning, design reviews and an accessibility design guide. This has now been adopted as a reference document for all future sports venues design in Peru.

Make sustainable choices, resilient investments

Host cities are under considerable pressure to deliver: whether that’s new sporting facilities, or cultural centres and their associated infrastructure. There is also now a worldwide consensus that meeting deadlines or performance goals cannot come at the planet’s cost.

Delivering a sustainable aquatics centre in record time

Working with design and build contractors, Cosapi and Pattern Design, we helped deliver Peru’s first international standard aquatics centre. Working with short time-scales, we focused on creating an efficient and affordable legacy venue utilising a combination of fabrication methods and temporary facilities for the aquatics centre. This resulted in simpler and more cost-efficient construction, to facilitate a sustainable legacy.

Explore our work on the Lima Games aquatics centre

Viewed in a more positive light, becoming a host city is a chance to become an environmental leader. We help host cities to protect and revitalise ecosystems and make green spaces more available. Our highly integrated approach to sustainable development means that every aspect of land use can be thoughtfully planned and remain sustainable long into the future.

Hear from our Lima 2019 client on how we developed a sustainable, legacy approach for Lima.

Given the growing threat of climate change, we also offer resilience consultancy that explores the full spectrum of potential threats a city faces: this includes natural assets, human safety, natural disasters and climate change, and land degradation. Arup has been a partner to C40 Cities for over ten years, carrying out vital research to help cities around the world measure, manage, and plan climate actions, empowering their leaders to make vital decisions. After the 2020 pandemic, investing in resilience has become a central part of responsible planning.

Digital: imagine, test, optimise

Digital is a central part of the operational and experiential success of any major event. We have developed a suite of digital tools that reveal powerful insight about everything from human behavioural preferences in a given environment, to travel patterns that can help shape investments in mobility. Our experience design team and visualisation experts can bring new clarity to an entire event experience before a single brick has been laid, allowing the whole client team and their stakeholders to explore options in 3D, virtual and augmented reality.

London 2012 Olympic Park London 2012 Olympic Park

Our experts used digital visualisation techniques to bring the London 2012 Olympic park to life - this brought confidence to decision makers on everything from security to lighting to pedestrian modelling and media needs.

The people factor

Every event carries the burden of incredibly high public expectations. That means managing a wide range of stakeholders including city leaders, organisers, communities and others. Developing an effective communications strategy is vital if everyone is to stay engaged and supportive to launch day and beyond.

Producing sporting event infrastructure is a huge collaborative effort and relies on the right approach to communications and decision-making. Deadlines are tight, reputations are at stake. How you work is as important as the design ideas you develop; a culture of listening is vital. ” Nick Merridew Nic Merridew Director

Our communications approach offers facilitation throughout, so that dots are connected, priorities are understood, and challenges are tackled accordingly to a fixed timescale. Arup was able to provide this ‘transparent service’ between the Lima 2019 committee and other stakeholder groups, which was recognised in the MCA awards 2020 when the project came first in the International category.

Exploring your city's future

Well-planned major events are also a chance to explore the potential for other investments and improvements to a city. Temporary structures or design interventions can demonstrate the development potential of new districts, reenergise green, open spaces and reimagine stations, airports and the public realm. We call these projects ‘urban overlay’ – and they’re a great way to test ideas with the community, gather data and build support for future plans.