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Host cities

Partnering with cities to build capability and future proof change

Partnering with cities to build capability and future proof change

Hosting a major event focuses the eyes of the world on a city. It’s a chance to transform in multiple ways – through economic regeneration, creating inspiring venues, improving mobility infrastructure, and developing new models of operational and city-wide governance.

Success requires significant and successful consultation with communities and stakeholders; it requires a vision that is both creative and achievable, backed by financial commitment.

Delivering a successful event is a huge collaborative effort and relies on effective decision-making and communications. Enduring impact means future proofing the social, environmental and economic legacy from the very start. ” Nic Merridew Nic Merridew Global host Cities Leader

Our extensive experience in partnering cities to host major events ranges from bidding and planning, through to on-the-ground operational delivery, and beyond the closing ceremonies. We bring exceptional creativity, credibility and most importantly the drive and ambition to optimise each unique event and ensure a rich legacy for each host city.

Legacy can be seen through a physical, social and institutional lens

At Arup, we work with all partners to ask what hosting can do to help the city achieve its longer term development plans – be they around transport, public housing or social infrastructure. Being a host city is an opportunity for a major transfer of knowledge and skills, by applying international best practice, whether the event is a global sporting platform like an Olympic Games or FIFA World Cup, or smaller cultural events such as becoming a ‘City of Culture’ or even hosting the Eurovision song contest.

How we help you

Our Host Cities team includes experts across masterplanning, city economics, transport planning, venue design, operational planning, environmental consulting, and digital services from across the globe.

Partnership models for delivery

Vertical Tab Listing

Vertical Tab Listing

The partnership model is now recognised as central to overall success. Our host cities experts help to identify the right partners to set the vision and governance, combining their deep knowledge, experience and expertise. It’s a highly collaborative approach that allows hosts to benefit from international best practice and to innovate with different models for delivery.

Learn more about our masterplanning services

Invest in people

Working on a major event can be a career-defining achievement for many individuals, developing and delivering significant change, together with a chance for major institutional learning and knowledge transfer at pace. We work with ministries, city governments and public agencies to capture approaches, recommendations and lessons learned during and post-event. This ensures that the wave of professionals we upskill and support to deliver an event can carry forward international best practice into the major projects their city or country may need to deliver in future.

Learn more about our people and organisational services

Design and deliver venues and infrastructure

Excellence in venue design, performance and legacy are unconditional deliverables. Our experts deliver practical, energy efficient, low maintenance venues that connect with surrounding communities. We also often introduce temporary venue structures – just as impressive and capable, but without the capital expenditure and future operating costs of permanent buildings – balancing the appropriate use of resources with the short-term need for the venue.

Learn more about our sports architecture experience

Read about our work to ensure “no white elephants” for London 2012

Build city resilience

Hosting a major event provides an opportunity to review and improve city resilience and become an environmental leader. Our resilience consultancy covers the full spectrum of potential threats a city faces: this includes ecosystems, green and blue spaces, human safety, natural disasters and climate change, and land degradation.

Arup partners with organisations such as C40 Cities, Resilient City Network and Resilience Rising to carry out vital research to help cities around the world measure, manage, and plan climate actions and adaptations, empowering their leaders to make vital long-term decisions. After the 2020 pandemic, investing in resilience has become a central part of responsible planning.

Learn more about our resilience services

Find out how our partnership with C40 Cities is driving action on climate change

Imagine and optimise with digital tools

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 insights about everything from human behavioural preferences in a given environment, to travel patterns that can help shape investments in mobility. This can bring new clarity to an entire event experience, allowing the whole client team and their stakeholders to explore and develop a wide range scenarios in 3D, virtual and augmented reality before a single brick has been laid.

Learn more about our visualisation services

Learn more about our experience design services

Manage stakeholders and communications

Every event carries the burden of incredibly high public expectations and involves managing a wide range of stakeholders from city leaders, organising committees, participants, audiences and the communities impacted. Developing an effective communications strategy is vital if everyone is to be engaged and supportive to launch day and beyond.

Our communications approach ensures thorough consultation so priorities are understood, dots are connected and challenges are tackled accordingly in line with event timescales.

Discover how our approach supported the 2019 Pan American Games

Experiment through urban overlay

Well-planned major events are also a chance to explore the potential for other investments and improvements to a city. Temporary structures, design interventions and meanwhile use of empty buildings or spaces can demonstrate the development potential of new districts, reenergise green, open spaces and reimagine stations, airports and the public realm.

Even in economic uncertainty, seasonal events, exhibitions and start-up offices can activate neighbourhoods and generate socioeconomic value without huge upfront investments. We call these projects ‘urban overlay’ – and they’re a great way to test ideas with the community, gather evidence and build support for future plans.

Read more about 'urban overlay'


Meet our people