Videna aerial view; Videna aerial view;

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, region or country. It’s often a once in a generation opportunity to drive regional and urban transformation in ways that benefit a city and its people long into the future.

We put consultation with communities and stakeholders at the heart of our process, to develop a shared vision that hosting a major event can accelerate towards, that is both inspiring and achievable, backed by robust financial planning to make it all happen.

Whether your event is just an idea or a looming deadline, as a partner, Arup ensures host cities deliver real transformation. Our insights and leadership are economic, social, cultural and delivery-focused. ” Nic Merridew Nic Merridew Global host Cities Leader

Arup’s experience covers the whole event lifecycle, from bidding, winning and planning, through to on-the-ground operational delivery, and beyond the closing ceremonies into community and economic legacy. We work with city and regional bodies, organising committees, governing bodies and contractors to bring exceptional creativity, credibility and drive to events that put cites on the global stage.

A long-standing advisor to the global and national governing bodies of major sporting events, our teams both help improve and support the planning and organising of events, and help host cities understand and deliver above and beyond their hosting commitments.

How we help you

Our local experts and global network come together to form bespoke Host Cities teams, listen and provide the expertise you need to deliver your city and event ambitions, right from your early thinking and through each of the critical stages in the whole event lifecycle. As the team behind your team, we cover all aspects of host city strategy, planning, design, and delivery, stakeholder engagement, city operations, project management, economics, venue design (including retrofit), environmental consulting, and digital services.

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