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Chapter 6 Built Environment

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-911635-03-1-4025

ISBN: 978-1-911635-03-1

Published: November 2018

Component type: chapter

Published in: Event Impact Assessment

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-911635-03-1-3897



Built environment refers to the places in which we live and work, the services that meet our needs, and everything humans do by way of physical planning, design, development and controls to ensure our basic needs are met and quality of life maximised. This broad definition encompasses residential neighbourhoods, transport systems, farmland and industrial zones. It is also worth distinguishing between ‘spaces’ where things can be built and activities occur, and ‘places’ which have meaning – such as play and work spaces, living and meeting places, all within social and cultural value systems.
Impacts of tourism and events on the built environment are of increasing importance, particularly because so many cities have pursued tourism and culture-based development or re-positioning strategies. There are many examples of using events, venues, iconic architecture, tourism and culture synergistically, with profound effects on the urban landscape, its image and liveability. In small towns the impacts of development can be more noticeable and have more profound impacts on residents.
In the literature on events and the built environment the focus has often been on the effects of mega events that require enormous investment in infrastructure and venues. However, construction and operation of sport arenas and stadia, major arts and culture facilities, as well as convention and exhibition centres all have profound implications for cities.
In this chapter the starting point is a discussion of the roles of events and venues in urban development and renewal, a theme that incorporates the concepts of liveability (or quality of life), community development, healthy and creative cities. A second theme is the use of public spaces by events, looking at both the positives and negatives. The influence of the environment upon events and tourism has to be mentioned, although it is not part of the objects of impact assessment considered in this book. Within ‘environmental psychology’ there is the principle of ‘setting affordances’, meaning what the environment allows (or lends itself to) by way of events and tourism. For example, many urban spaces with heritage status and unique design are popular venues for festivals and other events, but with possible negative impacts owing to crowd activities and, over time, the accompanying change in the character of the place. Parks and streets lend themselves to parades and open-air events, but at a potential cost. Attention is then directed at place making and place marketing and the interdependent elements of image, reputation, positioning and brand. In recent years the communicative properties of events have come to the fore, and in many cases even replacing the emphasis on events as attractions. We live in a networked world, with mass and social media presenting global opportunities to both market events (especially to special interest segments) and to exploit events and related images for broader political, economic and social purposes.
Completing this chapter is a case study from Rudi Hartmann about events and the evolution of the resort town of Vail, Colorado. A number of themes are reinforced, and new theoretical perspectives introduced.

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Cite as

Getz, 2018

Getz, D. (2018) "Chapter 6 Built Environment" In: Getz, D. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-911635-03-1-4025


McGillivray, D. & Turner, D. (2018). Event Bidding: Politics, Persuasion and Resistance. London: Routledge.

Smith, A. (2012). Events and Urban Regeneration: The strategic use of events to revitalise cities. London: Routledge.


Smith, A. (2016). Events in the City: Using public spaces as event venues. London: Routlege.


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Published in Event Impact Assessment

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