Saturday, August 26, 2023

Olympic reurbanization and small business

    The study revolves around Beijing's urban renewal for the 2022 Winter Olympics. This transformation aims to create an Olympic hub and necessary facilities. Small businesses in the area are often ignored in such projects, which is the study's focus. It aims to shed light on how Olympic-driven renewal impacts local businesses and contribute insights for event organizers and city planners.

    The research looks at the "right to the city" framework proposed by Lefebvre, exploring how it clashes with the neoliberal agenda embraced by Olympic host cities. Small businesses, frequently overlooked, become the study's main focus to understand the impact of these dynamics on them.

    Urban regeneration's relationship with neoliberalism and the right to the city framework is discussed, highlighting winners and losers – large corporations and disadvantaged locals. Previous studies spotlighted negative effects on London's small businesses during the 2012 Olympics. This study, set in China's socialist backdrop, aims to see how this translates in a different context.

    The case study methodology examines the impact of renewal before the 2022 Winter Olympics on Beijing's small businesses. Interviews with 14 proprietors reveal both positive and negative effects. Positive aspects are modest, tied to increased activity during construction. Negative outcomes fall into themes of "sacrifice as patriotism" and "no right to the city."

    Despite willing sacrifice, business owners express frustration at being excluded from decision-making. This echoes the "patriotic professionals" concept, revealing the complexity of their responses. The study concludes that the "right to the city" framework applies to Olympic cities, showing how exclusion impacts small businesses.

    In conclusion, the study suggests well-planned renewal engaging local stakeholders can uphold the right to the city. Limitations include a single sample and data collection during the pandemic. Still, the study advances understanding and calls for further research in diverse contexts.

Rocha, C. M., & Cao, G. (2023). Impacts of urban regeneration on small business in preparation to host the beijing 2022 winter olympic games. Sport in Society, 26(6), 985-1002.

Photo: Olympic Observation Towers in Beijing by zhang kaiyvy 

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