While societies shape the way their cities look and are represented, urban images, in turn, nurture and structure social relations in multiple ways. Nowhere is this dialectical relationship between social processes and urban representations more visible than in the hosting of global spectacles such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, which both embody some of society’s deepest dreams and desires.
The focus of this book is the image of cities. It is not only interested in the mechanisms of urban image construction but also in the politics of such a phenomenon, especially its social impacts in terms of representation and right to the city. The book investigates the complex power relationships that underscore the production of the urban landscape and the construction and diffusion of urban images, especially in the context of urban mega-events. It uses the notion of urban image construction as a lens through which to examine the mega-event spectacle, with chapters exploring the physical, social and political dimensions of the imagineering process as well as emerging resistance to controversial initiatives. Through an analysis of event-related urban construction efforts in Rio de Janeiro and Beijing, this book examines the effects of mega-events upon the construction of an exclusive vision of urbanity. It demonstrates how mega-events are increasingly utilized by local political and economic elites to reconfigure power relations, strengthen their hold upon the urban territory and exclude vulnerable population groups.
The book thus offers a critical analysis of the practice of urban image construction, and will be of interest to those working in geography, urban studies, tourism, sport studies, development studies and politics.