How to Host Sustainably
All hosts manage to host an event. But then what? What differentiates hosts that build something that meets their longer-term needs, and hosts that build costly infrastructure that never gets used once the crowds go home?
In an ideal future, hosts will reject planning and design briefs which do not bind designers to working within a sustainable development framework. Their approach to capital investment in mega-projects will put future costs (whether they be tangible or intangible, social, environmental or monetary) alongside initial and perhaps ephemeral benefits. And they will consider the responsibility to achieve energy efficiency and a reduction in pollution of air, water and natural habitats to be non-negotiable.
However, we’re not yet there. Independent extensive case-study analyses have shown that mega-event hosting in terms of sustainability is unacceptably poor. Many case studies show little concern with sustainable economic and urban development principles in mega-event planning. They show continued use of huge, extravagant and unsustainable structures. Professionals can no longer ignore the importance of sustainable development in mega-event planning and legacy building.
Sustainability involves the creation of adaptable, reusable spaces and infrastructure. Managing to do this is complex and requires at least the following factors of hosts:
- Professional practice and ethical behavior
- Ethical responsibility to spell out risks and benefits
- Effectively addressing complex bureaucracy, political indifference, heightened public expectations
- Minimizing public cost and maximizing public benefit
- Accepting responsibility for ensuring that the desire for a monumental legacy does not lead to inequitable resident displacement
- Committing to ongoing assessment and mitigation of adverse effects