Aim and Purpose

Learning lessons from legacy is central to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Recent events such as the London Olympics and dating back at least as far as to Manchester Commonwealth Games demonstrates the growing scrutiny of claims made suggesting lasting legacy effects that are increasingly important strands of longer term urban regeneration and city development. It is increasingly inconceivable for competitive bids for mega events would not highlight wide-ranging legacy benefits, or indeed that the case made to local and national populations would not seek to capture legacy returns on public investment.

How strong and plausible are these claims? Which areas are more likely to be successful (e.g. contrasting infrastructure investment, local facilities versus say lasting health benefits from increased physical activity)? How do these event-related legacies play into longer term people and place strategies to regenerate our cities and communities?

Our core proposition is that around the world cities contemplating bids and working through their own plans to regenerate and transform would benefit from a space within which they can debate and learn lessons engaging with academics and other researchers who can bring different disciplines and international experience to the network.

We start from the experience in Glasgow where the securing legacy and the evaluation of legacy is central to the whole project. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July-August 2014 is but one example but is an opportunity also to locate the Games in the regeneration story of the city and region. It has already generated a range of academic, media and commentator responses. While it has to be embedded in the local context of post-industrial west central Scotland, we believe this is a unique opportunity to start an international network of cities and scholars who wish to take these ideas and work with them.

The Network is an outcome of the Legacy Research Partnership established by the three Universities in Glasgow alongside Glasgow Life and the City Council. It was the brainchild of the University of Glasgow’s representatives and we are grateful for the support both of the Partnership and its constituent parts, as well as seed corn funding from the University of Glasgow (both the College of Social Sciences and the Knowledge Exchange Fund).

Initial activities include:

  • A panel debate (July 17 2014) concerned with the different meanings of legacy, their impact on Glasgow and the different perspectives the academy can bring to practical assessment of legacy outcomes more broadly understood.
  • Preparing for an inaugural international conference for the network to be held in Glasgow at the Mitchell Library in October 2015.