This paper examines the rationale of the 1996 Summer Olympics bid of Atlanta and provides a retrospective analysis of the short- and long-term impacts of the Olympic Games. Olympics provided a means to facilitate the primacy of downtown Atlanta and this new strategy was partially successful mainly because of other external factors. The elites of downtown Atlanta seized the opportunity presented by a potential Olympic hosting in Atlanta to make promises and implement a vision that revitalizes certain downtown areas. Atlanta’s Olympic strategy gave positive results in the short-run, however did not help to increase the primacy of downtown Atlanta in the long term due to short-term focused strategies, prioritizing regional issues and shifting focus of business elites to regional growth. Atlanta’s Olympic planning practice mostly benefited the business interests while the desires and needs of the residents mostly disregarded, mainly because of the privately-lead planning initiatives. Atlanta Olympic planning practice showed that privatization of the Olympic planning results in limited effects in urban transformation. This paper concludes that the Olympics is not a “one-fits-all approach” for host cities, thus the outcomes differ from city to city mainly because of the different objectives, politics, and culture of each city.
Mega-event planning, olympics, Atlanta, Planning Practice