A mega‐event flagship (MEF) refers to a purpose‐built building flagship for a global mega‐event and a popular instrument to catalyze urban renewal in the host city. Despite their lasting popularity and volatile outcomes, such highly controversial developments have received little analysis. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap in the research.
To bridge the Triple‐C Gap identified, a case study method was adopted in the form of participant observation, due to the author's special role as a key project coordinator of Expo 2010. To provide a good reference for comparable developments, it takes three steps to study the Expo Center (EC) – one of the four MEFs of Expo 2010. First, planning rationales are explained to form a holistic understanding of the Big 4 as an integrated whole. Then, a pilot questionnaire survey is reported to identify pressing issues on a broader scale. Finally, the early stages of the EC are investigated in six dimensions.
The study concludes with significant lessons in shaping the early stage of a MEF, as well as correcting a misunderstanding of such a development being an end in itself.
Certain constraints in participant observation have been minimized since the author maintained a relatively independent role as a process facilitator, which is different from the traditional role of a design manager or a project manager.
A timely reminder to rethink the commitment to MEFs, this explorative study offers new insights into MEF research and will be of cross‐boundary value to a wide spectrum of people and agencies.
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